• John Harrison
    374
    On the other hand if I go to a simulator practice the content is pretty certain to be advertised in advance and I can decide if it's right for me.John de Overa

    Just to clarify, i assume by simulator practice you mean a session where people can each ring with a simulator, is the other ringers are perfect and what you ring is chosen just for you. Obviously they are more focused, and more time efficient if you have enough simulators for everyone to ring at once (in separate virtual towers). We find they are popular too, but generally with the same enthusiastic elementary ringers, not with the mass who rarely attend anything.
    So I question the assumption that the organisation won't change but the members would if given the chance. That doesn't fit our experience.
  • John de Overa
    402
    This discussion seems to be going down the path of blaming everything on a nonexistent caricature of ringing.John Harrison

    Or it could be going down the path of people in areas where things are relatively OK not really understanding how bad they are in some other areas?
  • John de Overa
    402
    you mean a session where people can each ring with a simulatorJohn Harrison

    Yes, but not exclusively. I've also been to quite a number of half/full day training sessions where the simulator is used for sound control, and there's homework in advance.

    I question the assumption that the organisation won't change but the members would if given the chance. That doesn't fit our experience.John Harrison

    Your experience doesn't match what I see in the four different associations that I ring in. I accept that the picture is not the same everywhere, but I don't think we should downplay the seriousness of the problems ringing faces in some areas just because it's not universal.

    Agreed it's difficult to reach towers that have been in stasis for many years, but if we can't engage with and motivate existing ringers, what makes us believe we'll be successful with non ringers? And more to the point, why did those towers end up that way in the first place?
  • John Harrison
    374
    I don't think we should downplay the seriousness of the problems ringing faces in some areas just because it's not universal.John de Overa

    I agree we shouldn't ignore the problems because some people are doing good things, but equally I don't think it helps to imply the opposite, that everything ringing societies do is bad, That all good ringers are intimidating and never do anything to help learners. Real life is a hell of a lot more complex.
  • John de Overa
    402
    Indeed it is, and what I said is more complex than "experienced ringers and societies are all bad".
  • A J Barnfield
    215
    Thank you for the link. That is an excellent recruiting video. Following the links it looks like everyone will contact Rose at ART. Stand by Rose; sharpen your pencil.
  • Sue Marsden
    33

    "I fully believe that nobody tries to directly humiliate ringers at branch practices but it's not about how you or other branch committee members see things from your side, it's about how less experienced ringers see if from theirs. I can assure you that many ringers in the lower ranks don't participate at branch practices because they find them very intimidating, even if that isn't the intention. "Hearing better ringing" can be a huge demotivator if it appears to be unachievable "

    Strangely, I can actually remember my first District meetings when I was a very basic, plain hunt ringer. I didn't find it the least intimidating. I was becoming aware of different standards of ringing and ringers and realized that ringing at such events was a way to improve. Did I think it was unachievable? I don't know, but I knew I had to try, and if I didn't mix with better ringers I had no chance of doing so. I remember hearing my first course of surprise major and my one thought was "wow, this is amazing" and wanting to be able to do it too.
  • John de Overa
    402
    and I was exactly the same, but this isn't about you or me, it's about why:

    Many ringers are only interested in ringing at their own towers and do not want to progress, let alone improve.Sue Marsden

    I think it's unlikely that anyone takes up ringing with the aim of becoming a poor ringer and resolutely staying that way, yet the consensus seems to be that's a significant problem. Why is that happening? I'm sure there's neither a simple answer or a simple solution, but clearly it's something that needs fixing, and urgently.
  • Alan C
    94
    I am slightly bemused by the emphasis on structure. In central government there have been numerous attempts to solve problems with restructures. These normally eased problems in some areas, but then created all new problems in others. What they always failed to address was that the capabilities and resources of those within any of the structures didn’t change merely because they’ve been restructured.

    So I applaud the efforts to up-skill ringers, but I’m not convinced of the merits of replacing one regional level structure with another. In voluntary organisation, you only have as much authority as people are prepared to give you.
  • A J Barnfield
    215
    I agree that people as well as structures need to be considered. I also agree that just swapping one regional organisation with another might not, in itself, bring solutions. There are a number of factors to consider. There was a series of articles about the history of the Salisbury Guild in the RW a bit back (written by Robert Wellan?). In one of those articles there was reference to proposed branch restructuring. I don't think that the restructuring took place but someone had put up a list of criteria that, IIRC, was a very useful list for looking at structures, and not just branches. I'll try to find it. Others might well be quicker than me.

    Personally I am at a point where I don't think that much by way of solution is now possible, at least not some over-arching plan. I think we are more at the stage of trying to pull bits out of a crumbling heap and trying to get something to work at a locallish level, best we can. Probably always been like that.
  • A J Barnfield
    215
    Here we go:

    RW 4/2/22 p116

    The Shirley Rymer ‘Review’ 1999

    "‘(a) The Branch
    should be fairly compact shape … (b) Church
    groupings should be respected … (c) Natural
    groups should be respected e.g. village/
    town clusters … (d) Ringing links should be
    considered e.g. towers whose ringers often
    visit each other’s practices … (e) Strongly felt
    historical links should be noted.’ Shirley’s
    proposals were not adopted."

    Having re-read it the list really only applies to the bottom structure such as clusters, districts, branches and does not mention people as such.
  • John Harrison
    374
    yes, all pretty much common sense, useful for tweaking boundaries to solve the odd anomaly, but not for changing anything fundamental.
    Some years ago Sussex had a more radical proposal that would have changed things bu iirc wasn't adopted. Maybe someone from Sussex can comment.
  • Tristan Lockheart
    111
    In central government there have been numerous attempts to solve problems with restructures. These normally eased problems in some areas, but then created all new problems in others. What they always failed to address was that the capabilities and resources of those within any of the structures didn’t change merely because they’ve been restructured.Alan C

    But if we changed structures so that the limited pool of people willing to lead or organise could focus their efforts on the tasks with the greatest benefit, then we would be able to do more. We also might be able to do something about the relationship, ensuring that we can at least suitably replace everyone who steps down from leadership and organisation.

    We also know that there are a number of people fed up with the current system, and thus reforming the system and attracting them back to organising and leading ringing could inject additional capabilities and resources into the system.
  • Tristan Lockheart
    111
    We also might be able to do something about the replacement rate, ensuring that we can at least suitably replace everyone who steps down from leadership and organisation.
  • Sue Marsden
    33

    "I think it's unlikely that anyone takes up ringing with the aim of becoming a poor ringer and resolutely staying that way, yet the consensus seems to be that's a significant problem. Why is that happening? I'm sure there's neither a simple answer or a simple solution, but clearly it's something that needs fixing, and urgently."

    I'm sure they don't, and I don't mind if they are only happy ringing call changes or plain hunt, but I quite often hear words to the effect of- I come here to enjoy myself and don't want to be always told to keep my backstrokes in. This happened with one of our Sunday Service ringers. She just could not seem to hear that she was constantly, always, (practically) late and that it spoilt the whole ringing as either the bell after her had to hold up so we got slower and slower (not good on a 26cwt8), or smash into her which sounded dreadful. This type of ringers seems not to appreciate that it is a public performance and should be the best we can do, and if someone neets telling to adjust the speed at which they are ringing, that is what happens. It's nothing personal but if they cannot hear for themselves and correct it, they will be told. If someone sang the wrong note in a choir or constantly sang flat they would soon get told, and I'm sure the choirmaster wouldn't tolerate the I'monlyheretohavefun attitude
  • Steve Farmer
    15
    Branch training events are only as good as those that are organising and supporting them, in my view they need to be very targeted either by aim(s), method(s) or ability, it is of little use to a new ringer to see a "Branch Practice" where the content can't be seen to be relevant. As a relatively new ringer, I still remember seeing a "Ringing Masters Practice" and the immediate thought was "Definitely not for me !" , expecting that they will be ringing "high brow" stuff, and because it was never explained, I still don;t know what they are, but I know enough people now that a) I feel I can ask without embarrassment and b) even if it is way above the level that I ring at, there will probably be an opportunity to hunt the treble to something, or bong behind at some point so I would go along with that sort of expectation, but my point is that I wouldn't have done that a couple of years ago ( pre-covid ) and in fact I didn't.

    In our tower, I am responsible for the teaching side of things, and I ensure that all our newer ringers know about the practices and guild ringing in good time ( youngsters especially have very busy diaries !) and then I arrange for appropriate transport and then go along as I know where the comfort zones and the stretch points are for them and can influence the practice and experience that they get, if they just went along on their own, they would tend not to jump forward and grab a rope because that is their nature, but when they do they love ringing with people far more competent than I am, and more importantly with guidance from a different voice than mine, and with far more experience!

    So my take is that it doesn't matter what sort of organisation a Guild or Branch is as far as opportunities for ringing are concerned, it takes someone in every tower to stand up and take on the responsibility for ensuring that all ringers have the support to improve themselves, they then can look around for, or even arrange sessions to suit.
  • Lucy Chandhial
    63
    So my take is that it doesn't matter what sort of organisation a Guild or Branch is as far as opportunities for ringing are concerned, it takes someone in every tower to stand up and take on the responsibility for ensuring that all ringers have the support to improve themselves, they then can look around for, or even arrange sessions to suit.

    I agree with this, the issue is how to find / generate that willing person in each tower who will support and encourage. This person needs time, commitment and interpersonal skills as well as an interest in seeing people progress and not every tower has someone like this.
    Developing more ringers with these skills and this willingness should be a focus as it makes the biggest difference to the experience of the ringers in the band but it is not easy and we might have to accept focusing on a few towers with strength to develop rather than trying to support all towers (and maybe come back to the left behind towers when the few are building bands of excess ringers AND willing tower captains / teachers / development supporters.
  • Simon Linford
    305
    We also know that there are a number of people fed up with the current system, and thus reforming the system and attracting them back to organising and leading ringing could inject additional capabilities and resources into the system.Tristan Lockheart

    That's an interesting point, but what would be attracting these people back? Presumably this is people who just live somewhere where they are fed up with the leadership of their local branch or district? Knowing that they could operate outside the existing 'system'? I have come across situations where people have thought they cannot organise some ringing because it was not in some way "approved".
  • A J Barnfield
    215
    Organising ringing outside of existing structures brings worries about liability and insurance. These worries would reduce if we were members of a DMO.
  • John Harrison
    374
    a DMO could offer such things, but I wonder whether their absence is that inhibiting? How many people organising peals, outings or whatever think about liability and insurance I wonder?
  • Jason Carter
    76
    As a relatively new ringer, I still remember seeing a "Ringing Masters Practice" and the immediate thought was "Definitely not for me !" , expecting that they will be ringing "high brow" stuff, and because it was never explained, I still don;t know what they are, but I know enough people now that a) I feel I can ask without embarrassment and b) even if it is way above the level that I ring at, there will probably be an opportunity to hunt the treble to something, or bong behind at some point so I would go along with that sort of expectation, but my point is that I wouldn't have done that a couple of years ago ( pre-covid ) and in fact I didn't.Steve Farmer

    Steve, all or your post is well put, but I am focusing on the above... Please don't be put off by what you might see as "higher quality of ability" ringing. Watching any ringing from the side offers huge benefits; because you are not having to try and control the bell. So you can focus one hundred percent of your attention on trying to see what is going on . This is hugely beneficial!!! If you can stand with a capable treble ringer who can talk you through what they are doing, you can learn a lot. I was lucky to learn in a 12 bell tower and I used to sit behind the tenor ringing Yorkshire Maximus. I didn't know the line at that stage but I could gauge what was happening and I learnt a lot from it. I range the treble to Cambridge minor today at a simulator practice and talked one of my learners who is not ready for treble bob yet through what i was doing. I am confident this will have helped their ropesite.

    The language of ringing is complicated. Please never think that you cant ask what something means. There is probably someone else thinking about asking the same question.

    And also, don't be intimidated by what you might see as more experienced ringers looking down their nose at you apparent lack of capability. There are some, I won't pretend that there are not, but most ringers remember where we came from, and are more than willing to ring to assist someone who is trying to learn something new.

    Please keep taking every opportunity to push yourself, and your learners forward.

    Jason
  • Simon Linford
    305
    Yes I think that goes on the list of possible benefits. Someone mentioned to me yesterday that if there was a 'membership card' of an organisation with 40,000 members you might start to get into the realms of negotiating discounts for things.
  • Tristan Lockheart
    111
    That's an interesting point, but what would be attracting these people back? Presumably this is people who just live somewhere where they are fed up with the leadership of their local branch or district? Knowing that they could operate outside the existing 'system'? I have come across situations where people have thought they cannot organise some ringing because it was not in some way "approved".Simon Linford

    Well, I think in some instances, there has been hostility towards people doing their own thing from local associations or individual officers within said guilds. And yes, a misapprehension that things need to be done under the auspices of a formal organisation.

    And the reason a lot of people have had issues with the association meetings wholly for procedural matters, any new ideas shot down instantly, stagnation in the leadership, the dreaded ‘annual training day’, the list goes on. If people had an organisation to just get on with the job with, then they could be attracted back to leadership and organisation.

    it takes someone in every tower to stand up and take on the responsibility for ensuring that all ringers have the support to improve themselves, they then can look around for, or even arrange sessions to suit.Lucy Chandhial

    That's one of the structural issues with ringing - you need a thought leader at every tower to drive things forward; there simply aren't enough to go around (even perhaps only for towers with 10 bells or more). The tower leaders are probably the most important (and critical) people in ringing. We all need to be fostering leadership and organising skills, even at an early stage.

    I’m forced to agree with you that it may be necessary to regroup to develop those skills at the towers where there is the most capacity to grow, then broaden coverage when we have significant numbers. A bit of focused energy at fewer towers could probably achieve more than spreading who we have too thinly across many towers to the detriment of quality mentoring.
  • Phillip George
    67
    That's one of the structural issues with ringing - you need a thought leader at every tower to drive things forward; there simply aren't enough to go around (even perhaps only for towers with 10 bells or more). The tower leaders are probably the most important (and critical) people in ringing. We all need to be fostering leadership and organising skills, even at an early stage.Tristan Lockheart

    Completely correct. It is also the only way to plan for succession IMO
  • John de Overa
    402
    We all need to be fostering leadership and organising skills, even at an early stageTristan Lockheart

    By running something along similar lines to this, perhaps?

    https://www.globalgrooves.org/get-involved/future-leaders

    Which, before anyone raises the money issue, is funded by The Arts Council. If they can get funding, I see no reason why Ringing couldn't.
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