The Future

The following is an outline of initiatives that will form a five-year plan to raise the Society’s profile and increase our engagement with the public whilst increasing and broadening support for our charitable activities.

The preparation of the five-year plan is in progress, but Council has committed to pursuing the following:

  • A programme of summer exhibitions at Burlington House. Starting with our picture collection in 2014, we will move on in 2015 to celebrate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta with an exhibition of our three copies of the charter and a series of public lectures
  • Expanding our successful public lecture series
  • Increasing the number of research and public policy seminars. The autumn of 2013 saw a major two- day conference on the 1913 Ancient Monuments Act, a “hustings” where four politicians outlined their party’s views on archaeological services, and two research seminars
  • Increasing our research Grant programme with the introduction of a new award for projects running for three years
  • Developing remote digital access to our superb research Library and Museum Collections
  • Building on the success of Kelmscott Manor and the Conservation Management Plan to broaden the appeal of our historic properties and collections to include the archaeology and history of the estate before and after William Morris’s residency, and explore Morris’s enduring influence

Council is also committed to reform of governance and structure of the Society. The Fellowship survey clearly identified a need to involve Fellows outside London and around the world in the activities of the Society, and we wish to extend the network of already excellent regional Fellows groups that exist in Wales, York and now South West England. All these initiatives will require a modernisation of the Statutes to allow greater transparency and easier governance of the Society, and Council is committed to following up the work undertaken by the of the statute review panel in 2012. Finally, we will improve communications with the Fellowship and the public with new digital communication efforts.

These are a very ambitious set of objectives, particularly if we are to strengthen the Society’s finances whilst doing so. This can only be achieved if we are able to secure funding from individuals and external grant-giving bodies. Council, Committees, sub-committees and staff are all working hard to secure this funding. However, even with appropriate funding, we can only succeed if Fellows continue to become more involved by giving lectures, organising conferences, establishing and running regional groups and helping with fundraising, to give just a few examples. At a time of extreme financial pressure on our sector, the Society must do all it can to tell the public about the importance of the care for and study of the material remains of the past.