The Association for Qualitative Research
The Hub of Qualitative Thinking

AGM 2001: A time of change

It's that time of year again: the AGM. Sad to note that it also represents the swansong of AQR chair Rachel Ormrod and vice chair/honorary secretary Mike Imms. The next issue will bring you up to date with their successors.

The result of the committee elections, announced at the AGM, mean that Philly Desai, Sally Fairall and Ann Whalley have been re-elected, co-optees Sheila Keegan, Oliver Murphy, Vincent Nolan and Jessica Pumphrey have been formally elected, as have newcomers Monika Bhaduri, Anne Hastings and Tim Porter.

We send thanks to all those who stood, and commiserations to those who didn't make it on to the Committee this time. Rest assured, though, that you'll still be called on for help!

It's been a successful year for the Association, but one that has thrown up as many questions as answers. "Originally, AQR was set up on the platform of its being 'run by members for members'," said Ormrod. "The fact that the membership is now calling for the Association to have a higher external profile is, I feel, evidence of its success and maturity.

"Faster and greater development raises important issues over resourcing both in terms of money and manpower, though, and the Association will need to make some important decisions in the coming months if members' demands are to be progressed."

So what has been achieved? These are some of the milestones: Training continues to form the backbone of AQR's offering, in the careful hands of Philly Desai and his team.

Events ranged from the 7th annual Trends Conference, entitled 'In Search of Truth', masterminded by Mike Imms, to our Christmas Party. As for the next Trends, to be held on 29 October, the theme to date is 'realignment', looking at how society is reshaping, with papers on such diverse topics as spirituality; anti-capitalism; football; politics and economics. Last year's International Dinner, meanwhile, organised by Fiona Jack, attracted record numbers.

The jewel in this year's events calendar, however, was the first Joint AQR/QRCA International Conference in Paris at Easter. Entitled 'Qualitative Research in the 21st Century', some 170 delegates from 25 countries attended ­ a huge achievement ­ due to the efforts of Ann Ward, Kevin McLean and Fiona Jack.

Professional Standards sees the qualitative recruitment guidelines near publication, nurtured by Ann Whalley, setting standards that we hope will be adopted throughout the QR industry.

Field's work has increased this year, driven by Liz Sykes, Sally Fairall and Joanna Hill, with the launch of the first Field Survey, and a Field Rates Survey planned. It's very much a case of 'Watch this space', with lots of ideas in the pipeline.

Independents are still well served, with the Networker Survey now in its 8th year. The latest questionnaire was drafted and written up by Joanna Hill, aided by Mike Imms. Joanna is currently planning our next event targeting independents and MDs of small research agencies.

New Researchers are to be catered for a new committee, chaired by Lucy Golding. The first event, a talk at the ad agency WCRS, will be reviewed in the next issue.

Marketing has been working hard to promote the Association, AQR's sponsored book Qualitative Research in Context and at looking at ways of increasing the membership, and the Association's reach.

Public Relations sees Camargue well installed as our PR agency, with a brief to be both reactive and pro-active. Committee input comes from Ann Whalley, Jessica Pumphrey and Sheila Keegan, who work on both PR and Marketing, with Gareth Roberts having been co-opted on to the Marketing committee.

The Web Site was revamped by <a href=https://www.skillzone.net>Skillzone</a> and relaunched this February, to positive feedback, with traffic growing every month (2,000-plus visitors in May). Vince Nolan is the Committee member in charge.

In Brief, after five years in existence, is in the process of having a face lift. Oliver Murphy is working with Louella Miles, the Editor, on reviewing its form, content and feel.

Directory 2001, thanks to Rose Molloy and her assistant, Angela Webb, hit a new record with 361 entries.

It's been a bumper year. The challenge now is to build on it.

 

Louella Miles
Copyright © Association for Qualitative Research, 2001