ISGS: International Society for Gesture Studies

Minutes of the Inaugural Conference of the International Society for Gesture Studies (ISGS) held in Austin, Texas 2002

Gesture — The Living Medium, June 5-8, 2002
The First Congress of the International Society for Gesture Studies
College of Communication, The University of Texas at Austin

1. Reception June 5th, 7:00pm

– Welcoming remarks by Jürgen Streeck, head of the conferencorganizing committee and program chair, and Barry Brummett , Chair of the Department of Communication Studies.

– Greetings by Roland Posner, President of the International Association for Semiotic Studies (letter);

– Official launching of the journal GESTURE, edited by Adam Kendon (Philadelphia) and Cornelia Müller (Berlin) published by John Benjamins Amsterdam/Philadelphia.

2. Meeting of the statutes committee June 5th, 8:30–9:00 pm

Present members: Sotaro Kita (Nijmegen), Lluís Payrató (Barcelona), David McNeill (Chicago), and Reinhard Krüger (Universität Stuttgart) as representative for Roland Posner (Technische Universität Berlin)

Non-present members: Serge Santi (Aix-en-Provence), Grigori Kreidlin (Moscow), Monica Rector (Chapel Hill), Isabella Poggi (Rome)

Further participants: Adam Kendon (Philadelphia), Cornelia Müller (Berlin) (Editors of GESTURE)


  1. Preparation of the elections
  2. Proposing of candidates for the executive board

Decisions taken:

3. General Assembly June 6th, 4:15–8:00 pm

Jürgen Streeck as conference organizer introduces the election committee: Ulrike Bohle (Berlin), Ellen Fricke (Berlin), Joachim Gessinger (Potsdam), André Hatting (Berlin), Cornelia Müller (Berlin).

The following agenda is proposed and accepted by acclamation.


  1. Statutes/By-laws
  2. Election
  3. Miscellaneous

Decisions taken:

The general assembly proposes further candidates for the executive board of the ISGS:

The following persons decline candidacy: Janet Bavelas (Victoria), Charles Goodwin (Los Angeles), John Haviland (Portland/San Cristobal), Adam Kendon (Philadelphia), Sotaro Kita (Nijmegen), Francis Quek (Dayton).

Election results:

The following executive board has been elected:

Further members of the executive board are ex officio (see statutes article 9.3):

4. Executive board lunch meeting June 7th, 1:00–2:00 pm

Persons present: Heather Brookes (Stanford/Pretoria) Jacques Cosnier (Lyon), Evelyn McClave (Northridge), Adam Kendon (Philadelphia), David McNeill (Chicago), Rosa Montes (Puebla), Cornelia Müller (Berlin), Gale Stam (Chicago), Jürgen Streeck (Austin)

Persons not present: Asli Özyürek (Istanbul, Nijmegen)

Decisions taken:

  1. Nick Enfield and Jürgen Streeck will set up a web-site for the ISGS, Nick Enfield receives the necessary technical support from the MPI Nijmegen.
  2. Evelyn McClave, Gale Stam and Jürgen Streeck work out the best location for officially implementing the ISGS as a non-profit organization.
  3. Evelyn McClave, Gale Stam and Jürgen Streeck work out where to set up a bank account for the membership fees.
  4. To promote ISGS
  5. To support the journal GESTURE with regard to library subscriptions, i.e. every member of the ISGS should convince its library to subscribe to the journal (GESTURE needs 265 library subscriptions within the next two years, if this goal is not achieved, the journal will seize to exist).
  6. GESTURE’s editorial board dinner meeting on June 7th, starting at 8:00 pm

– Celebration of the publication of GESTURE 1:1;

– Announcement of an accompanying book series to the journal, published by John Benjamins, edited by Adam Kendon (Philadelphia) and Cornelia Müller (Berlin);

– The editors ask the editorial board for active support in seeking and/or providing interesting contributions for GESTURE and in acquiring library subscriptions.

6. Closing sessing on June 8th, 11:45 am – 1:00 pm

– Closing remarks by the conference organizer and president of the ISGS, Jürgen Streeck;

– Announcement of the new book series accompanying the journal GESTURE and invitation to submit manuscripts to the editors or to Bertie Kaal the acquisiton editor at John Benjamins (,,

– Announcement of a volume with selected papers of the conference according to a topic to be further specified –. In addition, GESTURE invites papers from the conference for submission.

– Young scholars proposed by senior scholars develop their ideas of future developments in the field of gesture studies;

– Announcement of the next conference to be held in Stuttgart in June 2004, organized by Reinhard Krüger;

– Announcement of the subsequent conference to be held in Victoria in June 2006, organized by Janet Bavelas;

– Words of appreciation to the group of volunteers who have given their time to the conference and the conference organizer, Jürgen Streeck.

7. Acknowledgements

Many people have supported the official foundation of an International Society at various stages since the founding session held in Berlin in April 1998. Without this joint initiative, ISGS would not have emerged. We gratefully acknowledge their will to participate in the enterprise of establishing a scholarly field of gesture studies on a world-wide level and hope they will continue to do this in the future.

We thank: Martha Alibali (Madison), Janet Bavelas (Victoria), Nobuhiro Furuyama (Tokyo), Isabelle Guaïtella (Aix-en-Provence), Marianne Gullberg (Nijmegen), Sotaro Kita (Nijmegen), Grigori Kreidlin (Moscow), Reinhard Krüger (Stuttgart), Evelyn McClave (Northridge), David McNeill (Chicago), Shuichi Nobe (Tokyo), Asli Özüyrek (Istanbul/Nijmegen), Lluis Payrató (Barcelona), Isabella Poggi (Rome), Roland Posner (Berlin), Monica Rector (Chapel Hill), Serge Santi (Aix-en-Provence,as interim General Secretary of the ISGS from 19 to 200 ), Massimo Serenari (Berlin), Gale Stam (Chicago), Jürgen Streeck (Austin).

We also thank the publisher John Benjamins for sponsoring the reception and the editorial board dinner, and especially the acquisition editor Bertie Kaal who believed in the journal before it even existed.

Our special thanks go to those groups of people who have organized conferences on gesture studies since 1998 and who have founded national societies for gesture studies:

Book announcements; All conferences have or will publish proceedings or selected papers:

Minutes taken by Cornelia Müller