Europa Nostra UK – Report of the AGM 2021
The Europa Nostra UK AGM was once again held online as a response to public health advice about COVID safety. While we were disappointed not to be able to spend time with friends old and new, the positive aspect of this virtual approach is that it allows members from across the UK to join in, making the event more inclusive and accessible. We were therefore pleased to welcome members from their home locations in all corners of the country.
Unusually, there was not much formal business to transact, as there were no elections this year as no trustees had reached the end of their terms. However, Jenna Johnston, who was elected last year, had notified the Committee of her wish to stand down early. This leaves a gap in the cohort of 10 elected trustees, but Sara Crofts (trustee and chair) informed the AGM that she had proposed to the Committee that Grace Connelly should be appointed as a co-opted trustee for the year. This was unanimously agreed by the trustees and is an excellent result, especially as Grace has given up her employed post as EN Support Officer (facilitated through the SPAB), in order to return to study. We hope to be able to secure a new EN Support Officer in due course, with support from a generous benefactor but in the meantime the Committee expressed their huge gratitude to Grace for the enormous amount of work she has done for ENUK and for the successful outcomes of her projects.
The first and most important task was to give thanks to all our ENUK members for their ongoing support over the last year. Sara Crofts also offered a particular thanks to the ENUK trustees, who have worked exceptionally well together this year as the Committee continued its mission to work out our role in the (post Brexit) heritage world and how best to use our skills and resources in support of Europa Nostra.
The key piece of work that the Committee has undertaken over the last 12 months has been to consider and formulate a Strategy. After some thoughtful discussions the Committee concluded that ENUK’s Strategy should focus on 3 priorities:
A. Members / membership – newsletter, events, young members initiative
B. Europa Nostra awards (including the 7ME initiative) – supporting applications and celebrating the winners
C. Engagement – webinars, ENUK website, social media activity and events
We are pleased to report that membership is stable across most of the categories, with 66 individual members and 29 organisational members. However, the real success story is our young members; numbers have grown from 34 at the end of 2020 to 58 at the end of September 2021. This, of course, begs a question of how to maintain their engagement as our younger members progress in their careers. With this in mind, Jamie Davies (trustee) and Grace Connelly (EN Support Officer) developed a programme of activity. A summary of the work that they have been doing over the last 12 months is available on the ENUK website and Jamie reiterated his recent appeal for funding to support the continuation of their work at the AGM.
Short Newsletters continue to be published on an ad hoc basis by Sara Crofts, who confessed that this had been somewhat erratic lately, as finding time to write them had to wait for an infrequent lull in her day job. She was conscious that the ENUK communications lacked consistency but was pleased to note that things are likely to improve enormously as Lucy Hockley (trustee) has recently taken over this task.
As with many other organisations we haven’t attempted to hold any events in the last year due to the public health concerns. However, with COVID safety measures being relaxed this is something that the Committee will begin to think about again.
B. Europa Nostra awards and the 7ME programme
Grace Connelly, EN Support Officer, supported the EN awards team to promote the awards scheme to potential applicants in the UK in the 2021 round. This resulted in 6 applications, a healthy number, from which we were pleased to celebrate the success of 2 winners, both in the “Education Training and Awareness-Raising” category. Our warmest congratulations go to:
We will be showcasing both projects through our webinar series in the coming months.
Peter Ovenstone (trustee) also spoke about the work that he has undertaken to support our colleagues in The Hague with the 7 Most Endangered programme. The 2021 closing date for 7ME passed in September, and with some energetic promotion by trustee Peter Overnstone we hope that this will have resulted in several nominations from the UK. Peter stressed that it is important that potential candidates fully understand the published eligibility criteria before applying, as it is a very competitive programme.
Our primary engagement tool is the excellent webinar series, which has been ably co-ordinated by Joanna Karmowska (trustee). The aim of the series is to support the EN Awards and to showcase award winners. Joanna gave a summary of the three recent lectures:
· SASMAP: Tools and techniques for preserving underwater archaeology, 27 January 2021
· Industrial Heritage in Europe, 17 March 2021
· Traces of British Industrial Entrepreneurs in the late Ottoman Empire, 14 April 2021
Registration numbers for the webinars range from 70 to 160, and they have been very well attended, with positive feedback from many participants.
Our flagship event should have been the evening at Europe House in mid-September, masterminded by Kate Pugh (trustee and secretary). However, we concluded – with thanks to the members who shared their thoughts – that this might turn into a damp squib, as many people were still wary of travel when we asked for views in the summer. However, a phoenix will certainly rise from the ashes because Kate has since come up with an even better theme, and so we will replan this as an in-person event for a date sometime in the new year.
We are also gradually expanding our ENUK website. Grace Connelly, in her capacity as EN Support Officer has diligently written up and posted summaries of our various events and other snippets of news. We also continue to maintain a presence on Twitter but are not yet active enough to make a huge success of this.
As always suggestions for activities and/or visits are very welcome. The Committee remains delighted to hear from members at any time.