The Association of British and Irish Lusitanists aims to promote and encourage scholarly research and teaching in Great Britain and Ireland into the study of the languages and cultures of the Portuguese-speaking world. ABIL provides a forum for the discussion and elaboration of these aims by members, acting to secure the support of governments and other appropriate agencies and institutions for those activities, and to promote the widest possible awareness of their cultural, educational and vocational importance.
The idea for an independent organisation representing the interests of scholars of the Lusophone world at British and Irish universities originated at the Conference of the AIL, Associação Internacional de Lusitanistas, in Santiago de Compostela in the summer of 2005. This reflected a growing confidence amongst scholars within the field in the maturity and diversity of the subject area, as reflected in the growing numbers of institutions where Portuguese can be studied as an independent academic discipline.
This led to an initial conference held at Nottingham University in September 2006, with approximately fifty papers being offered over two fine days in September. The enthusiasm generated by this first conference then led to a second event in Bristol, in January 2008, with approximately seventy papers. In view of the poor weather at this time of year, it was decided to schedule future conferences for early September, and further successful conferences have been held since then (with similar numbers attending) at NUI Maynooth (2009), Leeds (2011) and Oxford (2013).
In the meantime, ABIL has seen its membership rise to around 120, representing institutions in Britain, Ireland, the United States, Brazil, Portugal and various other European countries. Links have been formed with other relevant academic organisations such as APSA (American Portuguese Studies Association) and the Instituto Camões, and ABIL is now an academic association recognised by HEFCE and other bodies as the prime representative of those working within the field in the UK.
The Association holds an academic conference at a British or Irish University every two years, during the course of which the Annual General Meeting of the Association takes place.
Membership is open to persons who study, research and/or teach on the languages, cultures and literatures of the Portuguese-speaking world. We particularly welcome postgraduates and early-career researchers and work to provide a supporting academic environment.
Procedures for joining and the necessary forms are available on this web site in the Membership page. Members receive regular news via the mailing list and are also encouraged to disseminate relevant information to other members through it. The Association is also launching Facebook and Twitter profiles to increase the visibility of the Association.
Any enquiries about the Association should be addressed directly to the Secretary of the Association.