by Barry Moore, Glasgow Branch Chairman, and Website Editor, 28 June 2013
The 47th AGM of the SCA was held on 8th June in the impressive surroundings of the Court Senate Suite at the University of Glasgow, courtesy of the Confucius Institute. Nearly 30 members and friends attended and, after the formal business, listened to a fascinating presentation by Professor Jane Duckett entitled “Extending citizen participation in China”. We hope that a version of this will appear in Sine in due course. Finally, we enjoyed a musical interlude from Eddie McGuire and Yulu Wang, and a buffet lunch.
The AGM was also notable for the “retirement” of Euan Petrie as National Secretary after 19 years service. In his final report in this role, Euan noted he had been a member since 1988, and seen many changes in personnel, administration, finance and communications with members.
He added that, “for me a major difficulty has been membership – although there is now a great interest in China, this hasn’t always been reflected in our membership”. In 1988 membership was just over 100, now it is around 170, although at one point it approached 250. Achieving that again would, he felt, require a vast amount of effort, which may be difficult to maintain for a voluntary organisation.
One major change which he had seen, and indeed played a large part in achieving, has been much greater use of electronic means of communication. “19 years ago”, he explained, “it was 100% post and telephone, and we had no website – now we have an excellent website, our Yahoo mailing list, and around a third of members using email for most SCA business”.
Euan also noted that in the last two decades, and especially more recently, other groups have emerged covering different aspects of Scotland's relationship with China, such as the China Britain Business Council, Ricefield Arts and Cultural Centre in Glasgow, Confucius Institutes and some student organisations. However, most of these organisations have paid full time administrators and a healthier budget.
On the other hand, Euan said, “the SCA has had very satisfying successes on limited resources, such as our 30th Anniversary in Edinburgh, 40th Anniversary in Glasgow, numerous delegations to and from China, art exhibitions, the Chinese film festival in Glasgow, and much more”, adding “our members have been involved in many other initiatives to expand Scotland's links with China, such as city twinning and the expansion of Chinese in schools and higher education”.
At the end of the official business, Chairman Janice Dickson made a presentation to Euan, on behalf of the SCA, of a print of some well-known Clyde landmarks. This had been painted by Edinburgh-based Chinese artist Chi Zhang (see photo above), who specialises in rendering Scottish scenes in a Chinese style.