ISGS: International Society for Gesture Studies

Minutes of the Third Conference of the International Society for Gesture Studies (ISGS) held in Chicago, USA 2007

Integrating Gestures,
June 18-21, 2007,
The Third Congress of the International Society for Gesture Studies
Northwestern University, Chicago, USA

Minutes ISGS General Assembly 20th June 2007

Present (55 people in total):

Executive members (in alphabetical order): Adam Kendon, Lorenza Mondada (as the acting president in place of Janet Bavelas), Cornelia Mueller, Asli Ozyurek, Mandana Seyfeddinipur, Gale Stam, Juergen Streeck.

Audience: 48 conference delegates.

1.0 Lorenza Mondada gave a power point presentation summarising the ISGS Report 2005-2007.

1.1 Report on retrospective activities

Lorenza Mondada talked about the on-line proceedings of the 2nd ISGS conference (Lyon, June 2005). She reported that 40 papers are online, of which 7 included video footage. The web address where the proceedings can be found is

1.2 Report on on-going activities

1.2.1 Lorenza Mondada expressed her thanks to members of the Executive committee: 1) Lorenza Mondada thanked Asli Ozyurek for her efforts in helping the committee to plan, set and stick to deadlines and for her stimulating input. 3) Lorenza Mondada thanked Mandana Seyfeddinipur for managing and revamping the ISGS webpage ( 4) Lorenza Mondada expressed her thanks to Gale Stam for managing the inscriptions of new members and membership renewals. She mentioned that to date the ISGS has 202 members (and emphasised that hopefully these are permanent rather than temporary members). 5) Lorenza Mondada also welcomed back Janet Bavelas.

1.2.2 Lorenza Mondada reported on thoughts about ways of further developing and expanding the ISGS activities in terms of grants and scholarships, summer schools, gesture centres and workshops. These items were taken as stimulation for future plans. No concrete plans were made at the meeting, although a summer school might be incorporated into the next ISGS conference (see

1.3 Treasurer's report

Gale Stam talked about the ISGS account activity (time period 06/01/2005 to 05/31/2007).

Bank statement 5/31/07   $24,561.10*
Opening Balance 6/1/05   $ 4,014.94
Total Fees Deposited   $21,097.41
Expenses   $ 1,198.68
Postage, flowers, plaque, and supplies $189.71  
Website for 3 years: $8.97  
Deposit for conference $1,000.00  
Merchant Fees  

$ 352.57

Balance (5/31/07)   $23,561.10

*Does not include membership or registration fees processed in June or the outstanding check written for a deposit on the conference.

1.4 Lorenza Mondada presented three proposals from the Executive committee to be voted on in the assembly.

1. Travel grants for students (amendment of the by-laws)

2. Internet vote (amendment of the by-laws)

3. Next conference location (vote)

2.0 After Lorenza Mondada's presentation ideas for future conferences were discussed, as well as the idea of a 'quality award' for the best abstract for the next ISGS conference. Further, it was suggested to generate a fund for (partly) reimbursing international students' conference travel costs. A discussion followed focusing on whether and how this item could be incorporated into the by-laws but no clear decision was reached.

2.1 The assembly voted for two proposals to be incorporated into the ISGS by-laws.

2.1.1 The first proposal to be voted on concerned the introduction of financial support to foster student participation in ISGS conferences (to be paid out of the society's savings).

After a fairly long discussion, especially concerning exact wording of the modified by-laws, the amendment of the by-laws was unanimously accepted:

Addition to by-laws (Article 7.2):

If its financial situation allows it, ISGS establishes a fund to support and encourage student participation in its biannual conferences. The exact conditions (based on socio-economic and/or scientific criteria) for distributing these awards will be decided by a specific committee selected by the President and approved by the executive committee.

2.1.2 The second proposal commented on the benefits and advantages of being able to vote on proposals via the Internet (e.g., email or website) so that decisions would not have to be deferred until the respective next conference assembly. This proposal was also accepted, with 1 'no' and 3 abstentions.

Addition to by-laws (Article 8.12):

When necessary, amendments of the by-laws can be proposed by the executive committee to be voted on by all registered ISGS members via Internet

2.1.3 The third proposal concerned the next ISGS conference put forward by Cornelia Mueller. She gave a presentation proposing to hold the conference in Berlin and Frankfurt an der Oder (jointly), Germany. Summer 2009 was mentioned as one possible date for holding the conference. Her presentation also included an introduction to the team of people who would be involved in the organisation of the conference, their current research themes and a rough schedule for the conference commenting on the venues and facilities in place. A potential theme for the third conference was also suggested, namely Gestural communication and the Evolution of Language.

The conference proposal was unanimously accepted. Related to the conference, a proposal was made by Mandana Seyfeddinipur to organize a summer school before/after the next conference. Her suggestion was to include theoretical sessions (e.g., including developmental, cognitive, conversational, linguistic and ethnographic aspects of gesture, etc.), data sessions and methodological sessions (e.g., on camera use, digitalisation, transcription, alignment, annotation tools, etc.).

3.0 Information about GESTURE

Cornelia Mueller and Adam Kendon provided the latest information about the GESTURE journal, its publication by Benjamins and reported on its special rates for ISGS members.

4.0 Elections

Susan Goldin-Meadow (only candidate) was elected as President with 55 votes.

There were two candidates for Vice Presidency: Spencer Kelly received 21 votes; Gale Stam was elected as Vice President as she received 29 votes.

Mandana Seyfeddinipur (only candidate) was re-elected as PR Manager with 55 votes.

Fey Parrill (only candidate) was elected as Treasurer with 51 votes.

Judith Holler (only candidate) was elected as General Secretary with 55 votes.

5.0 Honours

Lorenza Mondada expressed her warmest thanks to the leaving officers (Asli Ozyurek, Juergen Streeck, Janet Bavelas), as well as to the local conference organisers (Ric Ashley, Susan Duncan, Gale Stam, Justine Cassell, Susan Goldin-Meadow, David McNeill). Roses and goodbyes were given to Ric Ashley and his conference team, and to the leaving executive members Asli Ozyurek (who served 3 terms), and Juergen Streeck (who also served 3 terms ).

6.0 Honorary Presidential Address

Adam Kendon gave his Honorary Presidential Address and David McNeill was nominated second Honorary President.