Dear ASFS members,
We hope this finds you all safe and well, especially after the tumult of 2020.
The ASFS Executive Committee is pleased to announce its 2021 initiatives.
Before getting to those, we’d like to thank everyone involved in our ASFS XXVIII conference and hope that attendees have fond memories of our virtual meeting. We were particularly pleased with the keynote roundtable, the lively discussion with Prof. Mame Fatou Niang and Prof. Lydie Moudileno, and our exceptionally well-attended postgraduate session. While we missed the interactions of our usual face-to-face conference, we were heartened by the commitment members showed to research across the many disciplines of French Studies. Members gave papers on literature, film, philosophy, applied linguistics, poetry, history, pedagogy and visual art – a fitting representation of the diverse scholarly interests ‘French Studies’ encompasses, and an important reminder of research carried out in these fields in Australia. Dr. Clara Sitbon and A/Prof. Ben McCann are currently editing a volume of the Australian Journal of French Studies based upon the conference, featuring a range of postgraduate and early career researchers.
Our plans for 2021 include:
1. Colin Nettelbeck prize
The ASFS will be inaugurating a prize in honour of Emeritus Prof. Colin Nettelbeck. Many members will know that Colin took a particular interest in mentoring postgraduate and early career researchers so our prize is aimed at these members. The Colin Nettelbeck Prize is designed to support research and travel costs for a French Studies-related project. A call for applications will be distributed shortly.
2. Mentoring program
We piloted our Mentoring program in 2020 and were delighted with its success. We matched up 21 mentors/mentees who worked together throughout the year and they gave very positive feedback to our survey of the program in November. We will shortly be sending a call for expressions of interest for 2021. (Mentors and mentees from 2020 are of course very welcome to continue working together.)
3. Postgraduate Essay prize
We will shortly be distributing a call for entries to the 2021 ASFS/AJFS Postgraduate Essay Prize. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Australian Journal of French Studies and Prof. Jarrod Hayes and Prof. Brian Nelson. We’re delighted that Dr. Yuri Cerqueira dos Anjos has agreed to chair of the Prize Committee this year. We are very grateful to A/Prof. Alistair Rolls for serving in this role in 2020. Alistair will remain on the committee this year.
4. ASFS Conference XXIX
Due to the ongoing pandemic restrictions, we have decided to postpone our conference in New Zealand to 2022 and are very grateful to the Organising Committee (A/Prof. Jean Anderson, Dr. Yuri Cerqueira dos Anjos, Dr. France Grenaudier-Klijn and Dr. Charles Rice-Davies) for their flexibility and their ongoing support of the Society. We are committed to holding our 29th conference in 2021 and plan to offer a ‘blended’ conference that members could attend either face-to-face or via zoom. We are currently planning where to host the conference and will be in touch with details as soon as we can.
5. Roundtable on ARC Funding at ASFS XXIX
We will be holding a session on ‘ARC Funding in French Studies’ in order to assist colleagues in preparing funding applications. We are gratified by the recent successes in French Studies (at DECRA, DP and Future Fellowship level) and are eager to capitalise upon these for the benefit of all members. We are grateful to Dr. Valentina Gosetti and Dr. Chris Hogarth for organising this session.
6. ‘Teaching-Research Nexus’ Panels at ASFS XXIX
Following a highly successful panel at the 2020 Conference in which members presented strategies for incorporating their research in their teaching, we will be organising a series of panels that showcase members’ pedagogical practice and scholarship of learning and teaching. We are very grateful to Dr. Carolyn Stott and Dr. Marie-Laure Vaille-Barcan for leading this initiative.
Finally, we offer our congratulations to Em. Prof. John West-Sooby, University of Adelaide, for winning FATFA’s ‘Professeur de l’année’ 2020. Congratulations also to Dr. Gemma King, ANU, for winning an Australian Award for University Teaching 2020. These are well deserved accolades that recognise our colleagues’ outstanding performance at a national level.
I am very grateful to the members who were elected/re-elected to the Executive Committee for 2021: A/Prof. Ben McCann (Vice-President), Dr. Leslie Barnes (Secretary), Dr. Chris Hogarth (Treasurer), Dr. Gemma King (Communications Officer), Dr. Clara Sitbon (Postgraduate Officer) and Ms. Lauren Twine (Membership Secretary, ad hoc member 2021).
We leave you with the good news that our Society has reached over 150 members, so is now at its largest in its history.
We look forward to representing you this year and encourage you to get in touch with us with any request, ideas or suggestions you may have.
Prof. Natalie Edwards (President)