IGALA: from personal to community perspectives
This blog post is my personal goodbye to you as this is my last time I write to you all as the IGALA blog coordinator. This has truly been a wonderful experience. The IGALA community gifted me with knowledge, support and inspiration and it is for this reason that I am happy to pass the baton to the next blog coordinator.
And now, let’s go back to what this post is all about!
In a survey disseminated last summer, we asked you to provide some suggestions about how to improve our IGALA community all over the world. Before the blog resumes to its usual format, with your posts on timely and relevant topics on language, gender and sexuality, we here report and comment on the results of our survey.
First, we asked you what you liked about our conferences. The answers range from the atmosphere to location. We are happy to hear that both experienced researchers and postgrads feel that our conferences are welcoming and inclusive as well as friendly and a safe space where to passionately discuss our research. This “sense of community”, as one of our respondents suggested, extends to include the places where the conferences have taken place: you mentioned the opening of IGALA 5 (in Wellington) and the recent IGALA 10 (In Botswana), gifting you with aspects of the culture of the place. Forgive me if I add here my own memories as this is something I have myself enjoyed a lot: the opening of IGALA 8 (in Vancouver) and IGALA 9 (in Hong Kong) are among my fondest memories. Socializing and networking are also paramount to a successful conference and this goes hand in hand with the friendly environment, we are happy to read that our biannual meetings are a place where you can ask questions and make new contacts (for your present and future research)!
I found particularly interesting one of the comments we received: it asked us to organize “smaller scale meetings” for academics and non-academics too. On this topic, I would recommend to check whether there are gatherings or symposium around you (e.g. in the UK every year a BAAL SIG on gender, language and sexuality takes place, see here for the latest news: https://twitter.com/LGaS_baal) or you could organize such events (and if you do so, feel free to let us know so that we can add it to our page or we can send an email to the whole community). Some of us are also giving talks in our institutions and as invited speakers in universities or in other public spaces, I would recommend following on Twitter the scholars who work in your geographical area, you will have a chance to see when and where these talks are happening. In relation to creating events, you also suggested to think about online events: this is such a great idea! We could reach a wider audience through the World Wide Web!
We also asked you if there was something you wanted us to improve: rest assured that I have passed on your comments. For instance, one of the respondents raised the issue of the high price of the conference fees. This is a relevant point that IGALA never disregards. In the past, it has worked hard to secure funding as in the case of scholarships given by IGALA itself (one of which gave me the opportunity to travel to Vancouver in 2014) or by external fund institutions (as in the case of scholarships given to US students) and I am sure this will stay a priority for future conferences too.
If you have other suggestions, the IGALA community is happy to listen to these at any time!
To conclude, let me send my huge thanks go to the past presidents - Michelle and Agnes – and the current one – Holly – for supporting the blog project, to Lucy for helping and collaborating on the media side and to Ben who has been a great colleague to turn to for suggestions and advice. I will miss the blog and I look forward to seeing its development in the following years.
Good luck to the new Advisory Board and president elect Claire!
If you haven’t got involved with IGALA yet, please consider it!