The International Society for Gesture Studies in the process of founding

A brief report of the meeting at the Workshop at the Centro Internazionale di Semiotica in Urbino, July 12-16, 2000

by Cornelia Müller
Freie Universität Berlin


From the statutes committee of the ISGS:
Grigori Kreidlin (Moscow), Roland Posner (Berlin), Serge Santi (Aix-en-Provence) (General Secretary of the ISGS), Lluis Payrató (Barcelona) (co-opted member)
(non-present members of the statutes committee: Sotaro Kita (Nijmegen), David McNeill (Chicago), Isabella Poggi (Rome), Monica Rector (Chapel Hill)).
Further participants
Isabelle Guaïtella (Aix-en-Provence) (President of the Association "Geste et Voix" GeVoix) , Reinhard Krüger (Berlin), Cornelia Müller (Berlin) (co-editor of the journal GESTURE)), Massimo Serenari (Berlin).

Session Protocol
The Agenda contained the following topics:
1. The journal "GESTURE"
2. Aims and structure of the ISGS
3. ISGS statutes
4. Publications in gesture research, national and international
5. Future conferences, summer schools and workshops

1. The journal "GESTURE"
One of the editors of journal GESTURE (Cornelia Müller) reported the state of art concerning the launching of the new journal. GESTURE will be published by John Benjamins (Amsterdam/Philadelphia). The Editors of the journal are Adam Kendon (Philadelphia) and Cornelia Müller (Berlin). The journal will appear bi-annually and will start its publication in 2001. The journal will have to find 260 library subscriptions within three years to survive. The editors aim to design it as to provide a state of the art picture of gesture research in these three years. The journal will contain articles reporting original research, as well as survey and review articles. It will contain a list of newly published books on gesture and a list of forthcoming events within the field of gesture studies. It will also publish informations concerning the ISGS and concerning other gesture societies. GESTURE will also appear in an electronic version, where it will be possible to publish video clips and images.
The present members of the statutes committee (in the following PM) proposed:
– to connect the journal and the ISGS such that the GESTURE would be the official organ of the ISGS,
– to install a website for the journal, which should have links to other websites (ISGS, GeVoix and others),
– to negotiate with the publisher for a 50% reduction price for student subscribers.

2. Aims and structure of the ISGS
The aim of the ISGS is to actively support the institutionalization of the field of gesture studies, i.e. the recognition and establishment of gesture studies as a scientific field. The ISGS will do this by organizing regular conferences (every two years), summer schools, and by supporting other forms of meetings like symposia and workshops. The ISGS will cooperate with national societies like GeVoix in France.
The following organizational structure has been worked out:
1. A scientific committee elects an executive board
2. An executive board which receives proposals form the members of the ISGS
3. An honorary board

1. The scientific committee represents the interdisciplinary and international scope of the ISGS: Members of the committee should (ideally) represent: the humanties, the social, natural and engineering sciences and the five continents. No decision has been taken concerning the possiblity and the status of representants of organizations and research groups in the scientific committee.
2. The executive board consists of one president, and ideally five vice-presidents and one general secretary. The executive board is elected every four years at a general assembly. The members of the executive board share the following duties: The president ensures the communication between the vps. In addition, he or she coordinates the different activities in the light of giving a perspective to the development in the field. The vice-presidents ensure the external communication of the ISGS (website, publicity), they inspire and coordinate meetings, conferences, and summerschools, they keep track of important developments in the field (theory and research, application, education). The general-secretary is responsible for the address-list of gesture researchers.
3. The following persons have been proposed for a honorary board of the ISGS: Jacques Cosnier, Paul Ekman, Adam Kendon, David McNeill, Desmond Morris, Fernando Poyatos, Thomas A. Sebeok.

3. The statutes

4. Publications in gesture research, national and international
– The Moscow linguistic journal accepts publications on gesture in English, French, and German,
– The German Journal for Semiotics (ZfS) will publish a special issue an Interjections and Gesture,
– The journal GESTURE will publish a list of recently published books on gesture,
– The electronic dictionary on emblems by David Givens is recommended,
– The compilation and publication of a bibliography on gesture has been proposed,
– The establishment of a book series on gesture has been discussed.

5. Future conferences, summer schools and workshops
– Jürgen Streeck has been proposed to organize the first ISGS conference in Austin/Texas in 2002. He is requested to propose a date and send the title of the conference to the members of the statutes committee and to start the publicity for the conference as soon as possible.
Hermann Roodenburg has been proposed to organize the second ISGS conference in cooperation with the MPI for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen in Amsterdam in 2004.
– It has been proposed to organize an electronic vote regarding the following two points: – Is a society for gesture studies needed. Yes/No.
– Election of the executive board.
This would enable to install the ISGS before the conference in 2002 and it would create the possibility of using the membership fees for the organization of this conference.
– The following summer schools have been proposed:
– Urbino 2001 organized by the ISGS and GeVoix
– Chateau de Bonasse 2002 "From movement to gesture in men, animals, and robots" by GeVoix and the ISGS
– Dresden 2003
– Moscow/Dubna 2005 "Nonverbal Semiotics"
– Further gesture related conferences have been announced:
– Seoul 2001 "Emblematic Gestures and Intercultural Comparison"
– Konstanz 2001 "Synchronic and diachronic research on gesture"
– Kassel/Hamburg 2002
– Sessions on gesture studies should be organized at other conferences:
– Australia "Body in the language"
– LSA Summerschools
– LSA and DGfS Summerschool in Germany
– International Society for the Research on Emotion

Berlin, August 29th, 2000 Cornelia Müller, Roland Posner