Friends of the Charles Parker Archive: AGM 2008

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the Friends of the Charles Parker Archive held Friday 26th September 2008 at The Central Library, Birmingham.

The meeting commenced at 6.30 p.m.

1. Present:.
Trustees and committee members: Gillian Reynolds (Chairman), Pam Bishop, Tim Blackmore, Sara Parker, Ian Parr; Sian Roberts, Fiona Tait, Robert Whitworth
Friends : Ian Gasse, Jacqueline Contre /, Steve May, Helen Lloyd, Joy Ashworth, Eileen Whiting

2. Apologies:
Trustees and committee members
 : Philip Cox, Cathy Mackerras, Matthew Parker, Dave Rogers
Friends : Marion Oughton, Sean Street, Graham Peet, Colin Shaw, Nin Giddings, Chris Wakefield, Peter Cox, Bob Blair, Louise Kilbride, Paul Mackney, Jack Warshaw, Brian Vaughton, G Nall, Sir Arnold Wesker, Barry Lankester, Sheila Smith

3. Consideration of Annual Report and Accounts for 2007 – 2008

  1. Gillian Reynolds welcomed Friends to the meeting. She said that before dealing with the Annual Report she wanted to tell the meeting that she had decided she could no longer continue as the Trust Chairman. She has been Chairman of the Trust for twenty years and felt it was time for a new Chairman to be elected, although she was content to serve as a Trustee in the future. It would therefore be necessary for Trustees to hold an Extraordinary General Meeting. It had been decided that it should be held in January 2009. The EGM would elect a new Chairman and consider the appointment of additional trustees. Trustees had been urged to give this matter further thought and private discussion between now and the EGM.A vote of thanks to Gillian Reynolds for her Chairmanship and service to the Trust throughout its existence was unanimously agreed. Individual statements of gratitude and appreciation for her efforts on behalf of the Trust and of Friends of the Archive were made by several of those present and were endorsed by all.
  2. The Chairman then reviewed the Report items. She said she thought that the past year, commemorating the 50 th anniversary of “The Ballad of John Axon”, had been a most successful one for the Trust and for those who were involved in celebrating and publicising the work of Charles Parker.She singled out the success of Charles Parker Day, Sara Parker and Sean Street’s Radio 4 programme “Like Blackpool Went Through Rock” and the books by Peter Cox, on the Radio Ballads and Ben Harker’s on Ewan MacColl.She was pleased that Charles Parker Day 2009 would be held at the National Media Museum in Bradford and noted the success of the Charles Parker Prize in helping to raise the profile of the radio feature. She drew attention to Charles Parker Prize-winner Katie Burningham’s first feature programme for the BBC, “City Messengers” and to Tim Blackmore’s item for the Annual Report on the future of radio features.The only disappointment so far was the failure to find funding and a broadcaster for Andrew Johnson’s film on the making of “John Axon”.All those present agreed a vote of thanks to the Chairman for her compilation of the Report.
  3. Various items arising from the report were discussed.3.3.1 The Chairman reported she had met Sean Street to confirm arrangements for Charles Parker Day and the Charles Parker Prize and that the Trust would continue to co-fund the competition. The Chairman went on to say that although Bournemouth University would no longer stage the event we should all thank them for starting it and hosting it on so many occasions. It was hoped that apart from 2009 at Bradford the renewed interest in radio features and in Charles Parker’s work would mean that several universities, which are presently running courses covering radio features, would play a part in future Charles Parker Days.3.3.2 Sian Roberts reported that the on-line catalogue, which would include Connecting Histories, still has further to go and drew attention to her article in the Annual Report. However, considerable use is being made of the Archive and the reorganisation of the Archives Section, which has moved to Floor 6 of the Library, has resulted in improved access. The Travelling Exhibition, also on Floor 6, has a prominent place close to the main stairwell.

4. Minutes of Friends’ Meeting September 2008
The minutes were circulated and approved subject to the following amendment by Helen Lloyd.
Minute 7: Change second paragraph from the end of the first sentence to read:

“Helen Lloyd explained the background to a website project in which she was involved. She was funded by the Wellcome Trust to record an oral history of diabetes, based at the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism and recorded 50 interviews with patients diagnosed with diabetes between 1927 and 1997 and put them on a website,

She believes it to be the only oral history website in the world which allows visitors to listen to all the unedited audio recordings.  It also provides written transcripts and summaries, edited audio extracts, an interactive database and word and phrase searches, to enable researchers to find anything that interests them from hardship before the NHS to the impact of changes in technology.  The fascination of listening to people describe their daily lives has attracted 900,000 hits in 12 months and more are expected once 50 more interviews with family members of patients and with (mostly retired) health workers have been added.

The website won Oxford University’s ‘IT in Teaching & Learning Award’ and was chosen by the Wellcome Trust as a ‘Research Highlight’ – an honour more usually awarded for a scientific breakthrough.”

In the light of this amendment the Secretary said he would endeavour to improve the way the Unconfirmed Minutes of Friends meetings were recorded. 
Action: IM Parr

Note: These minutes seek to discharge this action with a note in the heading referring to the minutes being unconfirmed.

5. Items arising from 2007 Friends meeting

  1. Grey Cock recordings
    The Secretary said that this item and the following one regarding copyright arose from a point made in 2006 requesting making the Grey Cock recordings more available. The following year it was reported that cataloguing of the Grey Cock tapes had been affected by floods which had damaged files.Fiona Tait and Sean Roberts explained that whatever the problems other people may have with their copies, the original tapes had been digitised and copied within the scope of A Future for Ordinary Folk. The catalogue was accessible in the Library and The British Library Sound Archive. As noted in the Annual Report, the best access to the catalogue is via the catalogue in the Library or the “Access to Archives” Organisation website: 
  2. Copyright
    Sean Roberts reported that the copyright issues relating to BBC material remain unresolved. However, the Connecting Histories project is now complete and an on-line catalogue will be available in the next year. See .

6. Travelling Exhibition and future possible developments
The Chairman explained that Trustees had met in May with Graham Peet who designed the present Travelling Exhibition. Various options had been discussed and it was agreed that in the circumstances it was not possible to proceed with development of the Travelling Exhibition or an alternative (e.g. a developed website with the sort of items used in the Travelling Exhibition). Copyright too would remain an issue. Tim Blackmore was of the opinion that the BBC copyright over items held in the Archive might be resolved in time because of the dynamic nature of the world-wide-web. The Trust is grateful to Graham Peet for his help in these considerations and for attending the May meeting.

7. Web Site developments
Pam Bishop reported on the website for the Trust, Supplementing the points in her item in the Annual Report she said she hoped more members and Friends would contribute to the website. It is a success as can be demonstrated by the visits to the site. She produced graphs relating to visits which show a gratifying hit rate and notably increased rate around the time of Charles Parker Day.

8. 2009 meeting
The next meeting of Friends will follow the Trust’s AGM in 2009. The date of this will be fixed following the Extraordinary General Meeting in January.

9. Discussion and any other business

  1. Pam Bishop recalled the death this year of Bob Etheridge. Bob made an important and influential contribution to the Archive both before Charles’ death and since. The Chairman drew attention to Pam’s tribute to Bob on page 6 of the Annual Report.
  2. Gillian Reynolds played tracks from a new CD by Calum MacColl’s record label, RedGrapes, The disc is a compilation by “Broadcaster” from clips from the Radio Ballads and other items cut and merged in various ways with “engineered” musical clips from the same sources. It is called, “Primary Transmission”. The first track, “England”, uses voices and musical clips from “The Ballad of John Axon”.

There being no other business the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 7.30 p.m

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