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Quilt Study Group of Australia Update - November 2011

In the 1990s, Margaret Rolfe started the Quilt Study Group of Australia (QSGA) in Canberra. It was a small group of quilters with an interest in quilt study who met in each others homes, organised outings and staged events to foster this interest. The QSGA exists to promote interest and research into quilting in Australia. Members are committed to the study of quilts past and present, this study encompassing the social and historical context in which quilts were made. In time, quilters with similar interests (many of whom did not belong to their state quilters guilds) started their own quilt study groups and later joined the QSGA. The Sydney Quilt Study Group (SQSG) is an example of one such group which was incorporated in 2001 and administered at a local state level. Each member of those quilt study groups paid a $10 annual membership fee to QSGA and they communicated through a quarterly print newsletter. This fee was also used to fund a biennial seminar where the members and non-members of QSGA could meet and learn about our nation's quilt history, as well as study contemporary quilts and quilt makers. Funds from QSGA membership and profits from previous seminars were used to fund future seminars, especially if the group holding the seminar was small and without seeding funds The first Quilt Study Group of Australia seminar was held under the umbrella of the Canberra Quilters. There have been three biennial seminars in Canberra and two in Sydney; the last was hosted by the Southern Queensland Quilt Study Group in Brisbane in 2008 and the next one, the seventh in the history of the QSGA, will be hosted by the Victorian Quilt Study Group in Melbourne in November 2011. The Sydney Quilt Study Group eventually took over management of the QSGA but in 2009, because it was unable to meet its financial commitment to provide public liability insurance for its members, the SQSG voted to unincorporate and move under the umbrella of the Quilters' Guild of NSW Inc. Because the Quilt Study Group of Australia is not an incorporated body, this action by the SQSG had no impact on the management and running of the QSGA.

Current Situation
When the SQSG was unincorporated, the Quilt Study Group of Australia remained a separate entity, existing as a stand alone organisation from any state quilters guild or quilt study group. The committee members of the QSGA are Dr. Annette Gero (Patron), Karen Fail (Convenor), Janet Marwood (Treasurer), Liz Bonner (Secretary) and Sandra Lyons. The bank account is administered by Dr. Gero and Janet Marwood. Then QSGA continues to have three roles: to promote and assist in the organisation of the biennial Australian Quilt Study Seminar; to maintain a bank account for funding the Australian Quilt Study Seminar; to provide communication via the blog, which replaces the quarterly newsletter.

The Australian Quilt Study Groups Blog

The blog contains posts about QSG events, detailed reports about past events, links to various quilt study group websites around the world, and articles of general interest to quilters and lovers of quilts and quilt history. It also contains a page documenting the making of a replica coverlet for the National Trust of NSW by members in NSW. Liz Bonner ( maintains the blog and invites all those interested in the study of quilts to submit interesting articles and information about quilt study group events and projects around Australia. This way, the blog can be a great place to find out what is happening, and to promote your event or project across Australia and around the world.

Funding for Australian Quilt Study Seminars

The funds continue to be available to support future Australian Quilt Study seminars. These can be organised by guild-associated or independent quilt study groups. The following funding options exist: Option 1 Self fund - follow the example of the Victorian Quilt Study Group, who this year have paid for all seminar expenses, banked their own cheques and will keep any profits from running the event. There has been no call to use the QSGA bank account. Option 2 QSGA fund - follow the Southern Queensland Quilt Study Group example. In 2008, the QSGA paid for all seminar expenses from their bank account and banked all seminar attendees cheques. The group organising the seminar handled the attendee applications, and organised presenters, booked venues etc. With this model of funding, if extra events are planned by the organisers, they keep the profits from those events e.g. a Saturday night dinner for delegates or visit to a museum. The QSGA Treasurer can provide further guidance on how this approach works. All profits from the seminar go into the QSGA bank account to provide funding for future seminars. This option is most effective when the group is small and does not have any accumulated funds. Option 3 QSGA seeding fund - the QSGA can provide a reimbursable amount say, $1,000 - to a successful applicant to assist in the running of their proposed Australian Quilt Study seminar. This amount would be repaid in full at the close of the seminar. Any profits made from the running of the seminar would remain with that group. If this option is chosen, the group would need to request guidelines from the QSGA committee in preparing a proposal for their seminar when applying for a seeding fund.

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