[MEI-L] MEI Council Meeting, personal report

Benjamin Wolff Bohl bohl at edirom.de
Wed May 29 15:21:45 CEST 2013

Dear [MEI-L]isteners,
I herby provide  you with my personal summary of the MEI Council Meeting 
held on Friday 24 from 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm at the end of Music Encoding 
Conference 2013 at the Academy of Science and Literature, Mainz May 21 
to 24.

Please respect the fact, that this is my personal sight on the meeting 
and I was not officially appointed to take minutes, although I think 
nobody was, and this is why I decided on sending this.

Addition on corrections of my below statements are very welcome, 
directly on MEI-L.


The MEI Council Meeting was set to be open for everybody; not only 
members of the council attended, but also others interested in the 
discussion and willing to contribute. All in all more than 20 people 
were present (please excuse if anyone attending is missing on the list 
or any of the names are spelled wrong, feel free to correct me on this):

1. Johannes Kepper
2. Gabriele Buschmeier
3. Karen Desmond
4. Christine Siegert
5. Kristina Richts
6. Maja Hartwig
7. Anna-Maria Komprecht
8. Daniel Röwenstrunk
9. Sigfrid Lundberg
10. Peter Stadler
11. Nikolaos Beer
12. Donald Byrd
13. David Meredith
14. Richard Freedman
15. Eleanor Selfridge-Field
16. Stefan Morent
17. Joachim Veit
18. Guiliano Di Bacco
19. Craig Stuart Sapp
20. Tore Simonsen
21. Laurent Pugin
22. Axel Teich Geertinger
23. Perry Roland
24. Daniel Pitti (chairing the meeting)
25. Andrew Hankinson
26. Benjamin W. Bohl

In his introductory words to the question "Where to from here?", Daniel 
Pitti (chairing the meeting) emphasized on the fairly remarkable 
progress, that MEI had made in terms of making it a community project. 
During the short amount of time from first collaborations in 2007 and 
2009. The funding received through DFG/NEH Bilateral Digital Humanities 
Program from 2009 to 2013 helped disseminating the ideas of MEI and 
motivate additional researchers. With quite an amount of growth during 
the past few years MEI can proudly say to have something like a 
community, today.

All in all the meeting was an open round of brain storming and 
discussion of ideas brought up concerning, as main topics:

1) funding development of MEI and the MEI Council
2) current and future organization of MEI and the MEI Community

1) funding development of MEI and the MEI Council

In the light current funding ending this year and a third DFG/NEH 
funding having been denied, the first topic discussed was future funding 
of MEI community and especially face-to-face meetings of Technical Team 
and Council. Many suggestions were put forward, but eventually it became 
clear, that the funding programs mostly target at individual projects 
considering implementations of MEI for specific projects, and that they 
would not directly support development of MEI the same way as in recent 

At that point discussion moved towards current structure and 
organization and possible future forms or organization for the MEI 

2) current and future organization of MEI and the MEI Community

a) current organization

Although there was general consensus that the current MEI Council is a 
worthwhile group that is very helpful to have, certain problems were put 
forward. A lack of transparency, especially regarding how to opt in or 
out, and what exactly the Council's role is;  acting more like an 
advisory board, than as steering group for MEI or how its work is 
related to that of the Technical Team. It was recognized that this might 
discourage new potential contributors to MEI (MEI Community) from 
getting in touch, which some of the guests confirmed.

b) future organization

A multifaceted discussion and brain-storming of possible models for 
future MEI Community organization followed. Topics of major interest 
included questions as:
- Whether members to a council/advisory board/steering group should be 
- How such a group should and could reflect the peer groups of the 
- How could a legal status of such a group be achieved; in order to for 
instance sign letters of support on behalf of MEI Community?
- and many more

Most prominent during this discussion was an offer presented by Gabriele 
Buschmeier from the Mainz Academy. She put forward the idea to install 
MEI as an "Arbeitskreis" (working group) at Mainz Academy, which needs 
to be convened by a member of the Academy. She promised  to determine 
the possibilities of hosting MEI at the Academy, and talk to Prof. Dr. 
Kurt Gärtner, whether he could imagine to act as convenor for this. In 
this context the MEI Community would be mostly free to organize itself, 
with the Academy providing full support for all administrative issues 
and serving as legal entity behind MEI. The offer was greatly 
appreciated by the attendants.

Nevertheless, as sound reorganization of the MEI Community structures 
needs thorough discussion and planning and should not hamper the 
momentum that has caught the MEI Community. Thus Eleanor 
Selfridge-Field's proposal to install the following two groups, in 
addition to the current MEI Council, was accepted:

I) An *Interim Steering Group* for MEI Community

as a smaller group of people that could act on behalf of the MEI 
Community until clearer organization and structures are developed and 
decided upon. As one main subject to deal with, this group should 
negotiate formal collaboration with the Mainz Academy as described 
above. This group was decided to be staffed with Gabriele Buschmeier, 
Perry Roland, Johannes Kepper and potentially Kurt Gärtner (Member of 
the Academy, to be asked).

II)  A *Strategy Development Group*

assigned to come up with proposals for a new organization of MEI. This 
group should represent the complete MEI Community, including delegates 
from peer groups that might not be involved at the moment. For this 
reason, it was proposed to use MEI-L to gather interested parties for 
this basically open group.
For practical reasons, an initial group of volunteers was set up, which 
consists of:
   - Axel Teich Geertinger,
   - Laurent Pugin, (@Laurent: as you were proposed while shortly 
absent, is this your will?)
   - Christine Siegert, and
   - Benjamin W. Bohl.

**Call for Participation**  Anyone interested in joining this group 
please communicate this by replying to this message via MEI-L.
If there are no objections I would like to volunteer for coordinating 
the formation of this group during this initial phase.

The preliminary schedule for this group is to draft at least two 
proposals for future organization of the MEI Community within the next 
year; bringing these proposals to discussion both in MEI Council and MEI 
Community, for decision.
It was agreed, that transparency and avoidance of bureaucratic overhead 
should be essential features of new structures, and democracy and 
participatory aspects should be considered likewise, but without 
neglecting efficient and simple structures. This might include careful 
reconsideration of  the current structures (MEI Council and MEI 
Technical Team) that nevertheless have proved to be very helpful and 
effective fostering the interest of MEI Community and bringing it to ist 
current shape.
It was also agreed that once new structures and forms of organizing MEI 
Community should be established, these would be examined after a number 
of years, with the option to revert or change to a different model.


With best regards,
Benjamin W. Bohl

Musikwissenschaftliches Seminar Detmold/Paderborn
BMBF-Projekt "Freischütz Digital"
Benjamin Wolff Bohl
Gartenstraße 20
D--32756 Detmold

Tel. +49 (0) 5231 / 975-669
Fax: +49 (0) 5231 / 975-668
E-Mail:bohl at edirom.de


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