ISRI meets annually, in even-numbered years as a preconference special interest group in conjunction with SRA’s biennial meeting, and in odd-numbered years as a two-day stand-alone meeting.

2018 Conference: Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.

In 2018, the preconference special interest group meeting took place on April 11, before the SRA conference. The meeting was organized by ISRI President, Moin Syed (University of Minnesota, United States), and ISRI Program Committee Chair, Sara K. Johnson (Tufts University, United States). Attendees included 48 people from 10 countries. For about half of the attendees, this meeting was their first ISRI conference! It was great to see so many new faces, as well as familiar ones, and we hope to see everyone again at the 2019 stand-alone meeting.

In keeping with ISRI tradition, we began the preconference meeting with a brief roundtable introduction in which all attendees introduced themselves and summarized their identity-linked research interests. In this session, faculty and students learned about range of exciting work being done by their colleagues and identified other attendees to connect with.

Following the roundtable, we held the featured event, a panel discussion on “Methodological Issues in Identity Development.” ISRI President Moin Syed moderated the discussion, with panelists Kate C. McLean (Western Washington University, United States), Onnie Rogers (Northwestern University, United States), and Sara K. Johnson (Tufts University, United States). The panelists – with questions and input from the audience – discussed methodological issues facing identity research (and social science research more broadly), aspects of our research that could be improved, and barriers and facilitators to making such improvements.

After the panel discussion, the preconference meeting concluded with a poster session that included 20 posters on a diverse representation of identity-linked topics. Presenters included undergraduate and graduate students, university faculty, and program employees and organizers.

On Wednesday evening, about 25 conference attendees (and some guests of attendees) gathered for the Social Dinner at a nearby restaurant, The Local. We enjoyed delicious food and good conversation, and even a few games of pool!

We hope to see everyone again (bring your colleagues, too!) at our next meeting. It will be held as a stand-alone meeting from May 13 to 15, 2019, in Naples, Italy! Please stay tuned for more information about this exciting meeting, which will be our second outside of North America.

2017 Conference: Groningen, The Netherlands

In 2017, the stand-alone meeting took place from May 18 to 21 in Groningen, The Netherlands. The conference was organized by ISRI President, Marilyn Montgomery (Northwest Christian University, United States), ISRI Program Committee Chair, Elizabeth Morgan (Springfield College, United States), and ISRI International Member-at-Large, Saskia Kunnen (University of Groningen, The Netherlands). ISRI highly values the international scope of its membership and our international commitment was underscored by this meeting, which was the society’s first held outside the United States. Attendees included 98 people from more than 20 countries!

It is an ISRI tradition to begin each meeting with a roundtable introduction in which all attendees have the opportunity to introduce themselves and summarize their identity-linked research interests. With 98 attendees this year, we split into three groups to get to know each other better in a smaller setting. In this session, faculty and students alike learn about range of exciting work being done by their colleagues and identify attendees they’d like to connect with during the conference. 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.

The invited program this year offered diverse considerations of identity. Wim Meeus (Utrecht University and Tilburg University, The Netherlands) gave the Keynote Address titled, “A Developmental Re-interpretation of Longitudinal Identity Research”. Marion Kloep (University of Glamorgan, Wales) and Leo Hendry (University of Aberdeen, Scotland) presented a thought-provoking and entertaining plenary session titled “Towards FluIdentity: A Systemic Outlook on Identity Research.” Outgoing ISRI President Marilyn Montgomery gave her Presidential Address of “Identity Theory and Research: What’s Our Identity Horizon,” before officially welcoming incoming President Moin Syed (University of Minnesota, United States).

Attendees chose from one of two invited methodological sessions: Elisabetta Crocetti (Alma Mater Studorium University of Bologna, Italy) presented “Systematic Reviews with Meta-Analysis: Applications to Identity Research,” and Moin Syed presented “An Interactive Session on Mixed-Methods Research.”

Conference sessions also included 5 organized symposia on topics including theory and methods, clinical relevance of identity, longitudinal research in an international context, and national identity. The 7 additional paper sessions included 27 presentations on a broad range of identity-relevant topics, and we also had three interactive sessions (narrative methods, statistical techniques, and identity in the school context). The poster session included 27 posters given by both faculty and students.

We presented Master’s Level Student Research Awards to Fanny Gyberg (University of Gothenburg, Sweden) and Shogo Hihara (Hiroshima University, Japan). The James Marcia student travel award was given to Rasmus Mannerström (University of Jyväskylä, Finland). We did not receive any nominations for Doctoral or Undergraduate Student Research Awards this year, so make sure to nominate outstanding students for the 2019 conference!

On Saturday evening, more than 60 conference attendees (and some guests of attendees) took a bus ride through the Dutch countryside to attend the conference banquet at Garnwerd aan Zee. We enjoyed a delicious BBQ and stimulating conversations in the lovely setting between a canal and a windmill before returning to Groningen. The conference concluded on Sunday morning with a discussion about future conferences and a professional development session on the topic of perseverance.

We hope to see everyone again (bring your colleagues, too!) at our next meeting. It will be held on April 11, 2018 in conjunction with the Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA) meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States (which will be held from April 12-14).

2016 Conference: Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.

In 2016, the meeting took place in Baltimore, MD on March 30th, 2016 at the Baltimore Hilton as a preconference special interest group with SRA. The conference was organized by ISRI President, Marilyn Montgomery (Northwest Christian University), and ISRI program committee chair, Elizabeth Morgan (Springfield College). Carolyn Lorente (Northern Virginia Community College) made the arrangements for the annual banquet. There were 43 people in attendance. In addition to the United States and Canada, scholars were from Japan, Israel, and Belgium. ISRI highly values the international scope of its membership and many ISRI members have benefitted through establishing productive cross-national collaborations. Indeed, the 2017 stand alone ISRI conference will take place in the Netherlands.

The program deviated slightly from the traditional structure this year. We began with a social hour for attendees, which was well attended and lively. We then heard from invited speaker James Côté (University of Western Ontario), who provided a keynote address at the conference titled “The Future of Identity Studies as an Interdisciplinary Pursuit.” In the talk, Dr Côté discussed epistemological divides within the field of identity studies. Following his presentation, attendees met at roundtables of 6-10 people to introduce themselves and discuss a set of questions related to Dr. Côté’s discussion. Following the small group discussion, Past-President Steven Berman (University of Central Florida) let a full group discussion about the topics. The evening concluded with a poster session where 17 posters were presented on a broad range of research relevant to the interests of identity researchers, including national identity, ego strength, moral identity, identity reconstruction, religious identity, identity supportive relationships, identity distress, identity horizons, sexual orientation identity, and positive identity development.

On Thursday, March 31st, the annual ISRI banquet was held at the Pratt Street Ale House starting at 7:00pm. Our keynote speaker was Dr. Alan Waterman (The College of New Jersey, Emeritus), who delivered a talk titled, “Just When I Knew all of Life’s Answers, They Changed the Questions.” Dr. Waterman’s talk integrated a variety of theories to undergird a discussion about Eudaimonic identity theory. In addition to Dr. Waterman’s talk, the evening was full of delicious food and stimulating conversation.