The MCG’s goal is to act at many levels of the sector in order to connect, support and inspire our members. We often focus on events, but we’re also working to strengthen connections at more senior levels, with funders and decision makers, and with other museum organisations.
However, this was another challenging year, with committee members very pushed between work and personal commitments to find time for projects outside of our two main events. Moving to Association CIO status (discussed later) is a good prompt to consider how we work – perhaps we should look to involve others in projects and in organising events, without asking them to take on a three year commitment. We know there’s a need for more specialised training and professional development (from responses to the survey we ran after UKMW14, discussions on the MCG list and other feedback), but we are not resourced to deliver it.
All that said, we have made significant steps in creating relationships with other organisations. I met with Tony Harris and Jane Knowles, the chairs of AHFAP, the UK museum photography group, and the UK Registrars Group, to compare notes on running museum groups. We experimented with running a ‘digital surgery’ at the Association of Independent Museums conference, and learnt a lot about the complexities of making decisions about digital projects in small museums. We’ve also been talking to the Army Museums and Arts Council England. If you’d like to help with partnerships, please get in touch.
As you’ll hear, we organised two very successful events last year. Our events usually reach 200-300 people a year, although a lot more through tweets and blog posts; social media accounts reach a couple of thousand. Our events are generally very positively evaluated, and they are valuable in themselves, but with so many events these days, and almost every museum conference at least acknowledging the impact of digital technologies (even if they are still learning how to cope with it), we always have to ask if the benefit is worth the huge amount of work it takes to put on events. I think there is a place for our events, but we need to acknowledge the limited resources we have and plan accordingly. We’d like to partner with people and organisations to run more local events – get in touch!
One of our goals is creating space for new voices. We do that by having a range of presentation formats and including our commitment to encouraging new voices in communications around our calls for papers. We’re doing well at events, but one challenge I’d like to put to everyone this year is to do the same on the discussion list and social media. It’s up to all of us to make it more welcoming, to make sure every new poster gets a response and hopefully an answer to their question. We’ve proactively managed the list behind the scenes but it’s time to ask everyone to help with that work.
Our application for Association CIO status voted on last year is continuing. Thanks to committee members, especially Ivan, for work on it; also to Tony Harris,Wendy Sudbury and Annette Haworth for their comments or encouragement.
Accounts (Treasurer’s report)
The final accounts of the Museums Computer Group as at 31 December 2014 are submitted for the Meeting’s approval.
As per last year, they were produced by Michael Bushell of Lee, Dicketts & Co, Chartered Certified Accountants, Business & Tax Advisers, Kent.
The accounts show a balance of £12,088 at the year-end; up from £9,397 in 2013.
The major outgoings were the two events, MGM14 in Bristol and UK Museums on the Web 2014 conference held at the Natural History Museum, London.
The Income and Expenditure account shows that in 2014 the Museums Computer Group had an income of £18,050, an expenditure of £5,359, and a surplus of £2,691.
The Balance Sheet shows that at the end of 2014 the Museums Computer Group had assets totalling £12,088. This total exceeds what is necessary to cover basic up-front costs for conference events, therefore it is important that this surplus is well-managed and spent for the benefit of the members.
Corporation Tax and Liability
A potential issue with MCG’s liability for corporation tax, and liability of committee members for debts and contractual obligations was identified and brought to the committee’s attention at the 2014 AGM.
Any retrospective liability for corporation tax is small as will only apply to income from non-members, sponsors and bank account interest.
At the 2014 AGM it was agreed that the committee would investigate converting to a CIO (Charitable incorporated organisation), and complete the necessary paperwork for such an application.
This paperwork is now ready in the form of an extended constitution description and is presented at the 2015 AGM.
[Report by Ivan Teage, UK MCG Treasurer 2015]
Membership (Secretary’s report)
90 new individual members have registered in the past 12 months, and 2 new corporate members. This brings individual membership to 292 and corporate members to 10.
MCG events remain a key way to attract new members: 11 new members joined when buying their ticket for the Spring Event in Cambridge, and 23 new members joined for UKMW14. However, almost two thirds of new members joined outside of these periods, showing that it is not just events that attract people to join.
These new members come from across over 64 organisations, including 4 organisations outside of the UK. Those represented include:
- 27 museums, heritage, galleries and libraries
- 16 universities
- 15 trusts, councils, consultants and representative organisations
- 8 businesses
- 2 archives
Job titles are more varied than in previous years, with only 9 job titles containing the word ‘digital’ (32 in 2014) compared to 6 with the word ‘collections’ in (7 in 2014). The below Wordle demonstrates how digital is no longer the predominant key word in MCG members’ job titles.
This might show a shift to digital being introduced more widely into other roles. Also clear is the range of professional levels being represented within our membership.
[Report by Katherine Biggs, UK MCG Secretary 2015]
UKMW14 : Museums Beyond the Web took place on November 7 at the Natural History Museum, and sold-out with 218 people attending. Blogs, tweets and photographs from the event are archived on the MCG website: http://museumscomputergroup.org.uk/2015/08/31/ukmw14-round/
We ran our spring event, ‘Innovation’: the Emperor’s new clothes? on 14 May at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research in Cambridge. 45 people attended including 23 MCG members.
Blogs, tweets and photographs from the event can be found on the MCG website: http://museumscomputergroup.org.uk/2015/05/14/mcginnovation-as-it-happened/
Communications and Website
- Website stats
- For museumscomputergroup.org.uk (for the period 1 October 2014 – 30 September 2015)
- Page views: 24,541
- Total sessions : 13,936 (of which 67% are UK – probably what would be expected)
- By city, London is top location, but only about a third (33.9%). The remaining two thirds are a long tail of other UK locations, which seems healthy
- Mobile traffic at 12.7% for all users and 14.3% for new users. Most of rest is desktop
- Main sources of traffic are:
- Google (34%)
- Direct (29.7%) – this is likely to include a lot of “dark social” that is, shared links behind private/secure communications
- Twitter (12%) – Twitter remains a healthy comms tool for MCG
2. Email list
MCG@jiscmail.ac.uk has 1510 Subscribers (14 October 2015 – This remains a healthy place for discussion and collaboration. In the period 1 October 2014 – 30 September 2015, there were:
- 1052 posts
- 308 people subscribed
- 114 signed off the list
@ukmcg has nearly 3,000 followers (14 October 2015) – a very good channel for distribution
Minutes from 2015 AGM – Monday 26th October 2015 (The British Museum, Great Russell St, London, WC1 3DG, UK)
Mia welcomed everyone, and thanked them for attending the AGM.
Apologies for absence
Johanna, Michael, Danny, Mariann
Natural History Museum on 7th November 2014
Mia proposed they be accepted and Dafydd accepted
Chair – Mia Ridge
Accounts – Ivan Teage (Treasurer)
Membership – Katherine Biggs (Secretary)
All reports available above.
Mia talked about the challenges with less resources and working more flexibly as a committee: hopefully CIO status will change this and alleviate the weight on committees. We want to create more partnerships to improve the training within the sector. We are talking to new people and Mia asked for others to come and support this. New presentation formats, encouraging new voices; improving in terms of accepting new people, but can we change the tone of the list. Still changes to be made, improvements to be brought in. Any ideas would be great! Thanked those involved in CIO status.
Ivan went through report from 2014/5. Took us through the accounts statement.
Kath went through membership and events reports.
Andrew went through comms and web report: Twitter remains strongest comms route
- Agreed last AGM to go ahead and become a charitable incorporated organisation (more formal structure structure but retains the power of the members).
- Paperwork ready to go
- Committee members will become trustees and must follow the six trustee duties
- Ivan to approach each committee member individually and ask if they are happy to proceed
- Ivan can share full application if wanted
The following committee members stood for re-election following the completion of their first term:
There were two nominations for ordinary committee members, who were both welcomed to the committee:
Mia thanked the committee and said goodbye to Danny Birchall, who is standing down after his first term.
MCG Committee 2015
Mia Ridge (2014 -2017)
|Ordinary and Seconded Members
Dafydd James: to 2017
Andrew Lewis: to 2018
Mariann Hardey: to 2018
Michael Guthrie: to 2018
Johanna Perez Strand: to 2016
Sarah Middle: to 2018
Brian Moss: to 2018
Rebecca Atkinson: to 2017
Martin Bazley: to 2017
Ina Pruegel: to 2017
Jess Suess: to 2017
Jennifer Ross: to 2017
Rosie Clarke: to 2017
Ivan Teage (2014 – 2017)
Katherine Biggs (2014 – 2017)
There was no additional business and the meeting was closed with thanks to attendees for their participation.