[Lab] AGM

Ryan Stec ryanstec at artengine.ca
Mon Oct 20 00:24:54 EDT 2014

Hi Darcy,

To follow up on a few points that may help clarify things for yourself and
others on the list. This is a brief overview of the system of governance of
the organization. As I stated in the previous response there are other ways
to interact, but below is the formal framework.

Artengine is a non-profit member-based organization. Membership (up until
now) has been based on who pays their member dues, a very simple and open
concept. Members have a primary say in the operations of the organization.
The Annual General Meeting is for Members (you cannot attend if you have
not paid) to come together check the financials, meet the board members and
all the staff, give feedback and have the opportunity to provide direct
input to any major changes in high level policy.

This is different from a community. We have a Mod Lab community. There are
artists outside of that. There are audiences. There are Artlist
subscribers. All different over-lapping communities.

You can characterize membership as exclusive, but all membership is
exclusive by definition. All organizations need functional boundaries
otherwise they risk stretching themselves into meaninglessness. This is the
same with communities. We can say that everyone is welcome, and this may be
true, but a community does not include everyone. They have functional
limits, geographic ones, ones defined by interest or otherwise.

This membership structure (like the one we have) is very wide spread in
cultural organizations and non-profits of all kind in Canada. It is,
however, in need of updating, much like everyone else, and through the new
Canada Corporations Act, and so all non-profits in the country have been
looking at their By-Law structure.

Keeping in mind that this is the formal structure at the heart of
Artengine, to which you where mostly aware of, I hope I can make the
following point very clear:

By choosing not to attend the Annual General Meeting (never mind the active
encouragement of others not to attend) you forfeited your principal avenue
for participation in the operations of Artengine. As a member you received
all of the documents that where to be reviewed at the AGM and were aware of
the important discussion of the meeting, but choose not to participate in
the formal opportunity available to you. We invited you to the discussion,
and you decided not to join us. This kind of communal project is not only
about voicing an opinion. It is also about participation and

Finally, we will, of course, take your criticism into consideration.
Communication can be improved. Transparency can also be improved. We are
working on this.

On a personal note Darcy, I have been involved with Artengine for a long
time and have put alot of myself into this organization, largely because I
think both its community and its output are important. It is unfortunate to
be categorized as a faceless controller. I am happy to continue talking
about all of this, Artengine and more, in this public forum, but only if it
is given the kind of care that face-to-face interaction is given. We
provide this forum for constructive communication and we hope that extends
from working and helping each other on projects to how you approach and
interact with the organization itself.

Kind regards,
Ryan Stec
Artistic Director


Ryan Stec
Artistic Director
2 Daly Ave.        Ottawa, ON
K1N 6E2          613.686.1941

Ottawa Mini-Maker Faire
Co-presented with The CMST and Artengine
August 16th and 17th


Read the Driving Creativity Blog at artengine.ca/blog

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On Sun, Oct 19, 2014 at 10:43 PM, Darcy Whyte <darcy at siteware.com> wrote:

> Your note is appreciated. My questions aren't answered though.
> Yes, it was awkward (but necessary) to meet with people on the AGM night.
> There were people who are not in the invited group and other outsiders.
> People that didn't want to attend and kicked out people. It's the law (in
> terms of retaining legal status) known to some but not to most. And it's
> not the law for non members, the general public and people that were just
> attending modlab. I knew my meeting would receive poop though. I'm
> interested in the wide community not just an inner group that controls a
> specific resource.
> I realize there are possible improvements to the *official *way to be a
> member of the community that is artengine (and mattering). Needing
> improvement is never a fault in itself.
> Does the controlling group want "members" to know what's going on and have
> their input?
> If so it's easy (regardless of legal structure). If there's some activity
> that includes both members and controlling group then it might be natural
> (activity among members is good, ways of members discovering each other).
> AGM might not be a good example since it represents a small amount of time
> each year and not a real time for dialogue (outside of telling what's up).
> If it was called the MGM that'd be different. But nobody's invited to that.
> Some members (I'm assuming they are members since they say or think they
> are) tell me they would not recognize numerous of the people in the
> controlling group. This worth thinking about.
> On that note, at the moment it's hard to know if your a member. I
> personally think I might be. On one hand my membership has expired. On the
> other hand, I heard a rumor that the membership was status quo till the end
> of the year. Will there be communication on this? Surely I'm not the only
> member (or expired member) that missed the meeting. Or am I?
> A disconnect. Is this a fail of genuine interest (by the controlling
> group) or just some logistical, complicated business oogabooga?
> I understand private clubs and business and family businesses. I had some
> hope this was more of a communal project. That's more the issue here. But
> don't trivialize this as an expectation thing. Funds are given with some
> communal expectation right?
> By they way, don't think for a moment I think artengine doesn't do good.
> It clearly does. But I feel let down on wanting to be a member of your
> community and not just being a subscriber to service that comes and goes
> based on someone else's interest/convenience.
> Also don't think for a moment that I have not used obvious channels like
> talking to people in the organization to be involved in the usual way one
> would. Most of encounters were "resolved' by
> -not answering my questions,
> -some assertion that there are two sides, "members" and the organization
> (one makes decisions the other hears about them)
> -or asking for a some softness based on profound incompetence (Hanlon's
> Razor).
> Darcy
> subscriber
> --
> Darcy Whyte
> Software Since '88 siteware.com | Contact: darcy at siteware.com |
> 613-563-3634 by appointment
> Canada N 45° 25'03.1" W 75° 42'21.4"
> Art+ inventorArtist.com <http://inventorartist.com/> | Aviation
> rubber-power.com
> On Thu, Oct 16, 2014 at 3:53 PM, Ryan Stec <ryanstec at artengine.ca> wrote:
>> Hi Darcy,
>> In response to your questions.
>> All paid members where invited to the AGM, if you where a member in good
>> standing you where invited.
>> In our old system paying for service is tied to membership. This was one
>> of the reasons we offered reduced memberships at the AGM to encourage
>> members to participate in governance. Membership is also one of the key
>> legal structures of the organization. You must be a member to exercise your
>> vote in matters of legal importance to the organization, principally the
>> election of the board but other major changes to the bylaws.
>> Your point that if people don't know about stuff it's not a good tool is
>> inductive also of how the membership structure as it stood was not a good
>> tool for development of the organization. We are working to make tools for
>> Artengine that work.
>> The reality that as an active member you choose to suggest another
>> meeting, while the AGM was occurring, rather than encouraging participation
>> in the process seems also telling of a need for change.
>> One of the important points we raised at the meeting last night is that
>> this is only one small aspect of how people participate in the direction
>> and operation of the organization. There are a number of other ways
>> including volunteering, casual conversation, discussions on this list,  and
>> even just plain use of the space.
>> We hope the new membership will offer deeper engagement with the
>> organization and with each other. Thanks for those who participated in the
>> process and we look forward to speaking with everyone about how to continue
>> to improve Artengine.
>> Cheers
>> Ryan Stec
>> Artistic Director
>> Artengine
>> ---------
>> Sent from a mobile device.
>> I'm glad the meeting was a success.
>> Dave wasn't invited to the AGM. If people don't know about stuff then it's
>> not a good tool. Was the AGM announced outside of sending invites out to a
>> private list?
>> That's good to know that there's a 5 percent rule. Has that been in play
>> for the past years?
>> How may members are there? Nobody really knows who is a member. The member
>> list athttp://artengine.ca/community/members-en.php doesn't seem to be a
>> good reflection of membership. Or is it?
>> To know if there are 5% of members interested in something the members
>> need
>> to be able to find each other.
>> _______________________________________________
>> Lab mailing list
>> 1. subscribe http://artengine.ca/mailman/listinfo/lab
>> 2. then email Lab at artengine.ca to send your message to the list
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