At the Annual General Meeting on 24th May, our President, John Bradshaw, led a discussion on issues relating mostly to our Club Class Members. Mike Hancock, as Vice Chair, (and now incoming Chair) had ably led this work for us, and the conclusions presented last night had been considered and agreed by John; Ann McDonald, as Vice President; Lorna Brown, Chair; Peter Rocchiccioli, Chair of Selection Committee and Mike, and subsequently by both the Management and Selection Committees.
As John summarised, a meeting held with all Club Class Members in April 2018 had looked at why there were relatively low number of entries by Club Class Members into Club competitions; issues of support available to them and matters of grading and promotion, both internally or the new Members. This followed a very full response by those Members who had been invited to comment by email.
While there were many positives arising out of the responses and the meeting, it became clear that there were issues relating to lack of confidence, lack of technical knowledge, a desire for more specific support for new photographers and a perception of a log jam in Club Class, as well as issues relating to initial classifications on joining the Club.
To address these matters, is was agreed that: –
- A Developer’s sub group will be set up specifically for Club Class Members, developed and delivered by those Members themselves, and co-ordinated by Mike Hancock. This group will only be open to Club Class Members.
- Training material on the Club website will be reviewed and developed to encourage Members to do more self-help with presenting and manipulating their images.
- That in competitions for Club Class Members only, names will be announced only for those images held back by the judge.
- That all new and existing members with evidence of photographic qualifications at the following levels or above: LRPS, CPAGB, AFIAP or a Degree in Photography will be placed into the Intermediate or Advanced Class, as determined by the Selection Committee.
- That promotion from Club Class to Intermediate will be made easier with the Selection Committee looking favourably on those in Club Class submitting work to competitions regularly, so that more of those Members are promoted each year.
- It was also noted that for those dissatisfied with their grading as an outcome of their competition entries in any programme year, there is a formal appeal procedure set out on the Website.
- The criteria for promotion from Intermediate class to Advanced will remain as at present, that is only through assessment of work by the Selection Committee either in the initial classification on entering the Club or through performance in internal and external competitions and exhibitions.
The particular matter for discussion at the AGM was to consider the position for those Members who have been in Club Class for some time already and any newer Members joining the Club who do not achieve promotion for some time. There was a very supportive debate, with a number of questions raised and it was agreed that:
Existing members who have been in Club Class for 3 years or more and who wish to progress to the Intermediate Class will have the option of self-referral to Intermediate providing they have entered the main Club competitions during the previous year, irrespective of the marks obtained.
New Members placed in Club Class who have not been promoted after three years may also self refer to Intermediate, as long as they have taken part in competitions during those three years, irrespective of the marks obtained.
While the expectation is that this means entering ALL competitions for the specified period – along with an encouragement to take part in the Spring Exhibition – the Selection Committee will consider mitigating factors if Members are unable to enter every competition. Please also note that this does not means taking part in competitions is obligatory – from Club Class Members’ responses it was clear that some are very happy watching others progress but have no desire to do so themselves, and that will not change.
I would like to thank everyone for their positive response to this, and especially Mike Hancock for the work he undertook and the Selection Committee members for their sympathetic consideration of these issues.
Lorna Brown, Chair