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General Assembly

The General Assembly or “GA” is the association’s highest shared governance authority and is constituted by representatives of its full member institutions

Cumulus full-members are expected to send their official representative (s) to attend the General Assembly on an annual basis. This is an opportunity for members to approve the main strategic objectives recommended by the President and Executive Board, approve the association’s annual budget, and endorse new institutional members.

Held annually in the 1st quarter of the calendar year, “extraordinary” sessions are held when the association has critical needs for members to vote.

Next General Assembly

May 16, 2024 – Hybrid

Our community will be meeting next in the first quarter of 2024 online and on-site in Budapest, Hungary.

Cumulus Legal Registration

Why the Time is Now

After 30 years of continued growth and success as an unregistered association under the legal framework of its founding host institution, Aalto University, Cumulus is becoming a legally registered association in Finland.

Registration Process & Member Engagement

The legal registration of Cumulus represents an important and necessary milestone. As the association continues to mature into a global academic entity, the registration will bring new opportunities for Cumulus to serve its members.

As a registered association, Cumulus will keep upholding its mission: to be a dynamic forum for knowledge exchange and best practices and a committed advocate for the positive role of designers and artists in shaping a better world.

Registration Process

The legal registration process for Cumulus has required deliberate study, legal consultation and multi-stakeholder member engagement.

Initiated in 2021 and managed by CEB VII, the research and necessary work to prepare the registration culminated with the General Assembly of June 2022 when Cumulus members adopted the Association’s new Amended Statutes required by Finnish Law for Cumulus to register in Finland.

The following priorities guided the consultative work that CEB VII carried out to help transition the Association to legal status:

  1. To safeguard Cumulus’ management and operations via the continuation of its current Secretariat at Aalto and to choose a legal jurisdiction, Finland, that honors the association’s legacy
  2. To examine potential risks of the legal registration (e.g. financial and tax implications, Board membership residency requirements, Board members’ personal liabilities, etc.)
  3. To ensure the amendments of the association’s statutes comply with legal registration in Finland, and do not introduce any changes to the mission, values, and aims of Cumulus, nor to its fundamental democratic governance and decision-making by all members via the General Assembly

Member Engagement

Leading up to the Amended Statutes approved for Registration in the General Assembly of June 2022, CEB VII designed a six-month participatory process for members to be informed of the registration process and to contribute questions and feedback.

As a result, members were invited to weigh in on the registration process during the following touchpoints:

  • 3 Open Member Town Halls invited broad member participation: two in December 2021 and one in February 2022 were recorded and made available to all registered members. Participation in each session accounted for approximately 19% percent and 20% of the total Cumulus membership for each session.
  • The Board registration sub-committee developed a comprehensive Q+A document to address critical registration issues based on questions and concerns by members.
  • An Extraordinary General Assembly (EGA) was convened in April 5. The EGA was planned around registration. Members were asked for two votes: 1) to vote on the registration in Finland and 2) to vote on the approval of amended statutes to comply with Finnish law. The April EGA approved the registration jurisdiction of Finland by majority vote. It failed to reach the ⅔ of quorum approval required to accept the first draft of the Amended Statutes proposed.
  • Post EGA, the Board put in place an actionable plan forward to create more co-creation touch points for members to offer feedback and have questions clarified with Legal Counsel. The inputs from this process informed the revised draft of the Amended Statutes that members approved in the GA of June 2022.

Towards Registration

The June 2022 General Assembly culminated the critical process of the Amendment of the Statutes for registration. The GA approved the Statutes with the necessary 2/3 quorum vote. This GA decision paves the way for the legal registration of Cumulus to take place.

The registration will guarantee the Association’s smooth transition as legal body that will keep its management with the Secretariat team based at Aalto University, the ongoing university host of Cumulus through 2025.

Aalto University and Aalto ARTS are delighted to reinstate our will to host the Secretariat till the end of 2025, pending negotiations, which we expressed in 2019.

When starting the negotiations for a renewed service agreement between Cumulus and Aalto, it became apparent that the current legal structure of Cumulus– with regard to Cumulus’s global network and expanded financial operations – is problematic for both parties. For this reason, Aalto recognized that an independent registration is necessary before signing the new service agreement.

In my understanding, the Executive Board and the Secretary-General have carried out the preparation for this transformation seriously, respectfully, and with full responsibility for the Association.

Aalto University and Aalto ARTS sincerely hope that members accept the modified amendments of the statutes that will be presented in the General Assembly in June to enable the signing of the new agreement between Aalto and Cumulus.

Tuomas Auvinen
Dean, School of Arts, Design and Architecture
Aalto University – May 2022

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