the 2012 whole school reunion & AGM
The 2012 Whole School Reunion and AGM was held at the Moseley School of Art building, Moseley Road, Birmingham on Sunday, 20th. May.
A great day - happy atmosphere, super lunch, great company
The 10th. reunion of the Moseley School of Art Association to be held at the old school building took place during the Diamond Jubilee Year of Her Majesty the Queen's reign on the 20th. May 2012. The reunion was made possible by the kind permission of the school owners, the Moseley Muslim Community Association. The meeting was well attended, despite a very large number of apologies received from those who couldn't join us.
There was a spontaneous glow of warm good humour among those who attended, some from the far side of the world. Once again, there was a common bond that removed any barriers between people who had attended during different years or, indeed, different eras, and conversation flowed freely between all present.
A number of personal reunions took place, adding to the 900+ reunions of former schoolfriends achieved by the Association over the last ten years. One personal reunion in particular was highly enjoyable for the President - meeting Trevor Phillips, one of his best friends from their time at the school - the two hadn't seen each other for 50 years. The point was made once again to those present that "they aren't making any more of us...." and that our number diminishes each year, making it important that we attend reunions whenever possible.
THE 2012 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING After being called to order by new member Trevor Phillips ('63) with the school bell, the President, Graeme Collins, opened the Annual General Meeting by welcoming everyone to the 10th. reunion organised at the school by the Association. He welcomed those who, in particular, had travelled great distances to be with us, including Bob Sedgley (1959) who travelled, yet again, from his home in Valencia, Spain, Judi Scott (Wainwright)(1968), who had travelled from Northern Ireland, Frank Devine, who had travelled from Cumbria, Barbara Regan (Haines)(1962) who travelled from Redruth, Cornwall, Nick Kane, who travelled from Tokyo, Japan, and, visiting the school for the first time since they had left school, Brian Bailey (1946), who travelled with his wife from California, and Graham Mould (1955), who travelled with his wife from Geelong, Australia.
Apologies Graeme stated that he had received 110 apologies, 17 of these being from overseas members. The apologies included that of former teacher and MSAA Academic Officer T. H. W. (Bob) Ashby, who was, unfortunately involved with the retrospective exhibition of his life's work at an exhibition in Berkshire. He had apologised for the clash of dates, and asked to be remembered to all those whom he had taught during his 25 years at the Moseley School of Art. Mr. Jack Taylor (former Head), had not replied to our invitation, and Graeme said that he would enquire about Jack's health.
Obituary The President announced that the number of members who had passed away since the last reunion had been higher than usual, and that the list sadly included the hugely popular former teacher Edwin Francis (Moggy) Mason, who died peacefully at home after a long illness on the 8th. February 2012. The family asked that his funeral should be a private family affair. We have also lost our most senior female member and second-most senior female member; Nora Potts (Grimley) (1926-29) who died on the 12th. June 2011, and Barbara Ball (Minchin) (1931-34), who died on the 8th. January 2011. The meeting was also informed that Don Clarke (1944-47), a highly respected painter with an international reputation died following a long illness on the 17th. February 2012 in Mijas, Spain, where he had lived and worked as a painter since 1973. We have also been informed of the death of Ray Norton (1946-49) who died on the 17th. February 2012, John Wilson (1948-51) who died on the 25th. September 2010, Derek Allwood (1951-54) who died on the 16th. April 2011, Christopher Harmer (1952-55) who died on the 14th. January 2012, Michael Harvey (1953-56) who died on the 11th. June 2011, Derek Birch (1954-57) who died on the 26th. May 2011, Martin Baker (1957-60), who died in June 2011, and Eileen Wheeler (Aston) (1963-69) who died on the 6th. December 2011.
The President then asked all those present to stand in silence for a short time in memory of these and all other former students and friends who are no longer with us.
Minutes of the 2011 AGM The minutes of the 2011 Annual General Meeting were then related to those present. The most important items were the election and appointment of officers, these being the re-election of Graeme Collins as President, the re-election of Bob Ashby as Academic Officer, and the appointment of Wendy Collins as Honorary Secretary. As Wendy has undertaken a huge amount of work on behalf of the Association, it was proposed by Ivan Haycock, seconded by Mike Richardson that Wendy should receive a modest honorarium. This was resolved unanimously.
Financial Statement The Treasurer discussed the Association's finances and announced that we have a satisfactory balance at the bank.
Election of Officers The President, Graeme Collins, had mooted prior to the meeting that he and his wife, Wendy, had felt that the time had come to stand aside in favour of a new President and team. They had organised 12 reunions, 10 of them at the school, and he had begun to realise that the pressure from family and other sources left him with inadequate time to carry out his duties in an enjoyable way.
In the event, a number of people had contacted him privately and persuaded him that the Association and its activities had become far more important to them than he had realised. Following a discussion with Wendy, he stated that he would again accept the office of President if elected. He then requested nominations for the office of President, and, there being no other nominations, he agreed to continue in office. The President then asked for nominations for the office of Treasurer. Wendy was duly re-elected. The President stated that, despite Bob Ashby's inability to join us for the meeting, he felt sure that Bob would wish to continue as Academic Officer, and he was re-elected unanimously. It was felt that the likelihood of a significant exhibition of works by former pupils is unlikely for the foreseeable future, and a decision was therefore made to defer the election of an Exhibitions Secretary.
Subscription for 2012/13 The members unanimously agreed to retain the annual subscription at £17.50. Members who live overseas will continue to be entitled to membership without payment of a subscription. This follows the events mentioned below regarding refurbishment of the school building facade.
The Treasurer stated that a large number of members were still paying the wrong amount because they hadn't submitted fresh Standing Order forms following the increase to £17.50. She said that a fresh updated Standing Order form will be sent out to each member with the forthcoming newsletter.
Dave Allen - The Eastside Project Dave has been heavily involved with looking after his mother, and hasn't been able to progress the project as he would have wished. He informed the meeting that he hopes to update us about progress later in the year.
Dave conceptualised and has overseen the project during the last two years. Following on from his highly successful Birmingham Grid Project, Dave's latest project is creating a visual record of Birmingham's Eastside as it was before the planned major redevelopment takes place, and will be exhibited at a suitable venue which is yet to be determined.
A preview of the photographs on Dave's website will show that the project will feature some excellent photography, much of it having been taken by our former students:
Refurbishment of the Moseley School of Art Building The appearance of the once beautiful school facade continues to cause grave concern. A long discussion took place regarding this, the most central issue confronting the Association, which pre-occupies all of our members.
The President reminded those present that, at the 2010 AGM, he had recommended to the members present a donation to the school owners of £700.00. It was unfortunate that the representatives of the owners admitted themselves to the meeting while the debate regarding the merits of the donation and the intentions of the owners was still taking place. There had been some reticence among the members present about the validity of the donation, feeling that and there had been a suggestion from the floor that we may be able to aid the refurbishment more effectively by using the £700.00 and any future potential donations to promote the facilitation of the refurbishment ourselves with those organisations which could make this possible. Mr. Javed Arain, for the owners, the Moseley Muslim Community Association, had explained to the meeting that the interior of the building was now in good condition, reminding us that major works had been carried out since 1981, including the recent electrical rewiring.
An impasse had arisen, and the President resolved to defer consideration of the matter of a donation, or an alternative means of obtaining financial aid for the refurbishment, until a future time. Due to the nature of the Association and the frequency of meetings that can be used to debate and resolve matters, the issue of the donation had remained in abeyance.
The meeting had previously been reminded that, following an unsolicited meeting in 2003 with a representative from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Graeme Collins had been provided with a very favourable indication that a large scale grant in the order of £1.2 Million would be positively considered if an application was made. The representative had made the approach to Graeme following the airing of a live radio broadcast from the school during the 2003 Reunion at the school, when the staff at the Heritage Lottery Fund had been impressed by the case made for the refurbishment. Graeme had passed this information to Mr. Arain, representative of the owners, the same day.
The plight of the school, which to all intents and purposes looks totally derelict from outside, was publicised in the national press and TV in October 2010 when the Birmingham branch of the Victorian Society proclaimed that the building had been included in a list of the ten most endangered Victorian and Edwardian buildings in the whole of England and Wales. This emphatically illustrates the seriousness of the problems faced by the building. The Victorian Society said that the building had suffered from years of neglect, and urged the Birmingham City Council to use its powers to ensure that urgent works are carried out. There have also been a number of other news items in the Birmingham Post regarding the dilapidated appearance of the school.
The President stated that he had had a conversation with Javed Arain, for the owners before the AGM commenced, and had explained to him that our members felt that, having secured the promise of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund ten years earlier ( although the school owners have never made an application for the grant ) better progress will be made regarding the refurbishment if the money is utilised by our Association to promote the buiding's plight. The President stated that Mr. Arain said that a grant is, in fact not available, despite Graeme having obtained confirmation directly from the Major Grants Officer for the Heritage Lottery Fund just before the meeting.
Mr. Arain asked if our Association could support their aims by holding another major exhibition like the one held in 2003 at the school building. Graeme had replied that there had been great disappointment at the 2003 Exhibition following the request by Mr. Arain that works depicting the naked form should be removed as he considered them to be offensive. The works in question were, in fact very tasteful, and Graeme informed Mr. Arain that many of our members felt that they could not support an exhibition at the school while unrealistic constraints which amounted to censorship were being imposed. Whilst happy to accept that the school owners have diametrically opposed views to the nationally-accepted standards of decency, the school owners have to accept that their views make the school building an unrealistic venue for Art exhibitions by our Association.
Mr. Arain asked if, as an alternative gesture of support from our Association, we might be prepared to organise Art classes at the building for local school-aged children. The President has informally approached a number of our members who have a background in Art teaching, and has, as yet, not been able to find anyone interested, although any offers would be gratefully received.
Gill Evans (Taylor) ('60) We're grateful to Gill (pictured, right and top right), who provided us with a small exhibition of clothing designs from the 'Mod' era of the 1960's - both she and her husband Del were dedicated followers of fashion - and her exhibits enabled us to look again at the distinctive styles of that great era. Sutton Coldfield-based Gill is now a very skilled dress designer and maker.
"At Last - the 1961 Exhibition" The President announced that a number of former pupils from the 1961 leaving year have got together under the leadership of Phillip Westwood to mount an exhibition of current works. He then invited Phillip to present an outline of the event to those present.
The exhibition will take place at the beautiful Hanbury Hall, near Droitwich, in early September - full details will be uploaded to our 'News' webpage in the next day or two.
Any Other Business Graeme asked ALL former pupils to provide an update of their present email address by sending us an email at this link - whether you think we have your correct address or not.
There was no other business.
Most Senior Former Student Present It has become a custom at our meetings for the most senior female former student present, representing the many thousands of girls who passed through the gates of our old school, to be presented with a bouquet as a token of our love and esteem. On this occasion, our bouquet was awarded to "Auntie" Ruby Colson (Summers) who left our school in 1935.
Ruby is pictured (right) being presented with the bouquet by our President.
The formal part of the meeting was closed by the President at 1.15pm., and everyone present availed themselves of the sumptuous buffet lunch and the opportunity to bring to mind old friends, teachers and events at the school from 40, 50, 60 and more years ago.
2013 Reunion Unfortunately, the planned Annual Reunion and AGM which was due to take place at the old Moseley School of Art building, on Sunday, 19th. May 2013 will not now take place. Please see our 'News' webpage at www.moseley-art-school.co.uk/news.html
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The Moseley School of Art Association is an association formed to:
- promote and maintain, through exhibitions, reunions and other means personal contact between all former pupils and staff members of the Moseley Secondary School of Art, Moseley Road, Birmingham 12 England- promote the restoration and continued maintenance of the Moseley School of Art building, and
- to promote the activities of members who are active in any of the fields of art and the crafts, by means of publicity, sponsorship and procurement of artist materials at discount rates
© Graeme Llewellyn Collins 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012. No part of this website may be reproduced, transmitted by any means or stored in a file retrieval system without obtaining prior explicit permission from the author, who retains intellectual copyright.
The Moseley School of Art Association 2003
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