Dear SASRIM Members

 2011 is already well under way, and no doubt you have long forgotten the summer break and are as busy as I am with the many things that require your attention in your personal and professional lives every day. I trust that the year ahead will be a wonderful one for us all.

1. News of the Executive Committee

But for two changes, our executive committee remains as it was in my newsletter of last year. At our AGM of last year we announced the co-option of Santie de Jongh, who has been and remains extremely helpful in her assistance with our website, as well as with the dissemination of our jounal on the Sabinet, Ebsco and AJOL electronic databases. In this regard we are proud to announce that, in addition to the electronic access to SAMUS that has thus far been available full-text through Sabinet, and as abstracts through AJOL and RILM (Ebsco), SAMUS articles will soon also be downloadable in full text through Ebsco, which we believe will greatly expand our readership across the globe and thus hold significant financial and scholarly advantages for our society and its members.

Sadly, we bid farewell to Musonda Chimba, who resigned from the executive committee late last year due to pressing work commitments.

Aside from myself as chairperson, therefore, our executive committee is at present consituted thus:

Brett Pyper – deputy chairperson
Annemie Stimie – secretary
Hilde Roos – treasurer
Willemien Froneman – membership drive
Claudio Chipendo – membership drive
Beverly Parker – programme committee
Michael Nixon – programme committee
Alvin Petersen – programme committee
Jaco Kruger – publications committee
Nishlyn Ramana – publications committee
Santie de Jongh – Website and electronic dissemination of SAMUS.

These individuals invest a great deal of time and effort in the Society and I wish to thank them most sincerely. In addition, I wish to thank Jeffrey Brukman and Diane Thram who serve with Nishlyn Ramanna and Jaco Kruger as members of our publications committee.

As always, any or all members of the executive committee can be contacted by sending an e-mail to sasrim@gmail.com, from which address they will be forwarded by our secretary to the person(s) concerned.

2. SAMUS

SAMUS, as most of you are aware, has been through somewhat of a crisis in the last eighteen months, being without an editor for much of that time. Contributors to volume 29 have waited patiently since the end of 2009 to see their work in print, which has had very direct consequences for the relevance of their work and for their subsidy applications. I wish to personally apologise to the authors of both volumes 29 and 30 – the latter of which was to have been published in 2010 – for this delay and incovenience, and to assure them that, since the constitution of the new publications committee in July 2010, every effort has been made to get the wheels moving and to see these volumes to print as soon as possible. Volume 29 is being proof-read for publication as these words are penned, and at present the possibility of a double volume, volume 30/31, is being considered for issue before the end of this year, which will set us back on track. The publications committee is still on the look-out for additional suitable articles for the possible double volume, so please do submit to Nishlyn as soon as you have something you believe is worthy of publication.

My sincere thanks go to Nishlyn and his team for their sterling efforts in steering our journal through this difficult time. The Society is deeply indebted to you all.

 3. The 2011 Conference

This year’s conference will be held at Rhodes University, from 23 to 25 June. These dates are earlier than we have become accustomed to having our annual conference, but they have been specifically chosen for the convenience of those who wish to stay on for the IASPM Conference, hosted by our colleague Michael Drewett from the Sociology Department at Rhodes University from 27 June to 1 July, and to also experience something of the National Arts Festival, set to commence immediately thereafter from 30 June to 10 July. We hope to welcome many of you to our conference this year, and hope that you will plan to stay on afterwards to take full advantage of this feast of stimulating academic discourse and cultural activity, and of course to experience more of the beautiful Eastern Cape.

Online links to the conference details will be posted on the Rhodes University and SASRIM websites as soon as they are availble, so please do keep watching those spaces.

At the same time as plans for this year’s conference are reaching completion, we are also inviting proposals from members for the conference of 2012. Institutions who wish to offer to host the 2012 conference should please contact the executive committee by early June, so that all such proposals can serve at the AGM during the 2011 conference.

4. SASRIM’s Website and Other Online Areas of Interest

Our website is always on the lookout for interesting details of our society’s activities, and links to sites of interest elsewhere. Please do contact our wesite co-ordinators, Annemie Stimie and Santie de Jongh, if you have anything of interest to add to our website.

A matter raised in this regard at the AGM of 2010 was the possibility that a link to a designated SASRIM student blog page could be created on the SASRIM website, to allow students to continue the interesting discussions with each other that they began at the conference of 2010.

After due consideration, however, the Executive Committee of SASRIM is proposing that the following alternative be considered. In 2010 Santie de Jongh launched the SA Music Research Blog that can be accessed at http://samusicresearch.wordpress.com/. The aim of this site is to create an open platform or discussion forum where all music researchers (including musicologists, librarians, archivists, pedagogues, performers, community music researchers, etc.) can write about their own work and engage with work of others. The blog is not bound to any institution or organization. However, since SASRIM’s vision resonates well with the aims of the blog, our society could benefit from utilizing this platform, provided there are clear links between SASRIM’s website and the blog. We would like to suggest that all members of SASRIM, student groups included, initiate and continue discussion and debate on the SA Music Research Blog where such debates and discussions could draw the attention of a wide array of music scholars who would not necessarily visit SASRIM’s homepage of their own accord.

To date registrations for the blog have been quite slow. We would therefore like to urge all SASRIM members to sign up to WordPress, visit this site, and begin to make their contributions. It is possible to create separate pages on WordPress, one of which could be allocated to students. However, the Executive Committee is of the opinion that – for the present moment at least – it may be best to integrate contributions by students with contributions by the rest of the research community, in order to avoid unnecessary fragmentation of our community of scholars. Once we have a better idea of the potential success of this discussion forum and of the proliferation of discussions that may ensue, we hope to revisit this matter at our AGM in June, to decide whether it has indeed been a successful forum for ongoing discourse, and to revisit the possibility of that students may still wish to launch a separate student blog page on the same site, or indeed to create a new blog entirely.

5. 2011 Membership Fees

In view of the relatively healthy state of our finances at present and of the pressing economic circumstances that affect us all, you will be pleased to know that the SASRIM executive committee has voted to maintain membership fees at the rates of the past two years. These are:

Ordinary member:  ZAR250;
Overseas member/library subscriptions:  ZAR350;
Student member/retiree: ZAR125 (Students to please provide proof of registration).

Please follow the instructions on our website under “Membership” to affect your 2011 payments as soon as possible.

In closing, may I again wish you all a very happy and productive 2011. See you all in Grahamstown in June!

Best wishes

Zelda Potgieter (SASRIM Chairperson)