When our archive volunteers can finally re-start their work at the Museum, there’ll be plenty to keep them occupied as we contemplate how best to record the months since the outbreak of the global Covid-19 pandemic and its associated lockdown.
It’s been an extraordinary time for us all, and it’s a great credit to the Museum’s fabulous executive team that we’ve been able to re-open even our outdoor spaces to provide our local community with a safe space over the summer months. It still feels like it’ll be some time before we’re back to anything like normal operation.
In the meantime, the Museum’s trustees have continued to meet via video conference and work has continued on a number of fronts, whether that’s supporting Liz with securing the grants and funds that are keeping us afloat, or finalising work on a much-needed revised governing document (Articles of Association) for the Trust that governs the Museum.
In the absence of being able to hold on site our usual annual general meeting for Trust members, we’ve also thought long and hard about how best to keep in touch and take care of the business usually conducted and discussed at an AGM.
The snappily titled Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 has come to our aid. Designed to help organisations not in a position to hold physical general meetings because of the pandemic, the Act allows us to delay holding our AGM until the end of September this year, or even defer it completely. Some organisations – notably the National Trust – have opted to defer, but we’ve taken the decision that we would like to give our members the opportunity to take part in an AGM, even if slightly delayed. We also have the added consideration of sharing our revised governing document with members for review and approval, so that we can finally move to a more modern and accessible set of rules for how we conduct our business.
The Act also allows us to hold an AGM virtually, which is what we plan to do on Thursday 24th September 2020. We realise that this is not ideal for everyone, but we see it as the least worst option in the circumstances. We’re likely to use Zoom video conferencing to allow us to get together online.
Full documentation will, of course, be sent out to members in line with our current rules, and we’ll be asking everyone, whether they join the virtual meeting or not, to vote on resolutions in advance, either by e-mail or post. We’re also setting up a dedicated e-mail address so that members can post queries ahead of the meeting.
It would have seemed inconceivable at our last AGM that we’d be in this position, but we’re looking to make the most of a difficult situation and give members the opportunity to keep in touch.
So, put the date in your diaries and get yourselves video ready. We look forward to seeing you on the 24th September, even if at one remove.
Clare Grist Taylor, KBET trustee