2012 Committee Reports to the AGM
30 November 2012, Wellcome Collection, London.
Chair’s Report (Mia)
Last AGM we gained many new committee members and that plus an awareness of the 30th anniversary of the creation of the MCG (MCG@30) seemed a good chance to reflect on who we are, which issues matter to our members, and how we work as a group. We had an away day to think strategically about our big vision – what does the MCG do best? Where do we fit into the landscape? We are a volunteer group with lots of ideas and big plans, which means we have to work well as a committee – so we asked what are the best, worst things about how we work? Can we improve our governance model? Is a ‘critical friends’ group a useful way of getting input and having more impact on the sector? How can we better help connect, support and inspire the MCG community? Which projects should we work on, and finally, what do we want the legacy of our time on the committee to be?
Regional Spring Meeting 2013: we’re experimenting with doing something different this year – we’re aware that travel to events can be difficult for our members (see survey below), and that doing two events a year means only visiting two cities a year. We’re going to try a ‘distributed spring meeting’ to be able to reach more people in the regions. The idea is that we’ll have a few events in different regions around the same date. Ideally we’ll run them in partnership with local hosts or other groups to keep the amount of work required reasonable. We’ll also explore formats like debates, panel discussions, Pecha Kucha, or unconferences, and consider half day or evening events. This is a call for local hosts to work in different places – let us know if you’re interested in putting on an event with us next year.
Partnerships: we worked with the Association for Computers and the Humanities (ACH) to offer ticket bursaries and help create closer ties between the museum sector and the digital humanities.
Finally, many thanks to our out-going committee members: John Williams (Secretary), Angus Kneale (Treasurer), David Little, Linda Spurdle and Angelina Russo for their contributions over the years.
Survey (prepared by Linda)
- Popularity of JISCMail list for communication/conversation – 90% of respondents would prefer to get their updates from the JISCMail list and would also prefer to meet or talk with other MCG members via the list too. Twitter was the next preferred option (27%).
- MCG Events: UK Museums on the Web was the most popular event with 74% response followed by regional conferences (e.g. Spring meetings) 71%. There was also an interest in informal meetups (61%) and member organised local events (58%). There was a feeling from some respondents that events could be too London-centric and also that the expense of travelling to an event was a barrier to attending. There were suggestions for more local/regional events and for online conferences/webinairs.
- Professional Development and Training: great interest in the opportunity for more training and several people also mentioned mentoring schemes. Keeping up to date with technology, research and guidelines seemed a particular concern.
- Supporting Members: many people who answered this question about how the MCG could support them in the future wanted the MCG to continue to do what it currently does. Networking and sharing information came out particularly strongly.
- Members supporting other members: 1 in 2 people feel able to offer some support to other members. This included organising local events, offering venues for events and sharing knowledge and skills. The answers to this question seemed to demonstrate an appetite for for local/regional events.
Events (Rhiannon and Gemma)
We’ve run two events in 2012. This one, where we sold out all available 154 places [with a waiting list of 25-30], and an event joint with the Digital Learning Network in Manchester in July where we sold 98 tickets. The Manchester event was entitled ‘Working together to engage digital audiences’ and had a learning theme, intended to bring together museum professionals from both learning/engagement departments and technical departments and encourage them to work together. Working together with another organisation was a new venture for the MCG, and this was also the first time we had tried an ‘unconference’ session format. Feedback from the event was very positive, including comments about the warmth of the unconference, the opportunity to be exposed to new ideas and approaches and the keynotes from Matthew Cock at the British Museum and Nick Winterbotham, Chair of the Group for Education in Museums. There was also a really positive atmosphere throughout the day.
Professional development (Carolyn and Rhiannon)
As we’ve already heard from comms, a key theme that came out of the members survey earlier in the year was a desire for more continuing professional development opportunities through the MCG. We’ve done some thinking about how this might be possible, and the first step that we’ve made is to approach the Museums Association’s AMA programme – an existing museum CPD programme – to see whether we could work more closely with them as an existing programme to provide opportunities for MCG members to gain valuable digital mentoring and experience. Charlotte Holmes from the AMA will be doing a presentation later on the AMA programme, the opportunities that it presents, and the possibility of running a mentoring training session for anyone interested in becoming a mentor. We are also investigating methods of partnering with other skills-sharing workshops. As we are a voluntary committee, it is likely that any CPD work that we can facilitate will be in partnership with other organisations and programmes, but we will continue to investigate these possibilities.
New Committee members
We would like to welcome introduce the new MCG Committee members: Alison Bean (elected as Treasurer at the AGM), Tony Harris, Stuart Mann, Danny Birchall, Mariann Hardey, Irida Ntalla, Andrew Lewis and Michael Guthrie.
Thanks to previous Committee members
We are very grateful for the contributions of our out-going committee members: John Williams (Secretary), Angus Kneale (Treasurer), David Little, Linda Spurdle and Angelina Russo for their contributions over the years. The Committee presented John and Angus with small gifts with warm thanks for their work as Treasurer and Secretary.