Apologies: Chris Burgess*, Jamie Davies*, Richard Forster*, Martin Hutchinson, Peter Jackson, Clifford Jones*, Alistair Lovie, Andrew G Marshall, Josie McChrystal, Frank Robinson*, Peter Robinson, Terry Shaw, Cameron Straughan *CBA North Committee (as the start of the meeting) starred in the above lists. Chris Jones as Deputy Chair welcome everyone to the AGM. He noted standing in for our CBA North Chair Richard Forster who was indisposed at the moment, house-keeping arrangements in the event of a fire and also the business of the AGM before the two update talks of the Border Archaeological Society and Coquetdale Community Archaeology. The opportunity for CBA North’s membership to give their thoughts, comments and opinions was noted as part of the business. With that done the business was started in conjunction with a series of PowerPoint slides. The apologies for absence as above were read out.
1) To receive and consider the final accounts for the year ended 31st March 2015
Bill Pickering had prepared two summary slides of the financial position of CBA North. He noted that CBA North had a modest income gained through the year and the final balance – a little under £750 – of CBA North. Bill reported he had prepared more detailed accounts, fully detailing income and expenditure, for any questions. There were no questions on the accounts. These accounts were proposed for adoption by Bill Pickering; they were seconded by Polly Bird, Myra Giesen and Jenny Morrison, and therefore adopted.
2) To receive and consider the annual report for the year ended 31st March 2015
Chris Jones read a report prepared by Richard Forster detailing the CBA North year from April 2014 to this AGM. This gave a review of the group’s activities over the past year and hinted at our future aspirations. Committee was reported as having met at various dates throughout the year, though at times turnout had been somewhat disappointing, in Newcastle at the Great North Museum who we offered our thanks to. There was some turnover in Committee with a number of resignations as David Astbury, Gary Bankhead, Johanna van Balen, Ollie Dempsey and Lauren Proctor through the course of the year; the work of Tim Martin, who was standing down with this meeting, was especially for his contributions to Committee since 2008. The Committee bias was noted as towards the north-east; Cumbria remained a gap of Committee cover, but a previous gap – in student representatives – was being addressed in seeking of suitable students, role details and adverts prepared. For student representatives Committee recently agreed reasonable travel expenses could be paid. A series of role descriptions have been prepared for committee members, as well as pointers for ordinary committee members. Chris thanked the committee observers for their contributions, as new features, to our meetings. Chris outlined the needs for membership to help in providing information to Committee, as well as their fellow members more generally, which we can circulate very widely, quickly and cheaply through our MailChimp emails and other social media presences. The advantages of circulating this information electronically were noted, though the imbalance to north-east coverage of events was also stressed. Both Jamie Davies (who has done much from afar for our web-presence) as well as Jenny Morrison (for gathering and sending information to Jamie since her own committee term had ended last year) were thanked for their work. Chris reported on our involvement with a number of events throughout the year, including the North East Maritime Archaeological Forum conference on coastal archaeology and the ‘Arch and Arch’ dayschool building knowledge on advocacy. Our own advocacy work was now beginning to take shape – with responses written on the sale of Binchester Roman fort, Gateshead’s proposed budget, Allerdale and North Tyneside Local Plans – with Chris Burgess taking this forward for the Committee. The opportunities to help Chris were also noted for volunteers, as well as in appealing for up-to-date and in a regional spread of information. A summary was noted of CBA North membership; this is thinly spread across the region, with most in the north-east. Only a few group members of CBA North were noted. Cumbria remains little covered and represented by the group at the moment. Our aspirations for the future were outlined, though we also need to be realistic, in more advocacy work, in better representation of students and young people, for Cumbria all the more and in keeping up the momentum of our website and social media. Suggestions for various events had been made in Committee meetings, but Chris noted this the chance for members to comment more generally, as well as that there are big challenges for archaeology and the historic environment in CBA North-land in the future. A discussion was made by members on this report. Andrew Millard queried whether Skype might be a method of enhancing committee turnout. Myra Giesen noted that this had been discussed, though not without problems at our current venue. Rob Lennox asked if six committee meetings were too many a year; would three or four not be better. Chris Jones noted this had also been discussed; less meetings would mean perhaps they would be less up-to-date and be longer as a result. Rob thought that meeting dates reactive to events, such as needs for advocacy, could be held. Chris Butterworth and Chris Fowler noted discussion for these issues could be online and through email. Keith Elliott noted that advocacy issues both a standing issue, as well as discussed by some in committee emails. Myra noted that committee was in transition. Committee dates had been set in advance to allow for participation, such as booking cheap travel, of committee members, but we could revisit dates, times and venues as necessary. Andrew Millard noted only the three group members of CBA North; he asked which three. Chris Jones and Tim Martin noted the CBA National changes where a definitive opt-in required, as with personal members, in subscriptions from 2012. Keith Elliott reported these (noted earlier by the Membership Secretary) as the Bamburgh Research Project, Coquetdale Community Archaeology and Teesside Archaeological Society. Rob Lennox conceded that CBA National had not managed this brilliantly, but thought that CBA North advocacy was a real benefit and with local intelligence gathering possible. The report was considered. It was then proposed for adoption by Tim Martin, seconded by Polly Bird and Jenny Morrison, and therefore adopted.
3) in the notification of new committee members
Chris repeated the thanks to Tim Martin who had announced his intention to the Chair to stand down at this meeting as a Trustee and Committee member. The Committee recommended Kimberley Colman and Jo Shoebridge as new committee members. Chris Fowler agreed to move from observer to being a full committee member. It was noted that we could hold separate votes for each proposal or for all of these people together. They were all duly proposed by Andrew Millard, seconded by Myra Giesen, and welcomed to the committee proper. No other nominations had been received. No one stepped forward from the floor.
4) CBA North Advocacy
In the absence of Chris Burgess as Advocacy Officer the Deputy Chair delivered the PowerPoint slide prepared by Chris which noted the three points;
“1. We have actively started using the advocacy protocol and responded to the Allerdale and North Tyneside Local Plans. 2. We are looking for volunteers to work on the wider CBA North advocacy programme. 3. Anyone who has an issue they feel may be in the remit of CBA North to consider should send it to the Secretary at email@example.com”.
The opportunities for members to help Chris and appeal for information were again noted by Chris Jones. Two tweaks to the Advocacy Protocol, as adopted by membership in the 2014 AGM, were outlined;
* the committee thought Advocacy Officer too off-putting; the meeting thought this was a suitable title for the role and another word not pursued
* The proposed phrase “CBA North can only respond to matters that are of archaeological or historical significance and impact and must at all times act in a professional and responsible manner” was thought perhaps a bit dated in its language.
* The phrase “CBA North can only respond to matters that relate to the public interest of the archaeological and historic environment and must at all times act in a professional and responsible manner” was proposed by Chris Butterworth and seconded by Jenny Morrison.
It was felt unnecessary to discuss any opt outs from advocacy based information by
5) any other business notified to the Chairman at least seven days in advance of the meeting or business from the floor
No business came from the floor that otherwise hadn’t been discussed at this AGM (under the Annual Report section) or hasn’t been in previous Committee meetings.
6) local archaeological society talks and displays
A pair of talks were then given on the recent activities of the Border Archaeological Society (by their Vice-Chairman Phil Deakin) and Coquetdale Community Archaeology (by their Chair Chris Butterworth) across Northumberland, and linking into Scotland, on diverse topics such as cairnfields and Saint Ethelreda’s Chapel, Barrowburn Mill and Border Roads in their fieldwork, as well as of their lectures. The history of our venue, as well as a tour of the ‘Lit and Phil’ library, was heard by members, before the meeting dispersed, at 1300.