IAFL News Briefing

IAFL News Briefing

Welcome to the first news briefing of the International Association of Forensic Linguists! From now on IAFL members will receive a regular briefing with news and information that may be of interest to them. 

In this first issue, Isabel Picornell, Vice-President of the IAFL, welcomes you aboard. Despite the pandemic, the Executive Committee has been working under the hood to make the IAFL stronger and offer more benefits to the IAFL community.

It’s been over a year since the world stopped due to the outbreak of covid-19. Times have been challenging, especially as everyone, everywhere had to adapt to a new way of living. A positive consequence of the pandemic – most certainly the only one – is that the number of online events across the world multiplied, thus allowing people who would otherwise be unable to attend live events to have access to more research in the field. However, the meetings of the IAFL have always been an important part of our DNA, so for its members the most evident consequence of the pandemic was the suspension of live conferences. Several IAFL-supported events had to be rescheduled, including the 15th Biennial Conference of the IAFL, which was due in July 2021 at Aston University. 

But while we are unable to meet face to face, there are several exciting events coming up. The 15th Biennial Conference of the IAFL will be organised and hosted by the Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics (AIFL), at Aston University, from Monday 13th to Wednesday 15th September. After careful consideration of the current circumstances and due to uncertainties surrounding travel to the UK, the organising committee has decided to hold the conference entirely online. However, you needn’t wait until September to attend Forensic Linguistics events. On 7th July the 2nd Roundtable on Practices and Standards in Forensic Authorship Analysis will be held online at the University of Manchester. The event is free to attend but participants need to register. Make sure to register so that you don’t miss it. Before that, on 24th June, the IAFL Vice-President Isabel Picornell will give a talk titled ‘“Something odd is going on”: analysing the linguistics of faked contexts’ as part of the FL Seminar Series of the University of Porto. The webinar, broadcast via Zoom, is free to attend, but registration is required. These are all exciting events, so they are worth being added to your calendar. 

In the meantime, you can start making plans for next year. In July 2022, the University of Porto will host the 4th European Conference of the IAFL – International Association of Forensic Linguists. Further details will be announced soon, but in the meantime make sure to save the date! We remind IAFL members that proposals for regional conferences can be submitted anytime for consideration by the Executive Committee. 

Meanwhile, time really flies and it’s been almost two years since the current IAFL Executive Committee was elected, which means that we have an upcoming election. Further information is coming very soon. Make sure that your membership is not overdue so that you can cast your vote.

Unfortunately, this briefing is not just about good news. In April, we lost one of our valued members, past President Ron Butters (2009-2011). You can read a ‘Note of Remembrance’ written by past President Ed Finegan in the International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law or in Language and Law / Linguagem e Direito

Before you go, here is an opportunity to celebrate the IAFL. It’s been about three decades since the Association was founded, which means that some of its junior members weren’t even born when it all started. A lot of information about the Association can be found at the IAFL website and in publications, but some facts don’t come in the books. We asked one of the founding members and past President Malcolm Coulthard to tell us more about how things worked… in the beginning. You’ll be surprised!

We hope you enjoy the reading!