Annual general meeting 2020

Association of European Printing Museums

Minutes of the annual general meeting 2020

The annual general meeting was held online on September 7, 2020.

The invitation, sent out on the 23 August 2020 included online access to all the necessary documents and information in preparation of the AGM.

1. List of members present

Board members: Alan Marshall (chair), Patrick Goossens (Letter-Kunde, Belgium) treasurer and acting secretary, Joseph Belletante (Musée de l’imprimerie et de la communication graphique, Lyon, France), Pascal Fulacher (Atelier du livre d’art et de l’estampe, France), Robert Clerebaut (Belgium), Frédéric Terrier (Les mille univers, Bourges, France). Excused: Guy Hutsebaut (Plantin-Moretus Museum, Belgium).

Ordinary members:  Zahra Benkass (Atelier-Musée de l’imprimerie, Malesherbes, France), Jurgen Bönig (Germany), Joost Depuydt (Plantin-Moretus Museum, Antwerp, Belgium), Thomas Gravemaker (LetterpressAmsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands), Monika Jakobs (Kulturhuef, Grevenmacher, Luxembourg [who indicated that she had been unable to access the documents before the meeting and so would abstain from voting]), Sophie Kloetzlen (Espace Gutenberg, Strasbourg, France), Elia Koumi (Museum of Typography, Chania, Greece), Martyn Kramek (Book Art Museum, Lodz, Poland), Indra Kupferschmid (HBKsaar, Saarbrücken, Germany), Marie Kympers (Industriemuseum, Ghent, Belgium), Bernard Langlois (Amis du Musée de l’imprimerie et de la communication graphique, Lyon, France), May Tove Nyrud (Norsk Grafisk Museum, Stavanger, Norway), Susanne Richter (Museum für Druckkunst, Leipzig, Germany), Jadwiga Tryzno (Book Art Museum, Lodz, Poland), Steen Rønnow (Vingaards Officin – Bogtrykmuseet Viborg, Viborg, Denmark), Inga Surgunte (National Library of Latvia, Riga, Latvia).

Excused: Stefan Soltek (Klingspor Museum, Offenbach, Germany), Catherine Dixon (Central Lettering Record, Central Saint Martins (UAL), London, United Kingdom).

The meeting was chaired by Alan Marshall.

2. Approval of the minutes of the last annual general meeting

In the absence of any objections and with one abstention the minutes were approved.

3. Chairman’s report

Annual conference 2019

The annual conference is one of the AEPM’s principal activities and allows members to come together to discuss questions of common interest. Each year it is hosted by a museum in a different country and in 2019 it was organised by the National Museum of Playing Cards in Turnhout (Belgium) with the strong support of the City Council, and brought together 69 participants from 16 countries. I would like to take the opportunity to again thank our hosts and the whole museum team who spared no effort to make us feel welcome and to ensure the excellent organisation of the event. The theme of the conference – Safeguarding intangible heritage – was particularly topical and was expertly dealt with by a broad range of speakers. On behalf of the board and all those who were present I would particularly like to thank Sofie Wilder, Director of Archives and Museums of City of Turnhout and, of course, our colleague Filip Cremers the director of the Museum who left the Museum last year, shortly after the conference, for a well-earned retirement. Organising the annual conference takes up a lot of time on the part of many people and our heartfelt thanks go to all the members of museum team in Turnhout who made us feel welcome from the moment we arrived, kept everything running like clockwork and made sure that none of us got lost. Thanks also to the organising committee Patrick Goossens, Guy Hutsebaut and Stefan Soltek, to our translators Bernadette Moglia (Musée de l’imprimerie et de la communication graphique, Lyon), Stefan Soltek (Klingspor Museum, Offenbach) and José Bermejo (Imprenta Municipal – Artes del Libro, Madrid), who managed to find time in their busy schedules to ensure that the information concerning the event reached the broadest possible audience. Finally, just while I’m on the subject, I would like to take the opportunity to remind you that volunteers to help with the organisation are always welcome, for tasks either large or small according to your everyday workload and availability!

AEPM’s online presence

In addition to co-organising the annual conference, the AEPM tries to maintain a strong online presence through its website and social media with a view to circulating news from museums and heritage workshops, and promoting the exchange of information about initiatives in the field of printing and graphic heritage (new museums and ideas, exhibitions, approaches to conservation, mediation, funding, etc.).

At the end of 2019 our Facebook page had 1,400 followers. (Our Twitter and Instagram accounts are mostly dormant for the moment for lack of someone to look after them.)

In 2018 the website was given a major overhaul with a new look, the automation of the successful Museum finder interactive world map of printing and related museums, and a new publications section which gives greater prominence to our conference proceedings, occasional papers and articles focusing on specific museums. This was completed in 2019 when our existing Flickr gallery was closed down and its contents integrated into the new website.

The website currently offers:
– 265 pages, including 68 publications (135 in English, 42 in French, 34 in German, 24 in Italian and 30 in Spanish),
– 607 posts (297 in English, 178 in French, 102 in German, 14 in Italian and 16 in Spanish),
– and 50 museum photo galleries.

Many of the pages and posts are available in two or more languages. The content of the website is predominantly in English and French but the presence of other languages is far from negligible and we actively encourage publications in two or more languages to facilitate access.

The website user database – our basic networking tool1 – currently contains details of 438 AEPM members, printing and related museums, heritage workshops and research institutions active in our field.[1]

The number of visitors averages out at slightly over 5,100 per month and in the busier periods of the year reaches 7,000-8,000. News posts generally reach between 200-1,000 readers according to the subject, but this can go as high as 2,000 on occasion. Conference papers and occasional publications generally reach between 300-1,000 readers, but again the latter figure can sometimes be doubled.

And it goes without saying that we are always keen to receive contributions whether of news items, photo galleries or in-depth presentations of museums and articles on subjects relating to printing and graphic heritage in any of the languages we habitually publish in.

Membership

Membership continues to rise, from 92 in 2017 (representing 15 countries), to 99 in 2018 (representing 23 countries) and to 109 in 2019 (27 countries).

Supporting members in 2019 were: Museo Alzamora (Spain), Papiermachermuseum (Austria), Atelier-Musée de l’imprimerie (J.-P. Maury, France), Museu da Imprensa Madeira (Portugal), Atelier du livre d’art et de l’estampe (France).

As membership fees are practically our sole source of net revenue (all conference fees received are automatically transferred to the host museum to help cover costs), it is perhaps worth giving a very brief summary of how income and expenditure have evolved in recent years.

 

2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Income
Membership fees 3,904 4,288 4,809 5,480 7,105
Conference fees 2,356 4,230 2,308 4,076 5,411
Expenditure 6,151 8,507 6,063 11,870 11,897
Net result +69 +11 +1,086 -2,321 +619

Notes:

  • Expenditure for 2016 includes 1,916 euros depreciation of constitution fees and website.
  • Expenditure for 2015 includes 1,827 euros depreciation of constitution fees and website.
  • It should be noted that the figures for the net result for each year differ from those given in the minutes of last year’s annual general meeting which did not take account of depreciation and tax- deductible financial costs.)

All in all, the last five years have seen continuing growth in the membership and activity of the AEPM and consolidation of our finances (though this is not immediately apparent in the figures for 2015 and 2016 above because of the writing off of our constitution fees and website). Thanks to our partner museums the annual conferences have been self-financing. And membership fees have more than covered general running costs and investment in the design and maintenance of our website, allowing us to envisage new projects such as the publication which is currently in preparation.

Though its resources are modest and its organisation depends entirely on the work of volunteers, the AEPM has developed in recent years to become a valuable resource and an active presence in the promotion of printing and graphic heritage. We owe this growth largely to increasing awareness of the unique character of print culture in an increasingly digital world and, above all, to the expertise and enthusiasm of our members.

In the absence of any objections and with one abstention the chairman’s report was approved.

4. Auditor’s report

The link to the website where the Rapport du commissaire a l’assemblee generale de l’asbl Association of European Printing Museums sur les compte annuels de l’excercice 2019, prepared by the AEPM’s auditor Cédric Bergamini of the Brussels-based accountants Bureau Darvil,  was communicated with the invitation to the annual general meeting and was briefly summarized by the treasurer as follows.

The financial status of the AEPM is good to very good. As we all could see in the ‘compte annuels’ sent to you via the link in the invitation to this AGM, made by our accounting office the Bureau Darville. The main expenditure was organising the conference in Turnhout (around 7.800€) followed by the accountant’s fees (996,98€), the costs for administration accoutrements (780€) and postal costs (638,70€).  Some necessary costs on our website took out 510€. A total of 11.358,79€.

On the income side we received 7.105,25€ in membership fees and 5410,92€ in conference fees, totaling in 12.516,17€. Our cash situation (in bank account and PayPal account) at the closure of the financial year was just over 6.500€.

The more precise details, as mentioned can be analysed in the official report. How this all relates to previous years has been reviewed in the overview by our president.

A question regarding the report arose from Martyn Kramek whether both reports could not be offered in English. Alan Marshall replied that most documents on the AEPM website offer translations in several languages but French and English are most prominent.  Patrick Goossens added that for next year he would attempt to make an English version of the report, where the auditor’s report is mostly legal formulas, it would be likely that only one translation for future use would do. As for the accounting report it’s mostly numbers, that could be arranged for future reports.

In the absence of any objections and with one abstention the autitor’s report was approved.

5. Approval of the accounts for 2018

The accounts and the treasurer’s report were voted upon and in the absence of objections and with one abstention were approved.

6. Fixing of the membership fee for 2020

It was proposed that the membership fee remain unchanged. 50 € for ordinary members, 200€ for supporting members, with no limit upwards for the latter.

In the absence of objections and with one abstention the proposal was approved.

7. Granting of discharge to the auditor for 2019

In the absence of objections and with one abstention the discharge to the auditor was approved.

8. Renewal of the auditor’s mandate for 2020

In the absence of objections and one abstention the renewal of the auditor’s mandate was approved.

9. Granting of discharge to the members of the board for 2018

In the absence of objections and with one abstention the discharge to the members of the board was approved.

10. Budget for the current year 2020

Alan Marshall elaborated on the fact that due to the pandemic and all its consequences – in particular the cancellation of the annual conference – expenditure would be significantly less than planned.

He also indicated that the proposed budget for the 2021 is identical to that which was approved in 2019 for the year 2020. He apologized for the lack of a more detailed presentation. It is the intention of the board to provide a fully detailed budget next year.

In the absence of objections and with one abstention the motion regarding he budget was carried.

11. Nominations and election of board members for the next three years

Guy Hutsebaut (Plantin-Moretus Museum, Antwerp, Belgium) is standing down from the board for family reasons.
The other existing members of the board have all indicated that they are willing to stand for re-election:

  • Robert Clerebaut (Belgium),
  • Pascal Fulacher (Atelier de l’estampe et du live d’art / Imprimerie nationale, France),
  • Patrick Goossens (Letter-kunde, Antwerp, Belgium,
  • Joseph Belletante (Musée de l’imprimerie et de la communication graphique, France),
  • Alan Marshall (France), he will however stand down as president (chair),
  • Stefan Soltek (Klingspor Museum, Offenbach, Germany),
  • Frédéric Terrier (Les mille univers, Bourges, France).

Two new board members who were co-opted on an ad hoc basis early in 2020 are also candidates for the next three-year term:

  • Zahra Benkass (Atelier-musée de l’imprimerie, Malesherbes, France),
  • Joost Depuydt (Plantin-Moretus Museum, Antwerp, Belgium).

In the absence of objections and one abstention the motion regarding the nomination and election of the board was carried.

Alan Marshall welcomed the new members to the board and looked forward to a fruitful cooperation.

Patrick Goossens took the opportunity to give our departing president a warm-hearted thank you from the other board members, present and not present, and from all members of the AEPM. He reminded all that the organization as it stands is mostly due to the hard work, care and constant input of Alan. When many think of the AEPM, they think of Alan.  The virtual thank you can however never replace flowers, handshakes, shoulder taps or embraces, applause and a good glass together but will have to suffice for now. A virtual applause arose from the screen. We shall duly miss him although he promised to remain on the board and keep working just as hard.

12. Perspectives and program of activities for 2020-2021

2020 will be a relatively quiet year for the AEPM, if only because its principal financial operation – the organization of the annual conference – has been cancelled because of the pandemic. Though the annual conference is self-financing thanks to the considerable commitment on the part of the host museums, and to the conference fees which are automatically transferred to the host as the AEPM’s financial contribution, the event nevertheless generates a considerable amount of activity for the Association in terms of programming, financing and communication.

All conference fees for the Offenbach event which was cancelled because of the Covid-19 epidemic should have been reimbursed by now. If anyone has been overlooked please contact Stefan Soltek (stefan.soltek@offenbach.de) and he will sort out any residual problems with the ticketing agency.

We are, however, very hopeful that the conference will be reprogrammed for next Spring and that our next annual general meeting will return to the normal face-to- face format. The proposed dates are 22-23 May 2021. Our hosts, the Klingspor Museum and the Haus der Stadtgeschichte (Local History Museum), are still very keen to welcome us to Offenbach and, despite the uncertainty of the situation, the Mayor of the City has expressed his hope that it will be possible to re-programme the conference in his City’s museums next year. The final decision will obviously depend on the evolution of the epidemic over the coming months.

It should perhaps also be mentioned in passing that the International Association of Printing Museums’ biennial conference, which should have taken place in Cheongju (South Korea) in September 2020, has also been postponed indefinitely.

As for the AEPM’s online activities, they are continuing as usual and are not likely to incur any out of the ordinary expenses over the next twelve months. Early this year we subscribed to a new online tool, a robot which automatically checks all the internet addresses (Urls) present on our site – there are several thousand of them now! – and alerts us of the presence of any outdated or otherwise broken links in order that we can update or delete them. The unavoidable phenomenon of broken links is quaintly known in the trade as ‘link rot’. We were very agreeably surprised to find that the first checks turned up surprisingly few broken links. The sign perhaps that the Internet has become a more stable place to live – at least for webmasters!

We had hoped to be able to distribute the AEPM’s forthcoming publication – an illustrated selection of past conference papers – in person at the annual conference. But as the immortal Scottish bard, Robert Burns so aptly put it, ‘the best laid plans of mise and men gang aft agley’… and ours were derailed by the Covid-19. But the publication will be ready soon and should drop through your letterbox before the end of the year.

The annual membership drive was abandoned in the Spring of this year, by which time about a three-quarters of the membership had already renewed. Given the many difficulties which museums and heritage workshops were facing because of their closure during the lockdown, and in the light of cancellation of the conference (our main expenditure), it seemed unreasonable to pursue the membership campaign with our usual reminders, especially with respect to smaller, non- institutional organizations who are likely to have to face significant financial difficulties this year. For those organizations who have not yet renewed, membership will be maintained without payment until the end of the year.

As you will have already seen from the agenda, this year is important because it sees the statutory three-yearly renewal of the AEPM’s board of management. Personally, I will be standing down as Chair, a post which I have occupied since 2012, though I hope to be able to continue as an active board member. Guy Hutsebaut is also standing down for personal reasons. Though we will miss him greatly we wish him all the very best in his new-found and well-earned state of retirement from the Plantin-Moretus Museum. The other members of the board are all standing as candidates and are keen to continue with their duties if the annual general meeting so wishes. And we also have two new recruits who were co-opted in recent months and who are also eager candidates for the board.

The outgoing board is very keen to encourage other AEPM members to consider standing for the board this year. We of course know that it is difficult for active museum personnel to find time to commit themselves to voluntary work, even within a professional association. But the participation of active professionals – especially younger members – in the running of the Association is absolutely necessary if the Aepm is to be an effective voice promoting printing and graphic heritage and its institutions in the years to come. And for anyone who might be tempted, it is always worth bearing in mind that actively participating in the work of the AEPM is an excellent means of keeping in touch not only with the needs of its member organizations and the many challenges which they face, but also with their achievements and with new ideas and approaches to graphic heritage as they emerge from day to day. If you are interested please contact the Secretary at info@aepm.eu.

Finally, and optimistically, we hope that the next six months will see the return to something vaguely resembling normal for all of us.

13. Any other business

Besides the request to have an English translation of the financial reports following business was brought to the attention of the assembled members.

Marie Kympers recalled the ‘day of printing’ that was suggested by Susanne Richter at last year’s meeting in Turnhout.  It was taken up by the Belgian museums and many activities were planned. Also, at the Industriemuseum in Ghent. Alas the 15th March was the first day of the implementation of the restrictions relating to the outbreak of the pandemic and all was cancelled. The plan is to revive the event in coming years. If possible. This was seconded and supported by Susanne Richter from Leipzig.

May Tove Nyrud announced the Norsk Grafisk Museum (Stavanger, Norway) which is currently undergoing a complete makeover, and twill reopen in the Spring of 2021.

Joost Depuydt elaborated on the finishing of a large woodblock project at the Plantin Moretus Museum in Antwerp. In December a webinar meeting will be held, and further information will also be spread via the channels of the AEPM

After a word of thanks to all present, Alan Marshall closed the AGM.

Patrick Goossens (treasurer, acting secretary)

 

[1] Our data confidentiality policy can be consulted at https://www.aepm.eu/about-the- aepm/data-confidentiality-policy/.