What has Council been up to lately?

AIA Council Meetings 6/7 October, 2017

A discussion meeting on the 6th was concerned with The future direction of the AIA. Council examined what we do (and what we don’t do) who we do it for and why we do it. We also looked at what had changed since we were established, and whether our aims are likely to attract a younger membership. Council considered the question: If the AIA ceased to exist, what impact its loss would have on wider society? The meeting was remarkably consistent in its replies, namely that society would lose our role as advocates for industrial archaeology and our knowledge base. A mission statement resulted from the discussions, and we should consider how best to develop it:

We use and develop our knowledge and expertise in the most accessible ways possible to advocate the value of industrial heritage/archaeology and help others (i.e. the public) to do so.

The Council meeting proper took place on 7th October. In summary:

It was Mike Nevell’s first meeting as chairman and he reported that three members of Council – Marilyn Palmer, Mike Nevell and Ian Miller – plus Sir Neil Cossons and Keith Falconer would be giving evidence at the All Party Parliamentary Group – Industrial Heritage (APPG-IH) on 11th and 12th October. Mike reported that he had chaired the 37th North West Regional conference held at the Lion Salt Works on the 23rd September.

Treasurer John Jones reported that at the end of September we had a surplus of £1,779 on our operating funds, this was despite a small loss of £1,258 on the annual conference. It was agreed that a new account was to be set up with the Charities Aid Foundation which would permit us to sign cheques electronically thus preparing us for possible future difficulties with traditional cheques.

Restoration Grants. It was noted that we have now awarded around half a million pounds. It was agreed that there was scope to increase awareness through AIA-generated publicity and Marilyn Palmer agreed to do a brief piece for Heritage Update linking with a press notice. Mark Sissons was thanked by Council for all his hard work on administering the Awards.

Secretary David de Haan noted that Council needed to identify a Vice Chairman to handle meetings if the Chairman was not available, also that the Association was lacking both a Publicity Officer and an Affiliated Societies Officer, both key roles. Immediate past Chairman, Keith Falconer expressed his willingness to stay on the Restoration Group panel and the Creative Re-use Award panel.

Bruce Hedge had circulated a report showing that at the end of September AIA membership had recovered from last year, and now stood at 506.

John McGuinness, Conference Secretary, noted that the Moulton conference had been a great success and thanked Marilyn Palmer and local organiser David Ingham for their hard work. John reported on the arrangements so far for the Caithness conference 22nd to 27th June 2018. Full details and booking forms will appear in the Spring edition of IA News.

Caithness will not incorporate the AGM, but will include the Rolt lecture, this to be given by Geoffrey Stell. The 2018 AGM will be held in Nottingham during an event from 31st August to 2nd September. Full details will be found in IA News and on the website.

An AIA Practical Weekend has been organised by Marilyn Palmer at Magpie Mine, Derbyshire, for 7th to 8th April 2018. Booking in due course will be via Eventbrite

At a date to be arranged in October 2018 (probably 12th October), there will be a Creative re-use seminar as part of the AIA’s contribution to the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage.

Amber Patrick, Planning Casework Officer, reported on the problems experienced with the CBA database from which data is gleaned on industrial sites. This had resulted on our not commenting on a case in Hull. In the period June to September there were four cases on which comment has been necessary. That significantly understates the amount of casework examined.

The four commented on in the period June to September were: Croft End Mill, Edenfield; Hollins Mill, Todmorden; Greenwich Peninsula Gas Holder, and Darley Mill, Nidderdale. Interestingly, only one of the above was actually generated via the CBA database, which should be our main source of notifications. A new database has only been fully functioning for two weeks, so it is too early to gauge its success. Council thanked Amber for the hard work she has put in.

Publication Editor’s Report. A revised contract with Taylor & Francis, publishers of Industrial Archaeology Review, had been circulated. The new contract, the terms of which were agreed at the meeting, should result in savings to the Association. Among other significant changes it will include the printing and distribution of IA News.

The question of alerting archaeology contracting groups to the potential for publishing in IA Review was discussed. It was commented that there was usually an allowance in a contract for publishing.

Bill Barksfield, Field Visit Organiser, announced Heritage of Industry’s Spring Tour to Saxony, 14th to 20th May, for which 32 people have registered an interest so far. Visit www.heritageofindustry.co.uk to register your interest which will ensure your place in the queue when booking opens.

A revised Heads of Agreement with Heritage of Industry was discussed and approved for signature.

There were four successful ‘Country House Comfort & Convenience’ tours last year, and two more planned for 2018, the North West (a repeat) and East Yorkshire (new).

Bill Barksfield, Webmaster, produced statistics showing that we receive between 80 and 100 hits per day. “Characteristics and Forms of Road Transport” is still receiving a lot of interest so a link to IA News Issue 142 (2007) has been set up.

Kate Dickson, E-FAITH liaison officer, reported that new statutes have been signed for E-FAITH so that the organisation is now incorporated as an Association giving limited liability to trustees and directors. Individual members from the UK can join as associate members. An EU website is being finalized that will allow smart phone users the ability to connect to five pages of information when visiting certain museums and heritage sites (translated into a number of European languages as appropriate) and placement on an EU-wide map. See https://www.industriana.mobi/indu1005.

2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage. The Industrial Heritage monthly themes, agreed by the E-FAITH board, were listed and our Practical Weekend in April on mining fits the theme well, as does the October meeting on Creative Re-Use. The E-FAITH website is: //www.industrialheritage.eu/node.

Shane Kelleher, Industrial Heritage Support Officer, reported on his activities since the June Council meeting, which included information ‘clearing house’ provision; information, advice and/or support has been provided to a number of sites/organisations during this period. The IHSO has also been undertaking a ‘mapping and gapping’ exercise into the reach of the clearing house facility since the beginning of the project. Training Delivery was carried out at five locations on five different themes.

Development, Networks and Partnerships: Work continues on the North West Stationary Steam Engines Training Programme bid, and with organisations from the North East to develop a formal industrial heritage support network in the region. Advocacy work continued with Historic England, and Association of Independent Museums, finally, the IHSO project co-hosted (with ABTEM) the Industrial Heritage Networking Lunch at the AIM Annual Conference at Chatham Dockyard on 17th June.

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