Open Morris AGM 2020 – Sunday 29th November at 2:00pm

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Open Morris AGM 2020

The 2020 Open Morris Annual General Meeting will take place at 2pm on Sunday November 29th, remotely via Zoom.

Attendance at the Zoom meeting is limited therefore you MUST Register your intention to attend in advance.

You may register up to three Zoom logins for your side (more than one person sharing a Zoom login do not need to register separately). Registration details will be sent out on 1st November. This is probably a good time to check and amend (if necessary) the details we hold for you, you should have received an email with the link to edit your record.

The Archivist, Publicity Co-ordinator and East Midlands Area Representative roles are currently vacant, and we’d love to hear of anyone who is interested in joining the team in those capacities. These posts are appointed by the committee and do not require formal nomination.

If your side representative hasn’t received details regarding the AGM, Registration to Attend and Voting, PLEASE let us know at secretary@open-morris.org and we will investigate.

Zoom AGM FAQ


The 2020 Open Morris AGM on Sunday 29
th November will be held remotely via Zoom due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In running the AGM via Zoom, we are attempting to re-create as faithfully as possible the running of a normal, physical AGM. We’re sorry we won’t be able to provide refreshments however!


How can I access the AGM?


Your team’s registered contact will need to register you to attend the AGM via the links sent out in advance. Zoom places are limited, but we are able to offer up to 3 places per member side, which we hope reflects the usual practice of some teams who like to send multiple delegates.
The deadline to Register to Attend is midnight Thursday 26th November. If you miss this deadline, we will do our best to accommodate you, but this cannot be guaranteed. We will be sending out the link to join the Zoom meeting on Friday 27th November.

You will also need to ensure that you have the Zoom programme installed on your device in advance of the meeting. If you need any technical assistance with this or are unsure how to proceed, please contact chair@open-morris.org. 


What time can I log in?


We will be opening the Zoom at 1pm, and asking people to log in as early as possible in order to avoid delaying the start of the meeting, as we will need to ensure that everyone’s screen names are correct before beginning. The meeting will begin at 2pm. If you arrive late, we will do our best, but we cannot guarantee that we’ll be able to let you in. If you know in advance that you’ll be late, please let us know to look out for you.


Will the meeting be recorded?


Yes, as usual, we will be recording the meeting, but this will only be used if needed by Open Morris officers to assist in producing accurate minutes. We will not publicise the recording outside the OM Committee, and we also ask that you do not take any recordings or images of the meeting.


What should I do before and during the meeting?


Please try to log in with your team name or membership status, and your full name, showing as your screen name. If you can’t, don’t worry, we will be able to make sure everything is correct before the meeting begins.

You will be muted during the meeting, and will only be able to unmute yourself when asked to do so. This is to ensure noise interference doesn’t render any speech inaudible, as Zoom is designed to have only one speaker audible at any one time.

We want people to speak and interact during the meeting, but this needs organisation due to the nature of Zoom. If you wish to speak, there will be a designated person for you to contact via the Zoom chat, who will be able to ensure that you have a chance to speak. These systems will also be explained at the meeting.

There are rules in the OM paperwork about how long discussions are allowed to continue at meetings, and the Chair will be following these rules in order to keep the meeting running smoothly. Each item can be discussed for no more than half an hour in total, and each speaker may speak for no more than 2 minutes. People introducing a motion may speak for 3 minutes. An OM Official will make a timer visible to each speaker.


What can I do if I’m having trouble during the meeting?


We will have a dedicated tech support contact in the Zoom room, who will be able to assist you if you are struggling with any aspect of Zoom on the day. If you are unable to log in to the Zoom, or need any assistance accessing the Zoom on the day, please contact web@open-morris.org, or call Malcolm Hills on 0791 8611614.


How will the voting work?


The registered contact for your team (or individuals who are themselves eligible to vote) will receive a link to a private web page where they can vote. Voting will be open from Sunday 15th November, and will close after the discussions at the meeting. Votes can be amended once cast, and notice of the exact time voting closes will be given during the meeting.

The website allows you to vote on some issues and not others, should you wish.

As per OM procedure, late amendments to motions will not be allowed, as this would disenfranchise votes which have been cast in advance.

Votes will be automatically collated by the website, and as usual, Tellers from The Morris Federation and The Morris Ring will be present to independently verify the data.


If you have any problems accessing or using the voting pages, please contact web@open-morris.org. 

We ask that you cast your votes in advance of the meeting where possible to minimise the possibility of technical problems.


If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact
chair@open-morris.org. 

HOW TO REGISTER

Individual Members and the contact person for Side Members have been sent a website link by email. Individual Members may register to attend, and Sides may nominate up to three persons to receive zoom logins. All persons registered to attend will receive a personal invite to the zoom meeting on Friday 27th November.

If you have not received your registration link, please contact us at secretary@open-morris.org.

HOW TO VOTE

From 14 November 2020 your personal edit web page will be amended to include the Voting Papers.  Life Members, Individual Members of 5 years standing and Member Sides will each receive ONE Vote on each of the Motions and Officer Nominations.  Voting on each Motion will close when announced at the AGM.  You may cast (or change) your votes at any time up to that point, although we would ask you to cast your votes in advance, particularly if you are not going to attend the AGM Zoom meeting.

Letter From Open Morris Chair:

A Letter from the Chair – Oct 2020

Dear OM Members,

When I stepped into Nicki’s lovely and admirable shoes as Chair of OM in November 2019, I couldn’t have imagined the changes to the world we’re living in within so short a time. During the Covid-19 pandemic, I’ve been utterly floored by the ingenuity, commitment and community spirit people have shown in keeping our dances, music and friendships alive. This period has proved to me the resilience and immeasurable value of what some consider to be just a hobby, and many consider to be nothing less than a way of life.

The world changed further with the killing of George Floyd in America in May 2020, and the global momentum gained by the anti-racism movement Black Lives Matter.

Before May 2020 I’d have told you that although I personally didn’t feel comfortable ‘blacking up’, I’d defend your right, and the right of teams, to do so. My viewpoint has changed, and while I don’t think that we should be denying the past, the time has come to move to a future where we act with more awareness and sensitivity to how our actions can be perceived by wider society. My fundamental belief is that whilst teams do not have racist intent when using full face black make up today, there is irrefutable documentary evidence that minstrel and variety performer groups in the past have intended racial mimicry, and that this irrevocably links the practice with racial offence. This, for me, combined with the very real possibility of black people in the UK today facing the use of full face black make up in their town centres, with the justification that traditions are more important than their right to live free from perceived parody and harassment, is more than enough for me to consider the practice out of place in modern society.

Recently, social media platforms Facebook and Instagram have banned ‘caricatures of black people in the form of blackface’, which means that images of teams using full face black make up may be subject to removal. This demonstrates to me that this move within the Morris world is timely, and in tune with wider feeling. Another point which has been a factor in our discussions has been the potential use of Morris by some groups using social media, as a manifestation of English nationalism to the exclusion of those who are not white.

Many teams have re-evaluated their use of face-paint over the last four years following controversy in the media in 2016 associated with teams using full face black make up at a particular folk festival. Through this process it has become clear to me that the tradition people are seeking to protect should be considered more widely. The tradition is ‘guising’ – it is the act of disguising your appearance when performing, so that you may be anonymous. This tradition, in the wake of 2016, has shown tremendous creative blossoming, and I’m excited to see where it will lead us in the future. I love painting my face and dancing my socks off, but I believe this can be done effectively, and above all, authentically, without the use of full face black make up.

We must also be aware of UK Equality legislation. The Equality Act (2010) is a piece of legislation in the UK which makes harassment based on any protected characteristic as defined in the act unlawful. The Act is clear that it is the perception of the injured party that is important in a case of harassment. There is therefore a possibility of a claim against a Morris team using full face black make up, exacerbated by the global political climate, and it is our responsibility as the OM Committee to take steps to guard against that risk.

The JMO has faced criticism for ‘dictating’ to our members, but please consider that our initial JMO statement was quite simply an announcement of our intent to address this issue.

Each organisation agreed to bring this issue to the attention of our members at the earliest opportunity, which for OM is the upcoming AGM, and that is exactly what is taking place. Although the structures we have in place within OM allow the Committee to keep the Equality Policy of the organisation concurrent with UK law, we have been keen to offer the opportunity for debate and vote on a motion at the AGM.

I want to assure you that none of us, as Officers of OM or the JMO, have acted with anything but the best interests of the Morris world at heart, or without months of forethought. None of the decisions we have made as elected officers have been taken lightly, the more so because we have dear friends on every side of the debate who we know will be effected by the outcome and by the process itself. We have acted from a desire to build and strengthen the Morris world and to ensure that the traditions we love have the best chance of striding into the future with the respect and support of the communities in which they stand.

Jen
Chair
Open Morris

 MOTION:

The AGM accepts the Minutes of the AGM 2019 as a true record of that meeting.

Proposed by:  Wharfedale Wayzgoose

Seconded by:  Theale Tattoo





Open-Morris-AGM-2019-Minutes


Open-Morris-AGM-2019-Appendices-to-the-Minutes

MOTION:

The AGM accepts the Treasurer’s Report as a true record of the Open Morris Finances.

Proposed by:

Seconded by:  Wharfedale Wayzgoose





The Treasurer’s Report consists of the Report and 4 Appendixes.


OM Treasurer Report & Appendices

Wales & Northwest

Wales and NW Area Rep report 2020

Unsurprisingly there isn’t much to report this year but here are a few snippets…

The lockdown restrictions in Wales have meant that Cadi Ha could have a few evening practices in early autumn and a few sunny Sunday afternoon ones later. As many other sides do, we meet occasionally on Zoom although we haven’t ventured into the realm of actual virtual dancing yet. As a small side, Cadi Ha already have their dances choreographed for 4 dancers. Adding in a 2 metre rule has been fun to choreograph and may be the forerunner of future morris.

Earl of Stamford have met more regularly on Zoom to socialise and even learn a jig, with some early autumn outdoor practices. Rather than cancel their annual Souling Play, a few Zoom rehearsals led to the creation of 2 versions online to raise money for a local hospice. The link is available for anyone who wants to contact me.

Wolfgate have been dormant all year, with some of their members even escaping to spend their lockdown in New Zealand.

It’s good to see Briganti Border Morris have been keeping active, albeit in a limited way. As well as meeting weekly by Zoom, their Foreman has sent me links to several videos of solo dances they have compiled, including their entry for the Stick & Bucket competition. They have also produced some video instructionals and workshops. The Foreman’s dog looks like a good recruit too!

Mucky Mountains have only managed one outdoor practice but created a virtual 6 person dance for a Virtual Town Show – cleverly using 3 socially distanced double jigs to create the illusion of a 6 person set. I am constantly amazed by the innovative ideas out there!

Here’s hoping for more to report next year.
Nicki Pickering
Wales & NW Area Rep


Central


During the pandemic, OM teams in the Central Area have been on the more active side, with the majority of teams in our area meeting in limited numbers for socially distanced practices, dancing together virtually online, and taking opportunities to participate in virtual events. Theale Tattoo, who hosted last year’s AGM, have been lucky to find that zoom works very well for step clog team practices, and have also been able to return to covid-safe physical practices whilst regulations have allowed.

I’m confident that OM teams in our area will stand a good chance of striding through this period unharmed, and that the strong local Morris community will once more become the busy and thriving community we know and love. 

Jen Cox


Central South


Open Morris Rep Report for Central South 2020

What an extraordinary year.  As I have obviously been unable to get out and about to see any dancing since March I had to resort to e-mailing or phoning Open Morris sides in the Central South Region.  This is a summary of what I heard or read.

Sides were generally active over the winter practising and performing on their traditional Festival Days.  Once the lock down arrived it became a tale of cancelled events and nothing happening.  A few sides attempted practising outdoors in members’ garden over the summer but that has proved difficult.  Baker’s Dozen tried to practice dancing together on Zoom but found it ended up more as a social get together. My own side, Devil’s Jumps actually got back to regular practices when our practice hall opened up at the mid October. We managed two practices before having to close down again.  At least I have done all the risk assessments so we are ready to re-start back as soon as we are allowed. Following garden practice, Whitgar Morris have developed some of their dances to include social distancing i.e. back and then further back instead of back to back and all sticking done by non-dancers with two sticks to create the sound.  

There has also been a certain amount of activity on social media. Meon Valley Morris posted performances for May Day and the Summer Solstice, and contributed to the Loan Morris Festival.  Some teams on the Isle of Wight took part in the Isolation Row Folk Festival.  

On a more positive note sides are looking forward to next year, hoping to get back to practising soon and have received invitations to perform at various festivals next year, Covid-19 willing.

Clare Mach




Northeast

Apart from a few winter events. Boxing Day Danceouts and some Wassailling, the Northeast has been rather quiet.  We are all looking forward to being able to resume practices and of course get out dancing again.
Malcolm Hills
Area Rep for the Northeast


East Anglia

East Anglia Reps Report to the AGM 2020
What a depressing year, the video conferencing platforms have provided an opportunity of continuity of group social connections.
Fenstanton danced at dawn on May 1st individually and continued socially on Messenger or Zoom completing the crossword or quizzes on a regular basis.
Many discussions between the officers and officials of OM about the JMO and the ‘Black Face’ issue also the use of technology to carry out the requirements of running the AGM.
Robin James


Please Note that an Ordinary Motion Requires MORE VOTES FOR THAN AGAINST to be CARRIED



Ordinary Motion 1 for the OM AGM 29th November 2020

Members will be aware that on 3rd July 2020 the Joint Morris Organisations (JMO) on behalf of The Morris Federation, The Morris Ring and Open Morris issued a statement as follows:

Joint Morris Organisations Statement

Our traditions do not operate in a vacuum. While no morris dancer wants to cause offence, we must recognise that full face black or other skin tone makeup is a practice that has the potential to cause deep hurt. Morris is a living tradition and it is right that it has always adapted and evolved to reflect society. Over the past few years, many morris teams have already proactively taken the decision to stop using full face black makeup to avoid causing offence or hurt. We now believe we must take further steps to ensure the continued relevance and inclusivity of the tradition.

The Joint Morris Organisations (The Morris Federation, The Morris Ring, and Open Morris) have therefore agreed that each of them will take action to eliminate this practice from their membership. Teams that continue to use full face black or other skin tone make up will find they are no longer part of the mainstream morris community, be covered by JMO public liability insurance, or invited to take part in events organised or sponsored by the JMO.

Morris is a unique cultural tradition of which we should be rightly proud. We want people from all races and backgrounds to share in this pride and not be made to feel unwelcome or uncomfortable by any element of a performance.

Each of the organisations had to consider how to take the action described in the statement. Their constitutions are different, the timings of their AGMs are different but there was a unanimous determination amongst officers of the JMO to implement any changes as soon as practicable within each organisation.

Section 22 of the Constitution makes clear OM’s commitment to equality and diversity as expressed in its Equality Policy. The OM committee, using its powers under 5c of the Constitution, implemented a review of the OM Equality Policy. It was found that the policy met the intent of the JMO statement, with minor clarifying amendments, and the revised version is on the OM website.

Section 3b of the Constitution, states that Membership requires acceptance of the Constitution of OM, and failure to do so will result in membership being rescinded and cancellation of Public Liability Insurance.

The Committee is unanimously of the view that teams who use full face black make up will be in breach of the Equality Policy and therefore of the OM Constitution and will not be accepted as members at the 2021 renewal and thereafter.

Motion:


The AGM resolves to support the view of the OM Committee that teams who use full face black make up will be in breach of the Equality Policy of the OM Constitution and will not be accepted as members at the 2021 renewal and thereafter.

If the AGM accepts this resolution the OM Committee will review the application and renewal processes to ensure that teams are aware of this requirement.

Please Note that an Ordinary Motion Requires MORE VOTES FOR THAN AGAINST to be CARRIED

Ordinary Motion 2

Proposed by The Acid Morris and seconded by Beorma Morris

Whereas we agree that the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement means that the Morris community, being practitioners of a living tradition, must adapt and evolve to reflect progressive changes in wider society;

Whereas we note that in the OM Equality Policy, OM ‘commits to creating an environment free of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination’, we believe that this means that people from all races, backgrounds and identities must actively be made to feel welcome to observe or participate in Morris dancing in order to ‘ensure that Morris Dancing and allied activities may be enjoyed by anyone who wishes to participate or spectate’;

Whereas we note the principle in the OM Equality Policy to ‘encourage equality and diversity in our members’, and are conscious that greater representation of underrepresented groups is a key factor in encouraging and increasing interest and participation in any activity;

Whereas we must regretfully note our awareness of racist comments and attitudes in the Morris community, and believe that it behoves this AGM to remind OM that members are ‘responsible for ensuring they adhere to the principles’ of the Equality Policy and ‘are responsible for assisting OM in preventing’ ‘bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination’;

We propose the following Ordinary Motion:

Ordinary Motion 2:
The AGM resolves that sides who do not take proactive steps to diversify the membership and the venues in which their side performs will be in breach of the Equality Policy of the OM Constitution and will not be accepted as members at the 2021 renewal and thereafter.

Committee Response to Ordinary Motion 2

The OM Committee advise against adopting this motion. 

Whilst we would encourage active diversification and proactive outreach from teams, we recognise that placing such an burden on teams, many of whom struggle to recruit, or operate in areas where a diverse population is unavailable to them as target audience, is unrealistic, and the enforcement of this motion could lead to teams folding or leaving OM. We also recognise that many teams within OM are doing well and making strides in this area and we feel that the motion undermines progress which has been made up to this point. We fully recognise such active diversification as necessary to the future of Morris, and as good practice, but we believe that the Morris world as a whole, which is already under considerable threat from the pandemic, is not currently well equipped to deal with the requirements of such a motion. 

There is no structure or insight given in the motion as to how such a requirement might be implemented. Open Morris has neither the resources nor the mandate to police the recruitment or performance locations of all member teams, and the OM Committee feel that this makes the motion unviable.

The motion is also at odds with Constitution 2) f) which states ‘…OM will not accept or support any proposal that will interfere with the internal policies or practices of any Member Side.’ In placing a requirement for action upon teams within the organisation, this motion would contravene that part of the Constitution. 

Supporting Document Regarding Diversity Received 25 November 2020

A Few Suggestions for Ethnic Diversity In Morris

Please note, these are only suggestions and they relate to ethnic diversity, although some may also be applicable to diversity in other areas. This is not because diversity elsewhere is unimportant but because this is my area of expertise and it was what I was asked for.

 • There are around 1500 mosques in Britain, 454 synagogues, 300 mandirs (Hindu temples), and about the same number of gurdwaras (Sikh temples) as well as a bewildering array of other religious and cultural organisations, spread all over the country. You could make contact with some of these, local to you, introduce yourselves and offer your services.

 • There is a list of religious festivals here https://www.interfaith.org.uk/resources/religious-festivals and here https://www.reonline.org.uk/festival-calendar/. 

• You could always link seasonal dance outs to more than one festival, e.g. Bonfire Night/Samhain/Halloween with Diwali. Bear in mind that because the Islamic calendar is lunar rather than solar the date of the two Eids (Adha and Fitr) change year by year. In the lifetime of an individual they will process through the whole year. 

• Many religious festivals are celebrated by specific celebrations, e.g. Eid melas, for which organisers are often looking for “entertainment”. These can be a good opportunity for you to offer your services, spread the word of Morris, and maybe even recruit. 

• As well as specifically religious groups across the country there are thousands of national and cultural groups and institutions, some large, some tiny. Some cultural groups, e.g. Chinese/Taiwanese/Hong Kongers who do not identify through religious institutions, can be contacted through these national, regional or cultural organisations who often have events to celebrate, e.g. independence days, national holidays or other festivals. Make contact! Offer to dance!

 • A little goes a long way and this is true of language. Just a few words on advertising, recruitment posters or flyers in another script: “Join us”, “Welcome”, etc, can have a big effect. The inclusion of just a few words in another script may also have the effect of putting off any infiltration by right wing political groups about which people were worried. All translations and scripts are readily available via Google, and there are undoubtedly resources on the various Morris Facebook groups that can be tapped for specific advice. 

• Similarly when the announcer, fool or whiffler introduces you to the audience why not throw a “Shalom”, “As salaam alaikum” or “Ni hao” in there; and maybe work up another few phrases. It is all available via Google. Most things are. 

• By the same token, the front person can also ensure that they routinely tell the audience that the side always welcomes new musicians of any shape, size, colour, creed, etc (you may want to add more to the list), and that the only criterion for dancers is a love of dancing. You can be even more welcoming by adding how to get in contact, and when and where the regular practice is. Side members engaging in conversation with audience members can also mention these things in response to any glimmer of possible interest.

 • If you already have some multicultural links of any kind, it would be worth mentioning those too while you’re either announcing or chatting to the audience, e.g. you’ve taught Morris at this or that local school (and maybe there were some really good dancers), or you’ve performed at a local Mela, etc. 

• If you’re dancing for a particular festival, e.g. May Day, solstice, wassail, etc, you can also point out parallels from other traditions; everyone whose climate has seasons marks the changes in some way (and those who don’t have festivals anyway). It just shows that you’re interested in making cross-cultural connections, and again it can all be googled, or you can ask on Facebook. 

• If you write your own dances, or if you want to start, you could consider incorporating a move from another dance tradition, and then tell the audience that you’ve done so. You could also point out to the audience that Morris is not only a distinctive tradition but also an evolving one, and that historically it borrowed from other countries and cultures. 

• Amongst Moslems, and to a lesser extent Sikhs and Hindus, if there is a perception of Morris dancing then it is associated with heavy drinking. I have spoken to Moslem friends who have expressed great interest in joining a side but dismiss it because of the emphasis on alcohol. You may want to think about this and while there is no easy solution, exhortations like “Do You Love Beer? You Will Love Morris” are at best offputting. If your side only dance in and outside pubs you will only ever recruit the sort of people who one finds in and outside pubs. 

• There are plenty of online sites which detail the needs and practices of different religious and cultural groups, e.g. some of the NHS pages, and there is more advice here https://www.interfaith.org.uk/resources/building-good-relations-with-people-ofdifferent-faiths-and-beliefs. It is also important to remember that members of particular religious and cultural groups are not all “of a piece”, there are wide differences within every general grouping, e.g. some Moslems do eschew dancing, as indeed do some Christians, but many, e.g. Sufis, use it as part of worship. 

• The hardest part of this process is tackling racism among the members of one’s own side, and challenging overtly racist behaviour and statements. No one is perfect and people do “misspeak”, but sides may want to think long and hard about allowing membership to those who deliberately continue to make racist comments. The above are just a few suggestions. I am sure that others have equally good if not better ideas. Remember too that for some sides, i.e. those few who only recruit from the residents of one village, advice on recruitment is moot. Ultimately, a little goes a long way and with just a bit of thought we can be more welcoming and open to a much wider ethnic mix. Morris is English culture: that is, it is the culture of a multiracial, multiethnic country, and if we do not seek the support of ALL groups in England then Morris will wither and die. If you have any questions or need help then there are sides with some expertise in this area who are ready and willing to help. Beorma Morris for one. Good luck and … KEEP DANCING. 

Naomi Standen (Acid Morris) Tony Roberts Beorma Morris Birmingham

Please Note: Constitution Paragraph 23 c) ii  “a Constitution Motion will be declared adopted if it receives a number of votes in favour no fewer than two-thirds of the total number of votes cast.”


Constitution Motion 1:

Aims and Principles 

Amend the Constitution to read:

2)  AIMS AND PRINCIPLES

a)  OM is an association to which all Morris sides and interested persons are equally welcome to apply for membership.

Current text:

2)  AIMS AND PRINCIPLES

a)  OM is an association in which all Morris sides and interested persons are equally welcome.


Explanatory note


This amendment elaborates upon the inclusivity of OM and gives clarity to our current membership practices.

Please Note: Constitution Paragraph 23 c) ii  “a Constitution Motion will be declared adopted if it receives a number of votes in favour no fewer than two-thirds of the total number of votes cast.”


Constitution Motion 2:

Membership

Amend the Constitution to read:

3.  MEMBERSHIP

b)  Membership requires acceptance of and compliance with the Constitution of OM, and failure to do so may result in membership being rescinded and cancellation of Public Liability Insurance.

Current text

3.  
MEMBERSHIP

b)  Membership requires acceptance of the Constitution of OM, and failure to do so will result in membership being rescinded and cancellation of Public Liability Insurance.

Explanatory note:

This amendment clarifies that membership is contingent upon adherence to the Constitution.

Please Note: Constitution Paragraph 23 c) ii  “a Constitution Motion will be declared adopted if it receives a number of votes in favour no fewer than two-thirds of the total number of votes cast.”


Constitution Motion 3:

Clarify intent of Section 22: Equality 

Amend the Constitution to read:

22)  EQUALITY

c)  The OM Equality Policy forms part of the OM Constitution and makes clear how OM will support equality. It is published on the OM website. It is the responsibility of the OM Committee to review the Equality Policy and its impact on other OM Documents every 3 years, or sooner if necessary, to take account of changes in the law.

d)  All of OM are to comply with the OM Equality Policy.


Current text:

22)  EQUALITY

c)  The OM Equality Policy is published on the OM website and makes clear how OM will support equality in all the work of the organisation.

d)  All of OM are advised to follow the principles of any current equality legislation as set out in the OM Equality Policy.

Explanatory note

This amendment clarifies the responsibilities of the Committee and OM Members with regard to the maintenance and implementation of the Equality Policy, and clarifies that the Equality Policy forms part of the OM Constitution.

There is one nomination for the Post of Chair

Name: Jen Cox

Proposed By: Lepton Morris

Seconded By: Cadi Ha Morris

Resumé


I’ve been a member of Open Morris since joining my first side at the age of 12. As a child I loved the colour and fun my first team brought to the festivals my family would attend, and I couldn’t wait to get involved. Since then, I’ve danced every style of Morris, as well as Rapper and Step Clog. I still dance with my first team Shinfield Shambles when I can, as well as Borderline, Bunnies from Hell, Theale Tattoo, Lepton, Enigma, Mabel Gubbins, Sharp & Blunt and in the last year I’ve also joined Rockhopper. 

Outside of OM, I organise the dance events for Wallingford BunkFest, a wonderful community festival in Oxfordshire, and I am the Treasurer for Oxfolk, Oxford’s long running and brilliant ceilidh series. I work in the care industry supporting young people with special needs, and I’m also on the committee of my local Talking Newspaper charity. I’m a whistle player, percussionist and singer.


I first became involved with the running of OM as the Magazine Editor in 2007 and fulfilled that role for a few years before stepping back. I took on the Editor role again in 2016, and in 2018 became Secretary as well as Central Area Rep. Last year I was honoured to be elected as Chair, and I have enjoyed working in the role over the past year, despite all the challenges that 2020 has brought us.

The last year has seen such changes in the Morris world and I’m sure the path ahead of us will contain many twists and turns as we navigate out of the pandemic and onwards. I consider it both a responsibility and an honour to be able to take a hand in that future, and I hope that the links of friendship and co-operation we enjoy with the Joint Morris Organisations and other traditional dance bodies will be further strengthened by the common goals we will be working towards.

I believe passionately in the inclusivity and community of Open Morris, and I seek to foster and strengthen these values within Open Morris at a time when remaining connected has been so vital.

Jen Cox

There is one nomination for the Post of Secretary

Name: Hetty Bevington

Proposed By: Tatters Morris

Seconded By: Theale Tattoo



Resumé

I started dancing with Tatters Morris 13 years ago when I moved down to Cornwall.  The side struggled with members for a while and then lay dormant, but we recently started dancing again until the covid lockdown put a stop to our practices.  These days, I tend to play with the band more than dance. I have also played for a couple of the other local sides when they have been short of music.  I also run dance workshops in schools, sharing the joy of Morris dancing, Maypole dancing and country dancing with the next generation.

When I’m not Morris dancing I am busy working on my new business as a tour guide, taking people on tours around the old industrial heartlands of Cornwall, telling stories of local characters, customs and folklore.  I play in a Ceilidh band and have three small children to keep me busy, all who thankfully love a spot of Morris dancing.

In joining the committee of Open Morris I will work to support the organisation and its members with the new challenges that the pandemic has brought to Morris Dancing, strengthening the community of open morris sides and members.

There is one nomination for the Post of Treasurer

Name: Liz Scholey

Proposed By: Brooms Bricks and Bowlers

Seconded By: The Far Side

Resumé

I have been a Morris dancer for 18 years with Rampant Rooster Morris (a Cotswold and Border Federation side) and danced Cotswold and Border with Madcap Morris (for 8 years and The Far Side last year). As a founder member of a Border side in Tunbridge Wells, Brooms Bricks and Bowlers, I was Foreman for 4 years.

Dance is my profession and my passion, I own a dance business teaching my own classes, working at local leisure centres, and in schools. As well as teaching, before the pandemic I was a caller for barn dances, hoedowns and ceilidhs, at all manner of events. This year I have been Zooming my classes and putting on Lockdown Hoedowns to keep people smiling. Prior to working in dance full time I was a Human Resources director at a University and have worked at a senior level in education and health.

For one year I was the Open Morris Membership Secretary, but for the last three years I have been Treasurer. I have improved the presentation of the accounts so that it is clearer how the money is being spent and have managed to significantly reduce the number of cheques issued.  The officers are now able to transfer money from the bank account but the safeguard of requiring two officers to authorize payments remains in place.


I am standing again


Liz Scholey

Tunbridge Wells

There is one nomination for the Post of Membership Secretary

Name: John Scholey

Proposed By: The Far Side

Seconded By: Roses Are Red


Resumé

I have been a Morris dancer for 34 years, initially with the erstwhile Ring side Wyre Forest Morris Men in Kidderminster and subsequently Eryri, All Fools, Dublin City and Icknield Way, mostly as a visitor. When my permanent base headed south in 1995, I joined the recently formed Rampant Rooster Morris (a Fed Cotswold and Border side). I still dance with them.
Since 2012, I have played for Brooms Bricks and Bowlers, a Tunbridge Wells occasional Border side which was Fed but joined OM in 2018. Other sides include Madcap Morris at Broadstairs Folkweek (2010-18) and The Far Side in 2019.
I have three years’ experience in carrying out the role of Membership Secretary during which time I eliminated most paper from the process, except for cheques.  

Other stuff:

Up to the lockdown in March, I regularly called and played (often both together) for barn dances, hoedowns and ceilidhs at all sorts of events. I am also Royal Tunbridge Wells Official Town Crier, having been appointed in 2006. In 2018, I retired from (paid) civil engineering but then became the (volunteer) Civil Engineering Manager for the Spa Valley Railway, my local heritage railway.


John Scholey MAHGTC FICE
Tunbridge Wells
25 October 2020

There is one nomination for the Post of Web Officer

Name: Malcolm Hills

Proposed By: Wharfedale Wayzgoose

Seconded By: Nicki Pickering

Resumé


I have been dancing since 1969, firstly cotswold with a Ring Side, St Albans Morris Men, followed by a thirty year break pursuing a career in HM Forces. I then joined Carlisle Morris (Morris Federation) dancing border and longsword and finally joined my current side Wharfedale Wayzgoose, initially as a dancer and now as musician. I am also a member of Bradshaw Mummers (Morris Federation) I am retired but still running a very small web hosting and design hobby business. My self taught expertise is primarily involved in providing web access for large databases and ensuring that all my sites are easily usable and accessible on multiple devices. I designed and implemented the current Open Morris Website ( https://open-morris.org ). Should the membership appoint me to continue in the post of Web Officer, I intend to continue to develop the website to provide further facilities to promote individual Open Morris Member Sides and Morris Dancing in general.

Malcolm Hills

MOTION:

The Appointment of Mike Salter to Life Membership

Proposed By:  Liz Scholey, Treasurer, Open Morris


Nomination of Mike Salter for Life Membership of Open Morris.


Mike has been connected with Open Morris almost since the beginning of theorganization in the 1980s. He pointed out to the Committee that OM is 40 years old this year.  He was Editor of Dancing On for 3 years, 1986 to 1988 and Secretary from 1991 to 1993.


In the wider Morris world, he has had links with many teams in the Midlands and ran his own team, Madcap Morris (Open Morris) for over 30 years; many dancers and musicians attended and were inspired by his Madcap events. Particularly notable were the Madcap Morris Border weekends hosted in and around Mike’s house in Malvern which ran for 34 years until December 2019. He ran Madcap Molly which danced at a local beer festival and last performed in 2018. Mike also regularly took Madcap to Broadstairs Folkweek, where the dancing was mainly Cotswold. Madcap’s final event was a small gathering of mainly friends at New Year 2020.  Mike decided to wind up Madcap “whilst he and his faithful supporters (many of them in the 62 to 76 age-bracket) were still able to do it anything like properly”, his own words.

He is a prolific author writing about history particularly castles, maps, old buildings, long distance walking trails and of course Morris. His book, All About the Morris gives a history of Morris dancing from the mid-15th century up to the present date.

Mike’s quirky enthusiasm for and knowledge of Morris in all its forms is without parallel.  He has been an active Officer and supporter of Open Morris over the years and granting him Life Membership would be a fitting acknowledgement of his contribution.

Liz Scholey, Treasurer, Open Morris, October 2020