On 13th November 2017, ISPS UK held its AGM. We presented a summary of our work and finances since we became an Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) in February 2017.
The international conference in Liverpool has been our main undertaken this year. It was a huge success in the sense of attracting over 550 registrations from people from a wide range of backgrounds, providing a very rich programme with over 200 presentations, and receiving a great deal of positive feedback on the value of the experience. We were very glad to be able to offer a much higher number of free and subsidised places than ever before at an ISPS conference, and to have for the first time offered a number of arrangements specifically to support delegates who come alone or find such gatherings intimidating . Although we don’t yet have final accounts, it is clear that the conference has also been successful financially. However we’re also aware the conference had limitations. Despite efforts to keep costs low by doing much of organisation ‘in house’ the cost of attending such an event deters many people, even sometimes despite bursaries available to cover fees.
In addition to organising events, we have undertaken other steps which we hope will eventually contribute to our aims.
One such step has been attempting to increase awareness of ISPS. We have done this through the vehicle of wide promotion of the international conference, through the use of the ‘Liverpool declaration’ which outlines the kind of changes that the conference sought to promote, and also through preparation of videos from the conference which will be used for wider dissemination of the ISPS message.
Another such step has been to try and increase the participation in ISPS UK of people who identify as BAME. We were pleased to be awarded a grant from ISPS international for a project to do this through a number of measures including meetings with local groups sponsorship of conference places, and follow up events.
A third step has been to take time within the committee to try and increase our sensitivity to the dynamics of power and privilege within a diverse organisation, and of how language may perpetuate these. This has seemed an important task for an organisation which has as a core aim of bringing together different perspectives.
Akiko Hart was co-opted as a new trustee in July 2017 and was confirmed as Chair at the AGM. We are immensely grateful to Alison Summers who finished her four year term of office as Chair. In accordance with our new CIO constitution, a quarter of our trustees will now stand down from the committee each year. This autumn we are very sorry to be saying goodbye to Ann Scott, Neil Thomas, Cathy English, Angela Drizi and Judith Varley, and would like to thank them for everything they have done for ISPS UK. Additional trustees will be appointed following an internal assessment of the Committee’s skills.