Vice-Secretary General Report
From September 25 th 2009 to September 12th 2014
- The new website
I created the new website using WordPress, a web software that allows the creation of websites and blogs. The interface is user-friendly and the software is free, so it was not necessary to pay a webmaster to update the website. Since then, I have been posting all kinds of announcements on it.
The number of visitors in the IASS website has increased every year, as we can see in the following table:
June 18th, 2014 was the day with most visits. In this day, we had 241 visitors with 333 views.
During all this period, we had 136,671 views and only 158 comments. The low number of comments in face of the high number of views reveals that people have been using the IASS website to get information, but it is a one way communication.
The IASS webpage has 310 followers that receive updates every time I publish new content on the IASS blog.
Most of the posts are about Congresses and Call for Papers announcements. To this day, I have published a total of 344 posts. This means about 1,5 post per week.
Views by Country
The top five countries are United States, Brazil, Italy, United Kingdom and France.
- Re-creation of the IASS visual identity
I designed a new logo based on the old one and the visual identity for the IASS.
- The Facebook account
The Facebook page was created in June 2014 and it has reached 418 likes until now. All the posts published in the IASS webpage are automatically published in the IASS Facebook page. I also share posts from other Associations or Journals on Semiotics.
- The PayPal account
I created a PayPal account to facilitate the payment of the IASS Membership fee, especially for members from countries outside Europe and US. In most cases, the international transfer bank fee would be even more expensive than the membership fee.
The PayPal account is related to the IASS bank account in Bari, in the name of Susan Petrilli. If a new treasurer is elected, not only the bank account must be closed or transferred to the new treasurer, but the PayPal account as well.
Today there are 1,049,03 EUR in the PayPal account that must be transferred to the IASS bank account in Bari, prior to closure.
We have spent 194,92 USD in May 2013 to the renewal of the domain (iass-ais.org) registration and the web forwarding (the actual site is hosted in wordpress.com) for 3 years, from 2013 to 2016.
- Minutes of Meetings in Nanjing, 2012
I have registered the Minutes of the IASS Board Meeting on 6 October, 2012, the Minutes of the IASS Executive Committee and of the General Assembly on 7 October, 2012.
- IASS Members List
There are two lists below. The first is a list of IASS members that paid the membership fee via PayPal. The second is a list of the ones that paid the membership fee in Nanjing in 2012. I only have the control of the members that paid using PayPal and the ones that paid in Nanjing. The money collected in Nanjing was given directly to the treasurer, Susan Petrilli.
36 members paid using PayPal.
8 members paid in Nanjing.
Minutes of the IASS Board Meeting
6 October, 2012.
7-50 pm – 9-25 pm, Conference Room, Building 700, Nanjing, China.
Attending: Eero Tarasti (President), José Enrique Finol (Vice-President), Jean Claude Mbarga (Vice-President), Youzheng Li (Vice-President), Jose Maria Paz Gago (Secretary General), Augusto Ponzio (guest), Susan Petrilli (Treasurer), Paul Cobley (Vice-President), John Deely (Vice-Treasurer), Gloria Withalm (Honorary Vice-President), Priscila Borges (Vice-Secretary-General), Marcia Schwartz (guest), Bankov Kristian (guest).
Meeting Record: Priscila Borges
At 7h50 pm, Eero Tarasti, the IASS president, began the meeting announcing the topics to be discussed:
1) To address some misunderstandings about the executive committee meetings;
2) The next IASS Congress and the Bulgarian proposal;
3) The executive committee new members;
4) The process of auditing;
5) To commemorate those members of the IASS who have passed away since the last meeting.
The President announced that the Executive Committee meeting would take place on October, 7 at 7-30pm. Just after that the General Assembly would take place. The General Assembly would be open to all IASS members and only members could vote in the General Assembly. The President proposed that, instead of restricting the access to the General Assembly, we should open it to future members. Then, the suggestion was to pass a list during the Plenary Session on the next day (the morning of 7 October, 2012) and ask those who are interested in becoming a member of IASS to put their names on it. They could pay the membership fee during the congress or later by bank transfer or on Paypal. There was no support for this proposal.
During the General Assembly we should announce the place of the next IASS congress.
Paul Cobley asked what the motivations to attend the General Assembly are. John Deely complemented asking what the motivations to be a member are. Your association gives nothing to our members. No journal, no cheaper price to assign a journal, no special fee to our own congress. Deely suggested that the members should receive a journal when they become a member.
The boarding discussed some ways to catch more members and agreed that the congress is a good place to get new members since people are motivated to get into semiotics. The boarding decided to put a registration table at Jinshilou Hotel where the Congress registration is. So, people could go there and become an IASS member. Moreover, one assistant gathered names and addresses in the meeting itself.
The word was given to Kristian Bankov, the repesentative of New Bulgarian University, to present the proposal of this University to host the next IASS Congress in 2014. Kristian presented the strategies of the University to promote the image of Semiotics and emphasized that semiotics is placed among the three most important disciplines, the development of which will provide an image for the academy identity of the New Bulgarian University. The New Bulgarian University wants to make the fee as low as possible Although Bulgaria is passing through a crisis (like all the countries in Europe), he guaranteed that the University can promote the congress. The congress organisers will also seek support from some foundations and private companies. He added that the prices in the country are lower than in other European countries and this would assist in attracting participants to go to the congress in Sofia.
The congress fee proposed was 120 Euros. Those that wish to present a paper at the congress will be compelled to join the IASS, whilst non-participating attendants may simply pay the congress registration alone. The preferred date to stage the congress at NBU would be 20-25 September, 2014. One theme suggested for the congress was ‘Innovation’. This theme, Kristian argued, might be interesting to private companies such as telecommunication companies from Bulgaria that could support the congress.
Susan Petrilli suggested the relation of innovation to science and politics. Augusto Ponzio agreed that politics is much related to the Bulgarian context.
Kristian warned that politics is often a problematic topic and it might pose difficulties when attempting to gain the support of some foundations and private companies. He suggested the theme might be ‘Innovation of Tradition’.
There were some discussion about the theme of the congress and the President suggested that might more profitably be continued by email, since there were other points to discuss in the meeting.
Kristian continued, suggesting important guests such as Umberto Eco, Julia Kristeva and Tzvetan Todorov. The congress organisers planned two plenary speakers per day, one in the morning and one in the evening. Each plenary speaker would have 45 minutes to present their paper. They also planned to use social media to organize and publicize the meeting. The first public announcement of the congress would be in the beginning of 2013. The congress organisers proposed to present the logo and visual identity of the congress and commence circulation of it in social media such as Facebook.
The President suggested that the first announcement should be made before Christmas 2012. The Vice-Secretary General suggested creating a page for IASS on Facebook to help spread the congress announcement and publicize the association.
After 2014, there is a proposal for the congress to be held at Aarhus University, Denmark in 2017. The prospective organizers had made their proposal at the 10th congress in La Coruña in 2009. Other formal proposals might still be invited during the General Assembly of IASS. Paul Cobley noted that Aarhus has recently been listed in the top ten universities in the world and advertises its programmes as ‘elite’. He added that there was not necessarily a case to prevent the IASS staging a congress in Europe twice in succession. The President then presented his proposal for the process of auditing the IASS. One month before the congress the Treasurer would write a report with incomes and outcomes of the association. The elected auditors should analyze and approve/decline to approve the report. The auditors should be elected in the General Assembly and they must be external to the IASS. The Treasurer presented the bank account and the Paypal balance.
Marcia Schwatz gave a report about the journal, Semiotica. She indicated the strength of the journal and, in response to Gloria Withalm’s question about special concessions for journal members, said that she would investigate the possibility of securing content from de Gruyter for IASS members in the future – possibly in the form of free access to papers in Semiotica or even a discount on subscription.
The Board discussed Fatima Festic’s request for a refund of her fees and a payment to cover the travel and expenses she had incurred in attending this congress. After consideration, the Board was forced to reject her request because her case was no more special than that of many others that the IASS would not be able to afford to fund.
With the help of the Board members the President made a list of the semioticians that passed away in the last three years and resolved to offer an opportunity to remember them at the General Assembly. These semioticians were:
Joseph Morton Ransdell,
Richard Shale Robin,
The meeting ended at 9-25 pm.
Submitted by Priscila Borges
November 24th, 2012.
Minutes of the IASS Executive Committee and General Assembly
7 October, 2012.
From 7-30pm to 9-30pm, Conference Room, 3rd Floor, Nanshan Expert Building, Nanjing, China.
Attending: (from the Board) Eero Tarasti (President), José Enrique Finol (Vice-President), Jean Claude Mbarga (Vice-President), Youzheng Li (Vice-President), José María Paz Gago (Secretary General), Susan Petrilli (Treasurer), Paul Cobley (Vice-President), John Deely (Vice-Treasurer), Gloria Withalm (Honorary Vice-President), Priscila Borges (Vice Secretary-General). National representatives from the Executive Committee and IASS members.
Meeting Record: Priscila Borges
At 7-30 pm, the President announced that the Executive Committee meeting was and the General Assembly of the IASS would be merged. The agenda of both meetings were very similar and the all the Board members agreed to join the two meetings.
The IASS President, Eero Tarasti, began the meeting announcing the agenda:
1) President’s Report;
2) Secretary General’s Report;
3) Treasurer’s Report;
4) Reports on the semiotic situation in different countries and associations by the national delegates;
5) Semiotica report;
6) Next IASS Congresses report;
7) Any other issues.
The minutes are therefore as follows:
1) The President posed the question of whether it is actually possible to organize semiotics. He remembered that semiotics has been organized in many other associations and centers. He stated that, in this case, the IASS is just the top of the iceberg. One of the Association’s tasks is to organize two congresses in five years. Another one is to ensure that the Semiotica journal is published. What, he asked, are the other tasks? The President stated that the IASS Boarding would like to hear from its members what they believe the other tasks of the IASS are. He noted the expansion of semiotics in recent years, as well as its difficulties in some countries; he noted, too, the shared educational problems in different countries. He argued that, in a meeting such as the present one, we had the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences from all over the world and to grow.
Then the president asked for one minute of silence in respect of Claude Lévi-Strauss,Omar Calabrese, Joseph Morton Ransdell, Richard Shale Robin, Jacques Geninasca, Raymond Monelle, Ivo Osolsobe and Jeff Bernard, semioticians that had passed way since the last meeting in La Coruña.
2) José María Paz Gago, the Secretary General, then gave his report showing that the number of countries represented in the IASS is growing. At the end of the La Coruña meeting there were 59 countries represented and 20 more countries have requested to be represented in the IASS. He suggested that it is also important to notice that the growth is not only in numbers, but also in quality of contributions.
Some countries have requested new representatives. The Secretary General read the list of new representatives and the assembly voted to accept all changes. (The list is available from the Secretary General ).
The President noted that Iceland has no representative, although the Secretary General informed the meeting that no request for Executive Committee had been made from that country.
3) Susan Petrilli, started her report as Treasurer noting that the IASS is not a rich association. According to the last report, dated 30 September 2012, from the bank, UniCredit (Bari, Italy), the amount on the IASS account currently amounts to 5.482, 52 Euros. She thus invited more members and suggested that the Association could do more to attract members and to satisfy its current members. The Vice-Secretary General gave a supplementary report concerning payments via Paypal. She explained that the use of Paypal was a suggestion she made in La Coruña – when she became the Vice-Secretary General – to facilitate dues payment for non-Europeans. Depending on the country, the bank transfer to Italy (where the IASS account currently resides) can cost more than the IASS membership fee. During the last three years, 17 new members had paid their membership fee via Paypal, showing that Paypal has been used and is a good alternative to bank transfer.
After the reports of the Treasurer and the Vice-Secretary General, the President explained the auditor system that is going to be adopted by the association. One month before the congress the Treasurer will present a report with incomes and outcomes of the association. The elected auditors will analyze and approve/decline to approve the report. The auditors should be elected in the General Assembly and they must be external to the IASS. Mihaita Niculae applied to be an auditor and was elected by the General Assembly.
4) The reports of the national delegates on the semiotic situation in their countries began. However, after just two reports it became clear that it would take far too much time to hear all of them within the space allotted to the meeting. They were therefore asked to send their reports in written form to the Vice-Secretary General, and it was suggested that these could then be shared online on the Association’s website. This was agreed.
5) Marcia Schwartz gave a report on Semiotica, explaining current publishing issues, different ways of accessing Semiotica and different ways in which the publisher, de Gruyter Mouton, sought to disseminate research in semiotics through the journal. She suggested that researchers in semiotics should pay more attention to citing each others’ work, a practice now made easier by the facilities on the de Gruyter web platform.
6) Kristian Bankov gave a report about the next congress at the New Bulgarian University in Sofia. He presented the strategies of the University to promote the image of semiotics and emphasized that semiotics is placed among the three most important disciplines, the development of which will provide an image for the academy identity of the New Bulgarian University. He also added that the New Bulgarian University is keen to set the fee as low as possible in order to attract as many participants as possible. The congress organizers will also seek support from some foundations and private companies. He added that the prices in their country are lower than in other European countries and this would assist in attracting participants to go to the congress in Sofia.
Peer Bundgaard presented the proposal for the 2017 conference in Aarhus, Denmark planned to be in May or June of 2017.
Zeynep Onur presented the Turkish proposal for the 2017 conference.
Daina Teters from Latvia expressed an interest in hosting the IASS meeting. A full proposal will be presented by her in 2014 at the Sofia Congress.
7) There was no other business.
The meeting ended at 9-30pm.
Submitted by Priscila Borges
November 24th, 2012.