Well that’s it, I’ve taken on the mantle of CILIP Trustee/Councillor for definite with my two day trip to London last week. It was a two day event, a training and bonding day for the Council the first day followed up by the first Council meeting of the 2011 cycle. I’d love to tell you all about the exciting, challenging and engaging debates we had the first day but as I agreed to abide by the Chatham House Rules I’m afraid I can only talk about it in the most abstract sense.
That said it was a valuable first day, and while the focus was in part about getting the new Council (1/3 newcomers) to feel a little more familiar with each other. For the old hands it was their first chance to get the measure of use noobs, and the impact we’re likely to have on the Council; and CILIP itself. For us incommers it was about finding our feet, learning some of the spoken and unspoken rules of the game too. For me first and foremost it was a very useful free and frank exchange of ideas, coupled with the training elements one or two of which are going to serve me well in the wilds outside of CILIP.
I had a very enjoyable (and inexpensive) evening staying over at the Veep’s abode in (and I must spell this right this time) Billericay. I can tell you that I always assumed Billericay was actually somewhere in Ireland, so to hop off the commuter train to discover it was in Essex was a bit of a shock (and just down the road from Chelmsford where my wife-to-be lived for a couple of years in our courting days). I think Phil’s just about recovered from my approach to XBox360 gaming (Red Dead Redemption in the most part) – point, click, bang. “You can explore around here some more.” he said. I nodded, and then blew two holes through the nice sheriff who’d just rewarded me for bringing in a desperado point blank.
Day two was the Council proper, and as I hear there’s a council blog coming soon I shan’t pre-empt that report. There was a far bit of reserved business that you’ll hear about soon, and of course during the public session there was a lot of good stuff looking at the advocacy work CILIP and it’s membership is carrying out right now. I will confess I found the discursive format of Council…a tad archaic. I can appreciate when you’ve 12 Trustees in the room, whom all have burning points to make that you can’t just have a free-for-all (well you could, but it’d be neither productive nor effective); but the whole idea of addressing points to the Chair in turn…well for me it stifled the dynamism of the conversational flow.
Maybe that’s just the newness of it – certainly academic meetings I chair don’t run like that; although there are a few occasions on which it might have help keep some folks in check. Or maybe I’m just not used to shutting my trap for more than a few minutes at any given time; I’m sure there are many who’d be glad of the silence (I’m thinking of my long suffering Wife here!)
That all said I did have some very illuminating side-discussions with many of the other trustees and the lovely CILIP staffers around the breaks and lunchtime. Like any meeting or conference, some of the most effective debates and effective discussions took place at the perfirery of the event; although in terms of formal discussion I can certainly say that every point on the agenda was subjected to some pretty robust analysis!
We finished around 4.15; which given that my guestimate had been 5.30 finish was a relief. Not that it was over, just that having started shortly after 9, without really anything more than a working lunch break, it was all pretty intense. Glad, in some respect, that we only have these meetings bimonthly!
Of course, in the meantime in-between meetings, there’s still lots of business to do. It’s rather like having a second unpaid part-time job really…