The AIPP is undergoing a major structural overhaul by replacing its long-standing State Councils, an integral component of running the Institute, with new genre and geographical-based self-managed groups called Chapters.
The AIPP Chapters will be groups of at least five members, and membership is open to anyone within and outside the Institute. The first Chapters will be the former State Councils, and AIPP members can form new chapters. Interestingly, the Institute also plans to invite existing non-member organisations, such as camera clubs, to apply to become an AIPP chapter.
‘Prior to this point, the AIPP was traditionally run by State Councils,’ AIPP board member, Felisha Mina, told Inside Imaging. ‘With operations being very state-specific, it’s quite city-centric. A lot of the Victorian events and activities were happening in Melbourne. For members outside of Melbourne, in regional Victoria, it’s not ideal only having workshops in the city. That’s part of why we wanted to make the changes. We realised there is a huge untapped market out there, not just geographically, but in other areas of interest.’
An AIPP blog post, featuring a video with Felisha, explains that the Institute felt the State-based operation offered limited value to regional members. This became clear when Covid hit, and travel restrictions were enforced. Now it’s up to members to form a chapter and create events catering to their interests. ‘For example you might have a Doncaster Chapter, a Surry Hills Chapter, a Wedding Video Chapter or a Macro Photography Chapter. As a member you can join all the meet ups and events that happen in any Chapter of your choice.’
The Institute is aiming to expand its reach and welcome new members by introducing more AIPP-branded events running across the country.
‘We only have so much manpower. So the reasoning behind Chapters is many of them will be more self-managed. It’s really easy for members to pull together a chapter based on their interests,’ Felisha said. ‘It takes the pressure off the AIPP, and also gives people the opportunity to do whatever they want to do. Chapters act by themselves, which is really exciting. Why wait for the Institute to come up with something? As a member you can jump-start whatever chapter you like.’
In 2018 the AIPP underwent a major restructure after members left due to the AIPP National Office and National Board having too much control. Disgruntled members demanded the AIPP decentralise and return power to State Councils, which consequently happened over the course of the year. The introduction of Chapters will further decentralise the Institute.
As previously mentioned, non-professional photography organisations can become an AIPP Chapter. ‘Everyone can jump in, including amateurs. We’re taking away the word professional – so long as you’re image makers. It doesn’t matter, so long as you’re taking a photo you can be part of the whole thing,’ Felisha said. ‘We also deeply acknowledge our existing and accredited members and the importance of events, and awards as we continue to evolve and grow. Growing the membership base is a win for advocacy in representing image makers and the entire industry.’
The AIPP Board wouldn’t share how everything works internally, including the financial aspects, or the formal process for existing non-AIPP groups to become a Chapter.