Constitution of the British Association for Islamic Studies (BRAIS)

1. Name

The name of the Association shall be the British Association for Islamic Studies (BRAIS).

2. Aims

BRAIS is a learned society and professional organisation focused on enhancing research and teaching about Islam and Muslim cultures and societies in UK higher and further education. The Association provides a forum for academic exchange for scholars with an interest in any aspect of Islam and the Muslim world, past and present, including Muslim minority societies, and acts as an umbrella organisation for members working in a wide range of disciplines and geographical interest areas. BRAIS works with research councils and other bodies to represent the interests of Islamic Studies on research matters in UK higher and further education, and with the Higher Education Academy to enhance teaching and learning in Islamic Studies. It also maintains and encourages relationships with providers of HE-level Islamic Studies outside of publicly-funded UK higher and further education.

3. Membership

Interested individuals and bodies may apply for membership of BRAIS in one of the following categories. Membership shall be subject to final approval by the Officers and payment of appropriate fees.

a. Full members

Full membership is open to those with an academic interest in Islamic Studies who are working at higher and further education institutions, both public and private, in the UK or the Republic of Ireland. Only full members shall be entitled to vote at meetings of the Association and shall be eligible for membership of the Council and officer positions.

b. Associate members 

Associate membership is open to those with an academic interest in Islamic Studies who are working in higher and further education institutions outside of the UK or the Republic of Ireland, and to those with an academic interest in Islamic Studies who are not currently professionally involved in academic Islamic Studies.

c. Student members

Student membership is open to postgraduate students in Islamic Studies at higher and further education institutions, both public and private.

d. Corporate members

Corporate membership is open to institutions with an academic interest in Islamic Studies, and to organisations outside of further and higher education. Corporate members must be nominated by two full members of the Association.

4. Subscription 

Annual subscription fees are payable by all members in the above categories as a condition of membership. The fees for the four categories of membership will be determined periodically by the Council and approved by the Annual General Meeting.

5. Management and Administration

The administration of the Association will be carried out by an appropriate administrative centre based at a higher or further education institution in the UK or the Republic of Ireland. The administrative centre will be selected through an agreed application process and will be appointed for a term of 5 years.

The Association will be managed by a Council made up of the Officers and at-large Council members.

The elected Officers will normally be: Chair, Secretary, Treasurer/Membership Secretary, and Web Officer. Officers will be elected to serve for a period of 3 years.  They may stand for re-election at the end of their first term of office, and can serve as Officers for a maximum of two consecutive terms.

The elected Council may invite up to 4 additional or honorary officers (e.g. President) to perform duties for terms decided by the Council.

The remainder of the Council will be made up of no more than 10 at-large members. At-large Council members will be elected by the membership for terms of 3 years. The Council may co-opt members from other bodies to serve on the Council for terms decided by the Council.

The Council will meet normally at least once a year.

6. Duties 

The Administrative centre for the Association will be responsible for supporting the Association through activities to be stipulated in a contractual agreement, including: developing and maintaining a website, developing and maintaining a membership database and mailing list, day-to-day financial administration, supporting the Association’s meetings, and providing administrative support for the Association’s activities.

The Chair will chair the meetings of the Council of the Association, and will represent the Association in discussions with external bodies such as the research councils and the Higher Education Academy.

The Secretary will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day administration of the Association in conjunction with the Administrative Centre, for the production of an annual report on the activities of the Association, and for the production and circulation of the minutes of the meetings of the Council of the Association and of the Annual General Meeting.

The Treasurer/Membership Secretary is charged with overseeing the day-to-day financial administration of the Association in conjunction with the Administrative Centre, for presenting the accounts of the Association to the Annual General Meeting, and for coordinating approval of membership applications.

The Web Officer will be responsible for the upkeep of the Association’s website in conjunction with the Administrative Centre, and for the circulation of notices relevant to the activities of the Association through its mailing list.

7. General Meetings 

There shall be an Annual General Meeting at a time and place determined by the Council, normally in association with the annual conference. The Annual General Meeting will provide the opportunity for the election of officers and council members, for the receipt of the accounts, and for the receipt of a report on the activities of the Association. A minimum notice of 28 days will be given to full members. Notice of any motion to be proposed by a member shall be seconded by another member and shall reach the Secretary at least 14 days before the Annual General Meeting.

A Special General Meeting may be called by the Council by giving a minimum of 14 days notice to full members of the Association.

8. Quorum 

At a meeting of the Council, a quorum shall consist of half of the current members of the Council, including at least two elected officers. In the event of less than half of the Council members being present, e-mail may be used for any matters on which a vote is required.

The quorum for an Annual General Meeting or a Special General Meeting shall be 10 members of the Association.

9. Annual Conference and Other Activity

The Association will normally arrange an annual conference as an opportunity for scholarly exchange and reflection on issues relevant to Islamic Studies in the UK. Additional conferences, workshops and other meetings may be arranged by the Council or by Special Interest Groups/Research Groups within the Association.

10. Income

The Balance Sheet and Income and Expenditure Account of the Association shall be published annually and submitted for approval to the Annual General Meeting which next follows their publication.

The income and property of the Association shall be used exclusively towards the furthering of the aims of the Association. Officers and council members of the Association will not receive remuneration for their duties. Council members may, however, be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses incurred in the performance of their duties on behalf of the Association.

11. Amendment

Proposals for amending this Constitution must be submitted in writing to the Secretary of the Association. Such proposals will be considered first by the Council of the Association, and if two-thirds of the members of the Council agree to support the amendment it will then be put to the Annual General Meeting or a Special General Meeting. At least 14 days notice of such a Special General Meeting must be given to the membership and must include notice of the alteration proposed.

Amendments to the Constitution brought to an Annual General Meeting or Special General Meeting will be approved on the assent of two-thirds of the members present and voting at such a meeting.

No amendment shall be made to this Constitution that would have the effect of making the Association cease to be a charity at law. No amendments may be made to the “name”, “aims” or “dissolution” provisions without the prior consent in writing of the Charity Commissioners. The Council will notify the Charity Commission of any amendment to this Constitution.

12. Dissolution 

The Association may be dissolved by a resolution passed by a two-thirds majority of the Council and then by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting at a Special General Meeting convened for the purpose of which 14 days notice shall have been given to the members. Such resolution may give instruction for the disposal of any assets held by or in the name of the Association, provided that any property shall not be paid to or distributed among the members of the Association but shall be given or transferred to such other institution or institutions as have aims similar to some or all of the aims of the Association.

The Council will notify the Charity Commission of dissolution of the Association.