ISRI meets annually—as a preconference special interest group in conjunction with SRA’s biennial meeting; and a two-day stand-alone meeting. This year, the stand-alone meeting took place in Bellingham, WA on May 14-17th at the Best Western and Lakeway Inn.
The conference was organized by SRIF President, Steve Berman (University of Central Florida), and SRIF program committee chair, Elizabeth Morgan (Springfield College). Jane Kroger (Western Washington University) made the arrangements for the annual banquet. There were 46 people in attendance. In addition to the U.S. and Canada, scholars were from Japan, Israel, Switzerland, Finland, Trinidad & Tobago, Sweden, and the Netherlands. SRIF highly values the international scope of its membership and many SRIF members have benefitted through establishing productive cross-cultural collaborations. Indeed, the 2017 stand alone SRIF conference is proposed to take place in the Netherlands.
It is the SRIF tradition to begin each meeting with a roundtable introduction (moderated this year by SRIF President Steve Berman) in which all attendees have the opportunity to introduce themselves and summarize their identity-linked research interests. This is a beneficial exercise for faculty and students members to learn of the range of research possibilities in the field of identity and to be updated on one another’s research activities. Many collaborative projects have sprung from this roundtable session. The roundtable is also useful for students to identify possible mentors for their graduate studies, to meet scholars in the field whose works they are reading, and to networks for Postdoctoral or other employment opportunities. SRIF highly values students’ contributions to the organization and attempts to provide many opportunities for student development at the conferences. This year there was both a professional development session and mentor fair for students and new professors. Over the years we have watched students mature in their professional development and grow into scholars who, in turn, mentor new student members.
The invited program at the SRIF conference this year offered diverse considerations of identity. Lene Jensen Arnett (Clark University) gave the Keynote Address titled, “Cultural-Developmental Theory for the 21st Century: Self and Social Science in a Global World”. Saskia Kunnen and Mandy van der Gaag (both from the University of Groningen, Netherlands) provided a methodology session titled, “A Process Approach to Identity Development.” Steve Berman (University of Central Florida), outgoing President of SRIF, gave a Presidential Address titled, “The Identity Development of SRIF: Who are we? Where are we going? And what do we want to be?.”
Paper topics spanned a broad range of research relevant to the interests of identity researchers including international and cultural perspectives, identity horizons and the identity capital model, sexuality and stigmatized identities, parent-child relationships, and adoptive identity. An exciting symposium used international research from Finland, Sweden, Japan, and Trinidad to examine identity development in adulthood. An engaging interactive session also explored interventions for identity distress using Erikson’s psychosocial theory as a framework. The conference also included a poster session where 17 posters were presented by both faculty and students from a range of academic institutions.
The Doctoral Student Research Award was presented to Lakshmi Priya Rajendran (The University of Sheffield, UK). The Undergraduate Student Research Award was presented to Jessy Gruler (University of Central Florida). Yesel Yoon (University of Massachusetts, Amherst) was awarded the James Marcia student travel award.
Concluding the conference was the annual banquet, which was held at Anthony’s Hearthfire Grill, where we had a delicious dinner and stimulating conversation. We hope to see everyone back (and a few new people) at our next annual meeting in conjunction with the Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA), in Baltimore, MD on March 31 through April 2, 2016!