Well, here we are: something rather unusual - a post without a picture, and a rather long one at that. But bear with me: I haven't lost my marbles (or at least I don't think I have).
If you've been reading this blog for a while (and thank you if you have) you might recall my post back in the summer about the Chartered Society of Designers. I'd thought really long and hard before I made that post: not because I had an agenda or ulterior motive; but simply because I was continuing to pay an annual subscription to an organisation that appeared, to me, to be giving very little in return. I had, in a way, already decided that maybe if I walked quietly away it could just get on and do what it wanted to do without any fuss. Trouble is, I can't just quietly give up simply by withholding my subscription. No, I have to formally resign. And that's a different matter, and one that does require some reflection and careful thought. And that's what I've been doing these past few months.
First of all, though, let me set the record straight. As of 3 July this year, I had not paid my annual subscription for 2008. But I did pay it shortly thereafter. I did so because I wanted to give the Society the benefit of the doubt. Maybe my concerns about lack of engagement simply reflected the fact that I'm not an active member these days. Maybe if I got myself more engaged (as I once was) I'd get more out of it again.
But before I did anything else, I wanted to take a closer look at what the Society was doing. And, as a consequence, what was actually happening with the money that I handed over. And so I decided to take a look at the accounts. Maybe that was a mistake, because the conclusion I reached was that income was in the decline and overheads were on the rise, and very soon the latter would overtake the former. Now that's a reality that all sorts of organisations have to deal with, and I'm quite sure that the Society is astute enough to be able to tackle that issue head on. But my concern was that my subscription over the past few years was simply allowing the Society to exist: nothing more, nor less, than that.
Anyway, fast forward to yesterday evening, when I attended the 33rd Annual General Meeting. I thought this might be the opportunity to re-engage, and to raise my concern in an open debate with those members who govern and take an active interest. And, do you know what? I might just as well have stood up and announced "the King is in the altogether". This isn't what the Society wants to hear, apparently, and I was called to be 'out of order' several times.
As a result, it's been made clear to me that, unfortunately, the Society doesn't want to have its washing aired in private, let alone in public. And I won't do that: it would do the Society no good at all.
But now I must resign. And resign, not because I'm getting nothing in return for my subscription. But resign because the governing Council has made crystal clear that it doesn't want dissent. And it doesn't want to hear uncomfortable truths. As such, I represent an impediment to the aims and aspirations for its hoped-for flourishing future. In short, it doesn't need members like me.
I wish it well. I really, really do.
But today is a very, very sad day, nonetheless.
UPDATE: A week later I reflected upon this very sad day, as described here.
If you are a member of CSD, I'd like you to email me: david(at)studiohyde.com.