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Position Statement. 23 Sept 2021

Further to a meeting of members of the Bluebird Project team last night and much discussion over the past few weeks and months we have taken the decision that the time is long overdue for a cool-off period and reset for all concerned.

Emotions have run hot, people have become polarised and tempers have frayed and none of this is conducive to forward progress.

This is not about Bluebird Project coming out on top or the Ruskin Museum, it is about agreeing the fullest and most beneficial future for Bluebird K7 and those who wish to see her on display both statically and out on the water.

All Bluebird Project has ever asked for is to look after and operate K7 with her being displayed in the Ruskin Museum the rest of the time.

This surely is not a big ask.

We feel that being asked to walk away empty handed really is not fair and that our desire to operate and maintain K7 for a few weeks every year must be to the benefit of everyone whilst dismantling her is a bad idea whichever way you look at it. Both Bluebird Project and the Ruskin Museum exist to serve the public, though it would seem we forget at times, so this must be re-established as, and remain our joint focus.

We freely admit that we have sometimes been at fault, both parties have, and we apologise for our poor conduct on occasions but these are things for both parties to learn from and hopefully conduct ourselves to a higher standard in the future as our very public disagreements have shifted the focus away from what is ultimately the most important aim - creating the most immersive experience for those wishing to see Bluebird K7. Perhaps there is even an element of the collective stress and worry everyone has been subjected to during the Covid pandemic at play here.

With this in mind, the Bluebird Project is going to take some down-time to reset and enjoy our other projects. We aren't going to involve ourselves in social media or enter into debate. We are going to rest quietly.

In July 2019 we left a meeting with the museum trustees in the Coniston Institute with agreement on Bluebird Project operating K7 for 90 days per year and the Ruskin Museum displaying her for the other 270 days. We see this as a very fair arrangement for everyone, which unfortunately failed at that time around due to only minor points but it is widely held that it formed the solid basis of a way forward and provides a perfect starting point from which to pick up our negotiations. It surely isn't beyond both parties to hammer out the finer points in order to make this happen and such an excellent opportunity must be seized robustly and made to work rather than being allowed to fall apart for the sake of point scoring or pride.

Indeed, with those finer points resolved and agreement reached there is no question that the Bluebird Project team would embark on completing our work with great enthusiasm and Bluebird placed on display in a matter of months rather than the years that might otherwise be lost and a process in which we would invite the museum trustees to actively participate, should they wish, in order to form a better understanding of Bluebird and to build bridges.

So with this in mind, we now enter that quiet autumnal spell between the frantic activity of summer holidays and the equal chaos of Christmas and this may prove an excellent time for progress and so we respectfully invite the trustees of the Ruskin Museum to also spend some time in reflection then, in due course, suggest a time and a place at which both parties can return to the negotiating table relaxed, looking to the future and eager to get this project over the line amicably and professionally. After all, surely a twenty-five year project is worthy of a happy ending.

Kind regards,

The Bluebird Project Team.

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