I’m delighted to have become OPUS Director. My predecessor, Sandy Henderson, enabled some significant changes, leading to the adoption of a new model of governance recommended by the Charities Commission, a model that allocates specific responsibilities to the trustees, together with a new Articles of Memorandum, all with the intention of spreading the workload more equitably across the Board of OPUS.
As I am new in this role, I’d like to tell you a little about myself. I live in Ashbourne in Derbyshire and have an extended family of twelve grandchildren. I am retired but write on behalf of minority groups. My latest article is about Caribbean carnival, as a director of the East Midlands Caribbean Carnival Arts Network (EMCCAN). My first career was in photographic manufacturing (ILFORD Limited) where I became a photographic scientist. I managed its publications and packaging, and I wrote extensively about photographic processes, and became known by some for my landscape photography. As ‘analogue’ photography became replaced by digital photography I left ILFORD Limited and did other things. I started working with long-term unemployed people, and gradually became an advocate for asylum seekers in Derby, near my home. This drew me into another world, a new hugely rich world that I shall never forget. It gave me the courage to believe that we can all do something in our lives to make a difference to the lives of others – even if only in small ways.
I’m keen to encourage thinking about how OPUS might develop a plan for the future – not least its growth and deeper engagement with work it’s members are doing, at the coal face of our society. This must not be a rushed affair, but I do want to plant a seed – and as I have highlighted metaphorically to the Board – if I am the new conductor of the orchestra that is OPUS (and what a fine organisation it is) – where is the score? And to whom should we be performing this music? In this frenetic world our special perspective on the world can and must make a difference in the real lives of ‘others’.