I had a meeting with Ben Harman, the Director of Stills yesterday. The meeting was at his request; although about a year ago, I had a similar meeting with him (at my request) to pitch the idea that Stills should resume a greater role in the running of the DCC. At that stage, he didn’t want to make any commitments until Stills knew the status of their Creative Scotland funding application.


Stills now know that they have got that core funding from Creative Scotland for the next three years. However, they face a large rates rise from Edinburgh Council, which leaves them with a deficit that they need to fill by increasing revenue generating activities.


In this circumstance they are no longer prepared to offer the DCC free use of the meeting area. As a commercial fee they would be looking at about £150 to cover each meeting.


Parallel to this they are launching a new course on ‘Reading Photography’ which sounds similar to a course which some members may remember David Grinly running about six or seven years ago. They want to run this new course on Thursday nights starting in May.


There are of, course possibilities, to change the venue for DCC. At this stage I must declare my personal position, which is that I don’t wish to lead any such initiative.


The club is at a low ebb now compared to its heyday.  The smaller meetings are enjoyable, but there is no denying that attendance is dwindling. My personal inclination is to call it a day, and make the April Meeting the last meeting for the DCC. There is nothing to stop anyone else picking up the format and making a fresh start at a new venue.


The next meeting will go ahead at Stills on Thursday April 5th.  We will retain the Neighbourhood theme, but start with a discussion of the future of the DCC. All attendees are welcome to put forward their views, or volunteer to take things forward.


I invited Ben Harman to attend the meeting, but he is unfortunately away on Easter holiday. He has offered to meet with club members in the week beginning April 9th. I will post the exact date when I have it.


John Sumpter


8 March 2018