Friends of the Charles Parker Archive: AGM 2009

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the Friends of the Charles Parker Archive held Tuesday 29th September 2009 at The Central Library, Birmingham.

The meeting commenced at 6.00 p.m.

1. Present:.
Trustees and Committee members: Tim Blackmore (Chairman), Pam Bishop, Helen Lloyd, Sara Parker, Ian Parr; Gillian Reynolds, Sian Roberts, Robert Whitworth
Friends : Joy Ashworth, Maureen Davis, Steve May

2. Apologies:
Trustees and Committee members: Philip Cox, Cathy Mackerras, Matthew Parker, Dave Rogers, Fiona Tait
Friends : Ian Gasse, Barry Lankester, Doc Rowe,

3. Welcome: Tim Blackmore, Chairman of Trustees
Tim Blackmore welcomed Friends to the meeting. He said that before dealing with the Annual Report he thought he should introduce himself and pay tribute to Gillian Reynolds who had chaired the Trust for twenty years guiding it from very difficult times to the present. The present he said, was a time of quite different challenges and some of those would be reflected in the meeting today. The enormous benefits brought about by the digitisation of the Archive and the continuing work of the Library required the Trust to be more committed to its objectives of Dissemination, Education and furtherance of use of the Archive.

The Trustees had held a meeting in January and with his election as Chairman Trustees had also agreed to revise their number and representation. This resulted in the nomination as Trustee of Helen Lloyd, who has been a stalwart Friend and supporter of the Trust for many years. Sara Parker, too has been elected as a Trustee and Dave Rogers had agreed to step down. The Chairman said he recognised the support Dave Rogers had given to the Trust and in speaking to him had been reassured that his support would continue.

4. Approval of Minutes of Friends Annual Meeting held 26th September 2008
The minutes were approved.

5. Matters arising from the Minutes
There were no matters arising.

6. Consideration of Annual Report and Accounts for 2008 – 2009
The Chairman reviewed the Annual Report. He said he thought that the financial position of the Trust was adequate for present needs. However, as would be explained later, development of the Archive was necessary and this may place more demands upon our finances. For the time being the only major expenditure was in our commitment to the Charles Parker Prize.

The Annual Report this year had been re-organised with Sara Parker undertaking its production. The timing too had been changed in order to provide Friends and Supporters with a copy of the Report before they arrived at the meeting. Indeed it had been posted to all Friends in July. It would be posted on the Trust website following this meeting. Trustees are not sure if this is a successful arrangement and are looking for comments from all with associations to the Trust. The response by Friends renewing their subscriptions this year has been less than in the past and Trustees are unsure if there is a link between the timing and the less than usual response to subscriptions.

The 2008/9 Annual Report contains a wide range of topics. The Chairman drew attention to the article by Katie Burningham on life after the Charles Parker Prize and that by John Leonard on the Ballad of the Miners’ Strike. This new Radio Ballad would be broadcast by the BBC in March 2010 to coincide with the final march of the Strike.

The Chairman said he was pleased to report that Charles Parker Day in 2010 would be held on Friday 9 th April. That is the week after Good Friday. He had been in contact with Andy Cartwright from University of Sunderland who will be organising the event. He confirmed that the BBC, through Simon Elmes, had agreed to support the Charles Parker Prize and that it would be organised by Andy Cartwright. The Trust had agreed to partially fund the Prize.

7. Dissemination, Education and Use of the Archive
Tim Blackmore explained that it had been agreed at the Trustees meeting in May that development of the Trust’s objectives, as he had already indicated, was in relation to Dissemination, Education and Use (DEU) of the Archive. Today at the Trust AGM activities in this area had been reviewed and one outcome was that it was thought necessary to re-create the Travelling Exhibition in some way. That might be on our existing or a new website or hosted elsewhere. Also in the next few months the Trustees will develop a contemporary look at feature making and Charles Parker’s legacy.

The Chairman described the iTunesU website which had been presented to the Trustees.

The Library has been in discussion with Apple about how items or “artefacts” currently part of or developed from material held in the Archives or which formed part of the Library’s on-going services to the community could be held in a manner similar to the conventional iTunes website service and accessed free on-line. Already a number of significant organisations were involved and the Library was hoping to be among the first such UK institutions. The website demonstration is accessed via

As with the changes made to the Annual Report, the Chairman said it was important Friends and Supporters let Trustees know what they wanted to see and supplied their own thoughts on the future direction of the Trust. The January meeting of Trustees will be looking much more closely at how we progress and he welcomed any comments. 
All Friends and Supporters please email thoughts and opinions to the Secretary, Ian M Parr

8. Web site developments
Pam Bishop explained the development and the current content of the Trust website She went on to give a demonstration of its navigation and the topics covered.

Following this item Sian Roberts gave a similar explanation and demonstration of the Library website for Connecting Histories This web site contains references to the material digitised in the second project which transferred all the Charles Parker tape recordings into digital form. The first project, A Future for Ordinary Folk, had been extensively publicised amongst Friends in the past. It was expected that the on-line catalogue listing all items covered by both projects as well as references to all documents in the Charles Parker Archive will be available on-line in the next few months.

The Chairman thanked Pam and Sian for their presentations. It was agreed they added substantially to an understanding of what material is available on-line from the Archive.

9. 2010 Meeting
The next meeting of Friends will follow the Trust’s AGM in 2010. The date of this is Friday 24th September at the Library. The Friends meeting had been agreed by the Trustees as 6.00 p.m. However, following discussion it was agreed to bring this back to 6.30 p.m. to better accommodate those working. The Secretary to ensure this is reflected in all relevant documents and activities. Action: IMP

10. Discussion and any other business
The Chairman thanked everyone for their contributions. He said he remained concerned about attendance and involvement in the work of the Trust. Considerable discussion followed. In particular it was pointed out that the most arresting Annual Meetings were those where there was a significant event attached to it. It was thought that the presentations by Pam Bishop and Sian Roberts could have constituted such an item and that further presentations should be arranged in the future. It was agreed:

  • To consider a questionnaire to Friends and Supporters asking what they needed from the Trust and the Archive and for their views on future developments
  • For the next AGM everyone (Friends and Trustees) to choose from the Archive their favourite one minute extract and to explain their choice. Sian Roberts should be advised of the selections and would arrange for the appropriate clips to be available. Action: All prior to 2010 AGM

The Secretary to ensure adequate publicity and agenda item and Sian Roberts to obtain selected clips. Action: Secretary, Sian Roberts

The Chairman declared that this was a suitably forward thinking proposal and thanked everyone for their attendance. He formally closed the meeting at 7.40 p.m.

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