Friends of the Charles Parker Archive: AGM 2018

Minutes of AGM held Thursday 17th May 2018 at The Library of Birmingham

The meeting commenced at 3.35p.m.

  1. Present: Mary Kalemkerian; (Chairman), Pam Bishop, Andy Cartwright, Peter Cox, Jimmy Ewing, Helen Lloyd, Ian Parr; Hon Sec.
    Friends;  Joy Ashworth, Patrick Costello, Beryl Coton, Maureen Davis, Steve May, Naomi Paul, Susan Stein, Eileen Whiting, Robert Whitworth
    Apologies Simon Elmes, Alan Hall, Phil Maguire, Mark Newman; Hon Treasurer, Sara Parker
    Friends;  John Davies, Janey Jones, Graham Langley, Fiona Tait,  Paul Wilson

Secretary’s Note  To ensure the interview and recording by Helen Lloyd of Beryl Coton’s work with Charles Parker took place smoothly the Chairman re-arranged the order of the meeting from that shown in the agenda.  The following minutes follow the order of the original agenda.   

  1. Chairman’s Welcome and Opening Remarks
    The Chairman welcomed Friends and Trustees present.  She explained that the Treasurer’s absence was necessitated by his attendance at the memorial service for Ed Doolan.  She went on to thank Mark for resolving the Trust’s meeting problems by arranging for our previous meeting, and future ones, with the exception of AGMs, to be held at the BBC at The Mailbox.

Mary introduced each of the Trustees to the meeting.  She said this meeting, being the first with the change to the date of the AGM, was slightly different from former meetings as the Annual Report, which she would deal with later, was in many respects an update of the 2016/17 report.

She went on to say that the Trust continued to prosper in terms of accomplishing the changes, such as the revised AGM date and its relationship to Charles Parker Day, the introduction of Actuality etc which Trustees had set themselves.  She welcomed any opinion or assistance Friends, and our other contacts beyond the Trust, could bring to our activities.

She particularly welcomed Beryl Coton who was involved with Charles Parker’s work in connection with Centre 42 and other projects.  She explained that the meeting would open with an interview conducted by Helen Lloyd with Beryl Coton.  The changes to the agenda would allow Helen and Beryl Coton to leave at an appropriate time. 

  1. Review of Annual Report and Trust activities
    Secretary’s Note!  The Annual Report referred to in these minutes will be available from the Trust website.  It is not appended to the minutes.

3.1  Chairman’s Report   Mary Kalemkerian introduced the latest Annual Report copies of which were circulated.  She referred to her earlier comments on the nature of the Report and gave a verbal report.

She spoke of the success of Charles Parker Day and the excellent facilities provided.  She thanked Andy Cartwright for leading those Trustees involved in the event organisation and delivery and for the excellence of the speakers and topics.  She particularly thanked Simon Elmes who although not present at this meeting had provided an important and thoughtful report of the Charles Parker Prize organisation which she knew Andy Cartwright would pick up in due course.  It was, she said, a good year for the Archive.  More enquiries and work had been undertaken using the Archive materials and there was the prospect of further use in future projects including people associated with Charles Parker.

The second issue of Actuality had been produced and she thanked especially Peter Cox who had stepped in to provide support whilst Sara Parker had been occupied with work commitments.  The result of the joint endeavours of these two plus Phil Maguire had meant the magazine was available for CP Day as planned and the content was interesting and relevant.  

Mary then expressed her pleasure at the Rural Media production of their film “The Ballad of the Travelling People” shown on CP Day and which would be shown later in the meeting.

She concluded her report by thanking all the Trustees and Friends for their support and contribution to the Trust in the past months.

3.2  Honorary Secretary’s Report  Ian Parr tabled his report and noted that there were no statistics relating to access to the Archive or its use and no report.  That would be attended to and included in future reports.  He advised the meeting that changes in the way the Trust handles the data relating to contacts is in the process of review in accordance with the new GDP Regulations.

3.3  Financial – Treasurer’s Report  In the absence of the Treasurer Pam Bishop gave the meeting a summary of the main points of the Report.  She explained that, unlike the previous Annual Financial Report, the balance now included both current and savings accounts.

3.4  Social Media etc Report   The Chairman invited Pam Bishop to explain the report in relation to social media and the Trust website.   Pam took the meeting through her statistics and those provided by Jimmy Ewing.  (Secretary’s Note!  The terminology used was explained at the previous AGM and can be obtained from the Trust website).  It was suggested the terminology be captured somewhere accessible to readers.

She went on to refer to problems Jimmy Ewing has encountered in developing the CP Prize page.  He is hoping to improve the social media side of the Trust’s presence in the next year or so.

Pam then explained to the meeting the concerns Trustees felt regarding conformance to the new Data Protection requirements which seemed particularly onerous to organisations such as our own.  This is still being worked on but will be clarified and Friends and Contacts mailing lists brought into compliance when the details are clearer to us.

3.5  Friend’s Secretary Report   Helen Lloyd explained that difficulties with circulation lists have been largely overcome and the main purpose at present is to finalise the Trust’s compliance with GDPR.  The other aspect of her activities since the last AGM was registration and follow-up with attendees at CP Day.  The intention is to use registration as a means of increasing the number and involvement of people in the Trust’s work and the use of the Archive of those who attend the event.  

  1. Approval of minutes of the last meeting: Friends AGM held 19th October 2017
    The minutes were approved following a proposal by Helen Lloyd, seconded by Andy Cartwright.          
  1. Matters arising from the Minutes

5.1   The Secretary reported that Christopher Hill from BCU had proposed a research project into programmes Dilip Hiro made and Charles Parker produced.  In spite of much effort, this project had failed to attract university funding.  However, the Secretary said he thought there was much merit in the idea behind it and observed that as we went further into the social aspects of Charles Parker’s work more was revealed that was relevant to the present.

5.2  The Chairman said she had been pleased with the development of the project run by Rural Media.  Their film, “Searching for the Travelling People” had been premiered in Hereford in February.  The Chairman, Sara Parker (with her daughter Charlotte), Pam Bishop and Ian Parr had attended on behalf of the Trust.  Pam and Ian provided a short article for Actuality having been sent a preview CD of the film which was also shown in the following month at Charles Parker Day.  The film was shown to the meeting at the end of the AGM.

One outcome of the Hereford event was the meeting up with Janet Jones (nee Reed) who had been Charles Parker’s PA.  The Secretary reported further on the outcome in his contribution to the Annual Report.

  1. Interview with Beryl Coton (nee Pryce)

Following the Chairman’s address and welcome, Helen Lloyd interviewed Beryl Coton.  This was recorded and will be placed in the Archive.  The minutes serve as a precis of the interview.  Trustees will make further details available in due course.

Beryl Pryce as she then was, joined the Clarion Singers in 1962.  The group was headed by Katherine Thomson. (Secretary’s note:  Both Katherine and her husband George – who was a professor at Birmingham University where he taught classical Greek theatre – were known to Ewan, Peggy and Charles for some time before 1962.  Katherine Thomson directed The Clarion Singers in the production of “Singing the Fishing” made in 1960.)

For Beryl, the Clarion singers involved “taking good music to the ordinary people”.  She said, “I was only working class.  But I’ve had a wonderful life and met so many people”.  These people included many of those involved in the Radio Ballads and in Charles other work, particularly Centre 42.  She recalls being part of the play “The Long and the Short and the Tall” and in the production of “Lonesome Train” the radio musical documentary/play made in the USA which Charles produced for Centre 42 using photographs from the American Civil War as backcloths.  For “The Maker and the Tool” she wrote and performed some of the songs used over the actuality.  Her travels took her to Moscow where she recorded for a puppet theatre.  She also recorded material at Charles’ home.  (Perhaps this was for “Dog in a Manger” in which she sang in St Philip’s Cathedral.)

The Chairman thanked both Beryl and Helen for their presentation and all who contributed to the discussion following, in which the meeting was reminded that Paul Robeson was a Patron of the Clarion Singers and had sung in Birmingham on numerous occasions. 

  1. Charles Parker Day and Charles Parker Prize 2018
    The Chairman invited Andy Cartwright to review CP Day 2018 and plans for future years.

Andy Cartwright said that apart from the initial hiccup with the PA system the Day was very successful though not without other small glitches.  There were many interesting and important contributions he thought.

The theme for the Day, “Beyond the Radio Ballads”, had opened-up longer term developments for audio.  It ranged from Helen Lloyd and Matthew Linfoot’s work on the BBC’s assembly of an oral history of peoples’ life experiences as part of “The Century Speaks” over the millennium period to the present and continuing BBC series “The Listening Project”.

Andy went on to say he felt that in spite of the initial technical problem, Peter Cox’s discussion with Peggy Seeger on the making of the first Radio Ballad on the life and death of John Axon set the Day off well.

Andy said that details of winners of this years CP Prize had already gone on to the Trust website, therefore he would concentrate on other aspects.  However, he thought it worth pointing out that this year’s winner, Hannah Dean, had two years ago been serving the tea at CP Day in Bristol.  Hearing about Charles Parker she decided she wanted to make radio programmes.  It was, he said, an indication of the value of the event and of the Trust policy of moving it around the country each year.

He went on to say that although the CP Prize for 2018 had been successful in terms of the quality and quantity of entries, Trustees recognised the need to broaden the scope of coverage of academic institutions, whilst finding improved ways to handle the increasing numbers of entries.

Regarding arrangements for 2019, Andy Cartwright said that CP Day would be Friday 5th April 2019 and would be, as had been much discussed, in Bournemouth at The Media Department with access to the University facilities.  He described the broad outline for the programme.  It will include both plenary and break-out sessions focussing on items of interest to students as well as the overall theme of aspects of Charles Parker’s life which could include an evening tour of his birthplace and associated aspects of his early life in Bournemouth.  Further details will be discussed at the Trust meeting towards the end of 2018 and will be widely communicated following that meeting.

Beyond 2019 Andy Cartwright explained his current thinking and on progress in other fields relating to the Trust.   It had been agreed in principle that CP Day 2020 be in Birmingham, possibly at BCU and that Sam Coley be invited to be involved in the arrangements.  “Actuality in the Theatre” is proposed as the theme and it would lead into Charles’ involvement in the creation of Banner as well as Centre 42 etc.   

It was thought there was a need to meet with BBC executives with a view to broadcasting the whole of the Radio Ballads over the period of CP Day 2019, a period of eight weeks commencing at the end of January as part of the Charles Parker centenary.

  1. Actuality magazine
    The Chairman said that the team of Sara Parker, Phil Maguire and Peter Cox had produced our second Issue.

It had been suggested that the appearance of Issue 2 was too much like that of the first one.  A change of colour is a certain requirement.  It was also felt that the text was not always easy to read.  It is sometimes too small, although some articles can be in small print but generally the font size needs to be increased.  However, she enquired what Friends thought.  The general response being agreement but recognition that the new format is much superior to previous reports.

It was suggested that for 2019 there be emphasis on Charles’ upbringing in Bournemouth and the cover should reflect this.

Peter Cox will put together a timetable for the producing the next issue in discussion with fellow editors.  As previous issues, hard copies will be available to all attending CP Day.  The circulation of further hard copies to be made (as the current year) with Friends at the 2019 AGM.  The Trust website will also feature the magazine as previously. 

  1. Date, timing and location of next Friends AGM
    Drawing the meeting to a close the Chairman expressed her thanks to everyone for a stimulating meeting.

She said that subject to agreement with the meeting it was proposed the 2019 AGM be held at The Library of Birmingham of Thursday 16th May 2019 commencing 3.30 until 4.45p.m.  However, Trustees were examining how much time was needed for both AGMs, therefore the starting time will be confirmed after Trustees meet in October.  This was agreed.

There being no other business the Chairman thanked Trustees for their contributions and declared the meeting closed at 4.50p.m.

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