Chairman's Chatter - August 2019

Chairman’s Chatter is published in the quarterly ART WORKS magazine for ART Members and those on the ART Training Scheme.

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Sitting at my desk I keep on getting distracted by excited tweets about Saturday’s Learning the Ropes Festival being hosted in Norwich. Nikki Thomas is posting about cakes so I know the day will be a success.

The Learning the Ropes Festival of Ringing is just one example of ART Members doing new things. This Autumn, Jane Pridmore is hosting a mini-conference in Dorset styled on the mini-conferences Paul Flavell has run in Surrey. And of course, Stephanie Warboys is again brilliantly organising the Learning the Ropes Masterclass in September for all our Level 5 Achievers.

ART down under

The ANZAB Festival in Hamilton, New Zealand, was followed by Module 1 and Module 2C courses on consecutive days.Tutors, Corinne Rule and David Smith were particularly glad to have the assistance of Kathi Downs, a trainee tutor at the final stage of her apprenticeship. Kathi has since been formally elected as an ART Tutor.Welcome to the team, Kathi.

Talking of New Zealand ringing, have a look at Dylan’s report of learning to ring in Wellington. I’ll be writing to Derek to persuade him to enter Dylan for a 2020 ART Award.

From bell handling to method ringing

Whenever I talk with those who run big training events for newer ringers a repeated theme emerges – it is poor handling that often holds people back when they start ringing methods. The ART Module 1 course obviously helps with the teaching of bell handling to a level where the new ringer can ring rounds. However, an ART Module 2 course can play a big role in developing and retaining ringers; introducing exercises that fine-tune bell handling skills and develop the foundation skills of striking and ropesight. Spending more time developing these skills before Plain Hunt and methods are introduced leads to faster and further progress later on.

The forward calendar is filling up, with 16 courses spread around the country, 10 of which are Module 2 courses of one flavour or another. Why not book a place on one this year?

Continuing a theme running through previous editions of ART WORKS, articles by Sonia Field and Vinni Sullivan show how running things differently can be very popular, very rewarding and produce results. More and more teachers are running foundation skills practices and they are always popular – Sonia isn’t the first teacher to have to introduce a waiting list.

ART Management Committee

It is a real pleasure to welcome Tim Sunter to the ART Management Committee.Tim is a graduate of the Birmingham School of Bell Ringing and went on, with his wife Jenny, to achieve his goal of restarting ringing at Brierley Hill, completing both his Module 1 and Module 2. How great is that – the first ART Management Committee member who has learned to ring on the Learning the Ropes scheme and is now teaching having completed the ART Training scheme.

Tim has spent most of his career in education as a maths lecturer and on the governing bodies of some impressive sounding educational establishments. He has also spent 21 years as an elected councillor, including five as leader. He has a masters degree in Education Management and Leadership and has been a visiting lecturer at the Institute of Local Government Studies at the University of Birmingham. So I’m really pleased that Tim has agreed to coordinate our Education Development activities.

Son of SmART Ringer

Our big IT project continues with the launch of our new events website – – which has just taken its first £1,000 worth of bookings. By the end of October all event bookings will be made through this website including next year’s conference. We are focussing now on developing a new online shop.

Work to inform the design of the database underpinning the new SmART Ringer is continuing, with my head spinning with process maps. Next week they start being dissected by the rest of the team – so no hard method ringing for me!

The Future

The Autumn will see a new President of the Central Council and a new Editor of the Ringing World. An exciting time for ringing, in which ART will continue its focus on excellence in teaching and constantly improving the learning experience of all ringers. We’re always on the look-out for new and better ways of doing this, so if you’ve got some interesting ideas, even if you’re not quite sure how to make them happen, please let me know.