These Irish eyes aren’t smilin’ given the recent news from our SFRA compatriots that deserves mention on our IAFA blog (economically prudent and understandable, but disappointing nonetheless):
The SFRA Executive Committee has decided that, due to the uncertainties caused by recent currency fluctuations, the only financially prudent course is not to hold our 2008 annual meeting in Dublin, Ireland. We sincerely regret any problems this announcement will cause our members, wherever they reside. It was not a decision the Committee reached lightly, and it is a decision that has caused all of us bitter disappointment. But whether or not we could reach sufficient prepaid registrations by preset cancellation deadlines, which given the rapid decline of the U.S. dollar against foreign currencies seemed a major uncertainty, the amount of money SFRA would have to upfront for registration subsidies to attract a minimal attendance seemed almost to guarantee a significant deficit, one that could grow substantially under certain conditions. The SFRA Executive Committee agreed that we should not commit to this level of expenditure at this time.
We would like to thank the Dublin Conference Group for all the hard work they have put in over the past several years on this project. We stress that it is not the fault of any of them that these plans have not worked out, but rather the declining value of the U.S. dollar that is the major culprit here. And we stress that SFRA will continue to do all it can in the future to serve ALL of its membership, wherever they reside.
The SFRA Executive Committee will work to find a site in the United States for SFRA’s 2008 Conference that is affordable and will make for a quality academic gathering. We hope to announce this new venue in the next couple of weeks. In addition, SFRA will do what it can to offer graduate students willing to present a paper at that conference, particularly non-North American students who were looking forward to the Dublin locale, travel grants to lessen the cost of attending the U.S. venue.
We hope that out of this disappointment will somehow come a shared determination to make SFRA a more vital and more dynamic group of science fiction scholars.
Note: for those of you intent on going to Ireland this summer, there is a viable alternative that deserves a plug:
9th International Conference of the Utopian Studies Society
University of Limerick, Ireland, July 3-5, 2008.
The 9th. International conference will be hosted by the Ralahine Centre at the University of Limerick. A Call for Papers will be posted as soon as it is available.
Special themes identified by the Steering Group so far will be Architecture, Music, and Irish Utopias, but proposals on a wide range of Utopian topics will be welcome.
Venue: The Ralahine Centre, University of Limerick, Ireland
The nearest airport is Shannon.
For information, click here.