I hope you have all had a restful time over the holiday season.

I feel I should be offering you a cheery new year’s message of some sort, with a pearl of wisdom or flash of insight to guide you on your way – but I’m afraid I am rather in the dark about what 2018 may hold and how we should prepare for it!

So I suggest that the OPUS way is perhaps to approach unfolding events with ‘negative capability’ – remaining open to whatever might emerge and resisting the temptation to think that we can design or deduce all the answers in advance.

OPUS reforms

This approach may also serve us well as the process of reform continues at OPUS. In the coming weeks, we will begin a consultation process on the board’s proposals for reforming its management and governance structure, with two main objectives in mind:

  • to make the vast majority of associates eligible to become full members, and
  • to break up my own role so that authority and responsibility for running OPUS can be distributed among members of a newly-elected board.

As these are changes with significant implications for OPUS, they cannot simply be imposed from on high; as the aim is to make OPUS more democratic, accessible and accountable but also more participative too, these ideals should be reflected in the process of change as well as in the result.

I will write again shortly with full details of our proposals so that all OPUS associates have a say in the decisions we take. In the meantime, please start thinking about the kind of OPUS you would like to belong to, and how it might be brought into being.

Volunteers needed

Even before the future comes to pass, however, OPUS needs help in the present tense. We depend on volunteer effort to sustain our activities and, at the moment, there are not enough of us to do everything. We particularly need help with the running of our 2018 conference, public events and Listening Posts, so do get in touch if you are able to help.

2018 Conference date

Finally, I can announce that next year’s conference will be held on 16-17 (and possibly 18) November 2018 at the offices of Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, Exchange House, Primrose Street, London EC2A 2EG.

I hope that we will be able to hold the first OPUS AGM with an expanded membership during the conference weekend, and elect members of a new board to take OPUS forward into a new era.

I look forward to seeing you at an OPUS event very soon.

Best wishes

Sandy Henderson
OPUS Director