Over the last day or two there has been some robust discussion via email on a number of issues at BECC. This is all good stuff and, much of it, I had already proposed as items to discuss at the AGM. Let me expand a little on and discuss some of these points now.
I am keen that if there are additional responsibilities resulting from changes that we get greater involvement from club members to help support changes and additional planning etc and spread the responsibilities further. There are clear new roles and responsibilities discussed here - there is no reason however that anyone wishing to do so could not undertake more than one role. This all part of developing a bigger and better BECC. If we are to develop the club we need to propose and manage change and get greater involvement from club members to help this happen rather than ask existing officials to take on more and more responsibilities.
Having said that, I wish to develop the club without loosing the current feel of the club and its meetings.
These are my thoughts, opinions and ideas. Any proposals, mine or from others recently expressed are subject to agreement by club members at the AGM.
I hope that expressing these views, opinions and suggestions over the next few weeks that we think about issues/suggestions/proposals and can cover as many of the issues as possible at the AGM. I suspect that we may not - there's lots to get through. I'll arrange the agenda such that key issues get covered first and other issues referred to or devolved to the club committee for action.
I'm sure there will be other items for discussion at the AGM too in addition to these.
1. Judges - I, like many that have expressed an opinion, would like to see Judges more widely used, especially for the Annual Competition (excepting possibly Round 1 where the number of entries is frequently too great to have an external judge properly and fairly view and mark/award results). I think we should pursue external judges for the remaining rounds of this competition.
Last year it was decided that we not use external judges this current season. On reflection, and following recent comments, it seems that this was possibly to the detriment of the club.
2. Using different Judges - Presuming we use external judges, then I suggest that we also need to investigate using a wider choice of judges. However, this is likely to increase the costs. I will endeavour to have a look at potential costs prior to the AGM. It has already been suggested that we increase competition entry as necessary. I don't think we need to consider this until we have investigated the likely costs.
Should we set a budget for judging?
What would current club funds and revenues support without any further funding arrangements?
3. Arranging judges - Cath has for a number of years helped enormously arranging judges and I am very grateful to her for that. It has been incredibly useful for us to do that. However, if we are to step up our use of judges, I feel we need someone to make the necessary arrangements, contact judges etc email directions. It is more likely to happen if we spread the responsibilities among club members.
Arranging judges I suspect is a little harder than you might imagine - Its not something we have been used to doing beyond the small community that we have used. It is likely that judges will travel considerable distances too. Directions and other details need to be sent and arrangements confirmed sometime in the one to two weeks prior to the event. A new role might be appropriate to do this - a volunteer (or even voted if more than one) to perform this role. Considering the increased work involved, I would leave it down to Cath if she wished to continue to perform this extended and more demanding role.
However, it may not be easy or possible to get arrangements for early rounds of next years diary this may be something that needs to be developed over a longer time frame. Please do not expect judges to be in place for every competition next year. It simply may not be possible, but, we will try if thats what the club members agree.
4. Critique - There has been considerable discussion regarding getting critical feedback. If we use external judges, you will get that. Comments may however be coloured by the judges own preferences etc, so, you have to consider if you accept and take on board those comments. Judges frequently only have a few seconds to view and assess images before passing comment. Judges comments will however be without fear or favour. They do not know the author. This gives them an advantage over us club members if we give comments and critical feedback.
None if us wish to upset any other club members because of what we say about their images.
Most of us are big enough and ugly enough to accept such critical feedback in the open club forum. However, it is possible that we are not all able to do so. We do have a friendly club and we welcome newcomers with open arms so to speak. I aim to keep it that way.
It isn't always appropriate for us to pass comments in a public forum on the work of the newer members. I would't want anyone to feel in anyway uncomfortable if we passed comments honestly and openly in a public way, especially when the individual can be identified. That could destroy confidence - exactly the opposite of what I would like.
I know many newcomers welcome the openness that we offer and also appreciate the help and guidance that we provide, both as individuals and as a group. I try to ensure that much of what we do is inclusive of the newer members. That is important and it is great to see new members develop their skills both quickly and extensively, but, more importantly, that they enjoy the journey.
In some instances, that critical feedback can still be made but possibly in a less public and potentially abrasive way. We do critique evenings which help, but, maybe there are other ways too. An even more personal approach may be more appropriate.
How about a new separate meeting once month (or some other period) in a more social environment - e.g. a Pub and have a drink, sit around and discuss things on a more one-to-one or small group basis. Even if people bring along their competition entries, it would I feel be easier and receive more critical and helpful feedback and in a more relaxed way that squeezed in at the end of a competition evening. This could be on one of the two free Tuesdays each month, possibly every couple of months etc, so, it is kind of planned, but outside the normal club meetings. These could still be diaried in the programme.
However, we could still of course discuss post competitions for those images that people freely submit to criticism - given time to do so. Does this cover the desire for critique for all members?
This leads us on to…..
5. Start times - OK, to give us greater opportunity to discuss things, we could start meetings earlier for some or all meetings. I do have some concerns here too.
Firstly, the official start time of meetings is 7:45. People start to gather from 7pm onwards that this facilitates setting up the room, etc. On competition evenings, it also allows entries to be registered prior to the official start.
However, I and several other club members travel significant distances, either home from work or to the club. Making the start time earlier may make it difficult for some to get there in time.
Personally, while I can frequently arrange my day so that I am able to get to the club around 7pm to help set up etc, I cannot guarantee I can do that. Occasionally, this awful thing called work intervenes and prevents me from getting there early. I simply won't know unit the day if that might happen - I can;plan for it. Moving the start time substantially earlier, could, on occasion, make it difficult for me to get home and do the necessary domestic things before getting out to club meetings.
We could move the start time for just selected meetings (e.g. Competition evenings) earlier to give us greater time in the meeting where time pressures are greatest.
The room is actually available from 6pm, so that, in the case of earlier starts, volunteers could do the necessary arranging and set up. We might need other volunteers.
7:30pm is the earliest I would suggest that we move the start time to if we considered a change for all meetings.
Earlier than that may make it difficult for some existing members so, we might risk loosing them. We need to take views from those who may be impacted by earlier start times for all meetings or even for selected meetings throughout the club year.
6. Entries to Competitions - The role of Competition Secretary is a challenging one and quite time consuming stressful, especially on competition evenings. We have for a number of years asked for pre-registration of images, both prints and DPIs. This has been successful, but only to a degree.
We could make more time available in competitions, for both externally judged and internally judged, by having a close of entries at the previous club meeting.
If arranged appropriately, individuals would be responsible for entering their work on entry sheets etc and leaving their entries at the prior meeting. DPIs need some thought however. To facilitate such a change, I suggest that the club would purchase at least two possibly three print boxes similar to those that Karl already uses. This would take some of the stress out of meeting for Graham (or whoever is comp. secy.) and give us more time on competition evenings and hence more time for comments/critique.
7. DPI - At the AGM I will propose that the existing rules on processing of DP Is now anachronistic and should be dropped entirely. The original purpose of this was to provide some parallels to slides. However, slides are now so rarely presented, I think should only consider DPI as a medium and allow any processing techniques to create a more challenging class.
I believe that this would be beneficial to those who are unable to print or who struggle to get this medium perfected.
8. Projector - We have been fortunate that, following a lottery grant a number of years ago, that we have had a decent projector. However, this is now beginning to show its age, both in terms of image quality but also, it has now somewhat impaired due to a pink spot that is projected onto the screen. This is somewhat distracting. The quality we know is lower than we would prefer in order to do justice to DPIs.
We could have this fault investigated and possibly repaired and also the projector should be calibrated and profiled.
Alternatively, we could investigate a newer projector that has greater resolution. This could be as much as 50% or more better than what we have now. I suggest that, considering available funds, we investigate benefits of and cost a replacement. We could also look at other funding opportunities.
What spend limit would the club members authorise, if any, regarding a replacement of the projector?
9. The club laptop is frequently used for DPIs. It does not have a proper slideshow package that allows controlled display of DPIs and that ensures that colourspace and profiles are obeyed. I suggest that we investigate options and costs of providing a better tool set for the Windows laptop. Any volunteers to look at this?
10. Diary Secretary - I am conscious that the new season diary gets arranged close to the end of the previous one. Too late for this year, but I propose that we have a specific diary secretary with responsibility of creating and planning a longer term diary, making arrangements etc. arranging speakers etc. This role would of course be supported by the chair and the rest of the committee and indeed, anyone else wishing to help. I do believe that a specific role will improve our diary over coming seasons.
Also, this role would need to work in conjunction with the judge arrangements mentioned in 3 above.
11. Club management - If there are greater management responsibilities and planning needed, we may also need to have more specific committee meetings. These have been somewhat organic and ad-hoc or done within existing meetings. I think specific meetings would be needed to ensure that we expand the club in a managed way.
So, anyone getting involved in one of the current or new roles would need to be willing to engage outside of club meetings. Quarterly I guess should be sufficient and wouldn't be onerous.
I hope these cover many things that would help the club and its members develop. You may have different opinions or wish to see other things. Please let me know and please air and socialise your thoughts and ideas with other club members. It probably better to do that now rather than wait until the AGM.