The continuing evolution of the Magdalena Project ...

Being able to adapt to change is one of the factors that has contributed to the Magdalena Project’s long and diverse history. Over the course of 33 years, the project has evolved according to the needs of the network at particular times and places. Now, another subtle change is happening, at a structural level that most in the network won’t even notice, but one that raises important questions and opportunities for the future of the project.

In 1993, the Magdalena Project was registered as charitable trust in the UK. This gave the organisation a legal structure that was appropriate for its activities, administration and finances at that time. The Magdalena Project was regularly organising events in Wales, and the purposes of the trust were based around this activity. Many things have changed since then and it has now become clear that the UK trust is no longer the best structure for the Magdalena Project as a global network.

The 25th anniversary festival Legacy and Challenge, held in Cardiff in 2011, was the last event organised by the trust in the UK. Since then, the trust’s activities have shifted to supporting the international network, specifically focusing on the ongoing development and maintenance of the Magdalena Project website, which has become the central communication and organisation tool of the network and serves the global Magdalena community. An annual donations appeal raises funds for the necessary costs of the website, and has been managed through the UK trust, but this means that a significant proportion of the donations must be used to pay an accountant to meet the legal obligations of the trust.

Therefore, after much soul-searching and deliberation, the trustees have taken the decision to close the trust. This will not have a noticeable impact on the international network, but it opens the questions, what kind of structure does the Magdalena Project actually need? And how can we create it? As a large, loose, low-income international network, it’s essential that any administrative structure is kept as lightweight and minimal as possible. At the very least we must have a way to properly organise and manage the collection of donations and payment of the website costs. One idea is to establish a small informal international group to take care of this.

If you have ideas, time and enthusiasm, please get in touch with Jill Greenhalgh: jill [at]