Source: The Western Morning News
"The next Grand Bard of the Cornish Gorsedd will be elected by the entire membership for the first time in the cultural organisation’s history.
Following a change in its constitution in 2010, the college of bards will next year elect a new deputy grand bard who will, by tradition, become Grand Bard after the three years.
Since it was revived in 1928, Gorsedh Kernow, which works to preserve and promote Cornwall’s distinctive culture throughout the world, each new Grand Bard has been elected by a small Gorsedh Council. However, in recent years there has been pressure to widen the decision-making to include all 300-plus bards.
Much of the groundwork for the new arrangement was made by former Grand Bard, Mick Paynter. Speaking at its annual conference in 2009, he urged fellow members to embrace democratic change, stating: “We are a college of bards, but often it seems that only the council and the officers have a say in what goes on. Although the Grand Bard and deputy must be competent in the language, I would like to see these officers elected by general ballot. This would be a visible sign of greater democracy in our ranks.”
ADVERTISEMENT Nominations are now being invited, before an election next spring. To qualify for nomination, the candidate must be available to serve for three years and be proficient in the Cornish language.
David Holman, who has been given the task of returning officer for the process, said: “All candidates for election as deputy grand bard must be nominated in writing by a proposer and seconder, and all such nominations must be accompanied by the written consent of the candidate and a short election address.”
Mr Holman added that if only one candidate is proposed, that person will be recommended for election without a ballot.
Welcoming the move, Mr Paynter said: “The process of my own selection as Deputy Grand Bard had been a mystery to many and they felt that it needed to become both transparent and seen to be democratic.When I became Grand Bard I prepared a list of priorities which I put before the Gorsedd Council and which were accepted and publicised thereafter.
“We decided to follow the Welsh practice and to make the offices of Grand Bard and Deputy Grand Bard open to ballot, subject to the candidates being qualified to do the job. In Wales this is a literary qualification but in Kernow it is competence in Kernewek, our Celtic language.
“I am very grateful to Jori Ansell and his team for translating this proposition into a workable rule and am satisfied this brings us into the 21st century and will be part of the improved equipment needed so that we may cope with the growing demands on the Gorsedd.”
The results of the ballot for Deputy Grand Bard will be made public before he or she is installed at the open Gorsedh ceremony in St Austell next September. For more information visit gorsethkernow.org.uk
Read more at http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/Bards-embrace-democracy-election-future-leader/story-22980408-detail/story.html#iduZPt1uR02rTqyF.99
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