Dun in Mara brainstorming day

9 minute read

Dun in Mara held a brainstorming day on Monday 3rd June. These are the notes from that meeting.

Present: Agnes des Illes (Chair), Sela de la Rosa, Aodhan dha Cheist, Sebastian of Dun in Mara, Aodh O’Siadhail, Aoífe ní Aodhagáin, Anneleyn Cornelise, Duncan Chaucer , Cernac the Navigator, Kathryn of Dun in Mara, Genevieve la flechiere (remotely, part of day)

12:30 pm: Welcome & Intro

Agnes welcomed everyone and indicated that in order to complete the full agenda we needed to start despite not everyone being present. We have a quorum so it’s possible to make binding decisions should we need to.

Review of Agenda

We have a large agenda, we will be strict to remain on topic in order to get everything in. Each topic has roughly half an hour. Dame Genevieve is unfortunately not going to be able to join us, however she will call in on a phone when possible. Minutes will consist of action points and important decisions.

12:35 pm: Recruitment

(Aoífe recording)

  • Where do we want to be in 3 years?
  • Chatelaine Office
  • Online Presence
  • Recruiting Events
  • Practices – How do we convert people coming to practices to members

Aoífe suggested that Meetup might be a good place to advertise our events and practices. Sela will talk to Neil about his experiences of Meetup for improv. After a positive reply from Neil it was decided to try Meetup for six months at the cost of approximately €60 to see if it’s effective for us. Aoífe will set up a paid account and organize the events being posted.

The Shire has decided to focus on developing our YouTube channel, we will not worry too much on production values in favor of putting out content. Someone will take ownership of the existing channel, Sela will spearhead organizing this, Duncan has agreed to assist in August.

All officers will make an effort to post more to the instagram account. We should link events and look into creating stories. Aoífe will make sure that everyone has the instagram password. We will not put time into Twitter at the moment. We need to start figuring out how the story functionality works as this is a very popular medium for younger people.

The shire will organize a photoshoot for publication purposes, Aoífe will check with Francesca to see if she’s willing to help with this, Duncan has volunteered to do this as well after the wedding.

Aodh will locate the photographer for the Drimnagh Revel and make sure we have access to the photos.

Sebastian will get an email address for Tallaght Archery.

Aoífe will check with neighbors regarding using the field next to her house for archery or armored combat.

St Brendan’s National School Macauley Road is a possible location for a revel. (Duncan nominates Cernac to look at this.)

Agnes will organise a heralded tourney during a heavy practice. We would like to pursue something similar with fencing but don’t currently have an organiser for this on the local level.

Aodh will look into St Catherine’s Park for outdoor practices, after the meeting we will post the minutes and ask for more help organizing.

Aoífe will organise a blog post about fabric and garb for newcomers.

Sela and Aoífe will have a conversation about putting an A&S census spreadsheet on the website (possibly permanent, possibly renewed periodically).

Aodh will make a point of putting more effort recruiting a Chatelaine.

1:40 pm: Break

1:50 pm: Newcomer Retention

(Sela recording)

  • Orientation Checklist
  • Welcome Wagon Volunteers
  • Recruitment Policy
  • Unaccompanied Minors

The Shire will establish a group of volunteers who will create a “checklist” for newcomer orientation and suggest parameters for how this will be set up for events. One person (not necessarily the Chatelaine) would take charge of a concise orientation session at the beginning of an event, and would take a “marshal in charge” role organising other people who identify themselves at the event as available specifically for newcomers to ask questions. They will be trained in how to proactively approach newcomers to make sure their experience is as positive as possible.

Volunteers willing to participate in a group: Aoífe, Kate, Aodh, Sebastian, Cernac, Anneleyn, Duncan, Aodhan. Various formats for this group were suggested including a guild or other more loose organizational structure. We will pilot this in Dun in Mara with the view of possibly recommending it for expanding it to the Principality if the pilot is successful.

The members decided there was no reason to create a written recruitment policy.

Aodh described what he’s researched regarding how to handle unaccompanied minors under law. He will refer to CIC re equivalent of society policy on minor participation (general participation, combat participation, medical waiver.)

Agnes will work on paperwork regarding minors participating in heavy, including such things as parental consent forms for practice as well as for travel.

Consider tents as hangout spaces for events. Owners must be happy to bring it, and get assistance in setting it up. Aoífe will price fabric for a shadefly and organise it being made.

Sela will set up a contact form on the website with “in the meantime, here’s info about what we do…”

2:30pm Demos

(Sela recording)

  • How many should we aim to do per year?
  • How effective are they?
  • What venues?

Aodh: reconsider where we have demos. Traditionally game conventions, where the competition is steep. A practice in a public space is kind of a demo and more likely to be functional.

Discussion of locations and target markets. Bang per escudo. May be better spending time on youtube than an in person demo. Though there’s a lot to be said for letting people hold the swords. Possibly have days where we make banners & decorations for the shire.

Anneleyn will organise “pimp my shire” weekends after September

Aodhan will organise a discussion about Worldcon, possibly online.

We will be marching in Pride, with a Pride Revel afterwards. What do we do there?

Aodh to confirm rules on what we can carry on the march.

Aodh will make a flyer for Pride.

Sela to find out if we can use candles at the Pride revel site.

3:00pm Diversity Policy

Agnes will write a web page on diversity. Inclusive of everybody regardless of ability, gender, etc, etc.

3:30 pm Finances

  • Financial Overview – How much of a cushion do we need to maintain?
  • Fundraising
  • Practices
  • Events

Coronet was expensive, through no fault of the event steward. Miscalculation on family rooms - 3 rooms not booked was c. €1000 not paid in. Overall event looking to be around €1500 loss.

Archery is not paying for itself - practices overall are currently at around €300 loss. Do we need to move archery to twice a month? Aodhan argues that twice a month may lose the space, and/or lose participants. Cernac suggests: cut down to 2 hours (deemed possible), and/or subscription per month (deemed not so effective). Aoífe also points out that non-converting people are an issue, how about charging non-members more? Cernac completely disagrees, suggests discount for members. We started out the meeting talking about where we want to be with regard to getting more members; this gets us more members.

The committee has decided that our practice price structure will be as follows: €10 flat, members €8, unwaged €6, unwaged members €5.

The archery schedule will be changed to 2 hours per night from 7pm to 9pm.

Aoífe to arrange session to discuss how much cushion we need to keep in the account - how much can we commit to events? Planning for events, fundraising? Looking for volunteers to discuss. Aodh and Aodhan volunteered to assist with this.

All events stewards who have not yet done a wrapup with the Exchequer will do so.

Fundraising: All going well, Cruinniu will happen again next year. All going well, Duke Sean of Artemisia will come along. He has a descending lineage of doom, and a good YouTube channel. Willing to come over on holiday, but will cost him. Is it possible to subsidise that? Profit from heavy? Fundraising?

Aoífe suggests a regular annual auction - goods, services, assistance with translation or transcription, tailor-made items.

Anneleyn suggests a buy-a-fighter setup, where you bid on a fighter, and the fighter chooses a prize for the bidder. Could do as a revel item.

Sonnets for sale, €10 each. Shire paraphernalia for sale. €15 per mug, customisable available for €20 or €25. Worker auction? Rent-a-performer? Sponsor a performance. Sponsor at three events, get a Patron of the Arts scroll.

Aoífe will drive any fundraising activities, press-ganging people as necessary.

4:15 pm Break

5:15 pm 2020 Events

(Aodh recording)

  • Events – What do we want to do in 2020
  • Kingdom/Principality
  • Lough Devnaree
  • Revels

What do we want to do next year? We don’t have any further events planned this year thus far. (Alays is running Yuletide, for Glen Rathlin)

Cruinniú will run next year, there may be a food event, there may be Festival of Fools. Champions of Lough Devnaree is scheduled to be run by Glen Rathlin. The shire should have AN event, but it doesn’t have to be one of the already-named ones; people shouldn’t feel bound by previous events. The June Bank Holiday shouldn’t be let slip, though.

A draft checklist has been discussed. An Autocrat’s Handbook (bleaaah) exists. Ours would be “here is how to run an event in Clara”, “how to run an event in Newgrange Lodge”. Aodhan has ideas and will compose the checklist.

Idea: “How to run events” class. Aodhan mentions he reckons he can get it into the Yuletide University schedule, having an in with the event steward.

We need to look for other sites, but it’s difficult - many of them are expensive.

Cernac will look up the contact details for St. Brendan’s, and make contact.

Dun in Mara will aim to run 4 Revels per year, the following have volunteered: Duncan (autumn), Cernac (spring), and Anneleyn (summer).

6:15pm Practices

(Aoífe recording)

  • What do we need to take these to the next level?
  • Gear
  • Web Presence

Actively look for new venues for practices, possibly Maker Spaces, possibly rent one space for approx €800 per month instead of having different venues. In the meantime a new venue for armored practice is a priority.

Agnes & Cernac will discuss loaner gear.

Sebastian will drive arrow making at Yuletide University, if he’s not available he will organize a replacement.

Cernac will check with Jasper regarding back of head protection; he may have some that we can purchase off him.

Anneleyn will organize purchase of Ikea’s Minna fabric for making hoods for fencers; we will ask monetary contribution and labor from fencers to make the hoods.

Aodh will look at a Patreon like service to support Dun in Mara.

Aoífe will research a wish list for items that the Shire needs for invitations to contribute in terms of paying for a concrete item.

Anneleyn and Agnes will discuss scheduling Dance class substituting for armoured combat. Optionally also dancing warmup for practice run by Anneleyn.

Cernac will investigate a storing cabinet for fencing gear.

7:00 pm Closing Discussion

(Aoífe recording)

  • Working Groups
  • Assets
  • What do we have?
  • What do we need?
  • How do we manage it?
  • Lough Devnaree
  • Intra Island Cooperation
  • New Shire Sponsorship

Asset Working Group: Agnes, Aodh, Aoífe, check with Jasper if he can participate.

Lough Devnaree - Tabled to next meeting

Scheduling future Business Meetings & Brainstorming Days

The next business meeting is tentatively scheduled for the 6th of September, the next Brainstorming day will be scheduled then.

7:30 pm Close Meeting