IAFLL News Briefing – December 2021

This news briefing is the first since a very busy few months of change for our Association, including the election of a new Executive Committee. We are now led by the new President of the association Isabel Picornell. The elections also saw Jennifer Glougie become Vice-President, Nicci MacLeod become Secretary, Sheila Queralt become Treasurer and David Wright become Communications Officer. These officers are joined on the committee by Members at Large Marilu Madrunio, Andrea Nini and Dana Roemling. The new Executive Committee would like thank Janet Ainsworth as outgoing President (and now non-voting member of the committee) and the rest of the team for their tireless work for the association and the forensic linguistic community more widely, and for leaving the incoming committee in an excellent position going forwards.

In September the membership voted on two important issues. First, a vote passed on changing the name of the association to the ‘International Association for Forensic and Legal Linguistics’ (IAFLL). Also, the membership voted to update the IAFLL Constitution for the first time since 2005. These votes ushered in a new era for balloting the membership of our association. It was the first time in the history of the association that all members from across the world were able to vote online without having to attend the IAFLL biennial conference. We are thankful to the previous Executive Committee for setting up the infrastructure to facilitate this, and we are delighted with such a high turnout on votes across all issues.

September also saw the 15th Biennial Conference of the IAFLL organised and hosted online by the Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics (AIFL) at Aston University. The organising team at Aston deserve high praise for pivoting the conference to an online platform from what was originally planned as a face-to-face event. The conference was a huge success, with over 110 talks by speakers from some 26 countries worldwide. The event saw the unveiling of the Aston Institute’s Forensic Linguistic Databank (FoLD), which is sure to be an important development for the discipline. At the same time, Tim Grant and Tammy Gales announced their Cambridge University Press book series Elements in Forensic Linguistics which provides a new dedicated outlet for the publication of forensic linguistic work.

Continuing with the theme of conferences, the University of Porto have recently announced their first Call for Papers for the 2022 Conference of the IAFLL on the theme of ‘Rigour and Transparency in Forensic Linguistics’. Meanwhile, one of the first jobs for the new Executive Committee was to publish a Call for Bids to host the 2023 and 2025 biennial IAFLL conferences. The deadline for proposals was on 1 December and the committee are now evaluating the bids they have received.

To end, we would like to thank all of our members for all of their dedicated and committed hard work in teaching, researching and practising forensic linguistics over 2021, in what proved to be a period of continued challenge, uncertainty and change. We send all of our best wishes to our members for what is left of 2021 and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

On behalf of the IAFLL Executive Committee

David Wright, Communications Officer