Dr. Malcolm Hughes : Bonsai Profile

Malcolm's introduction to bonsai came about in 1972 when he started reading around the subject and began creating bonsai from nursery material. In 1977, he joined the Midland Bonsai Society, becoming a committee member in 1979 where he took on the role of Show Secretary, a position he maintained for 5 years. He also became involved in editing the Society's Newsletter, together with producing a booklet on bonsai written with his wife Kath.

During 1981 - 2, he was the representative of the Midland Bonsai Society key in the discussions leading to the formation of the Federation of British Bonsai Societies which officially came into being in April of 1982. In 1984 he was elected to the Federation Committee as Assistant Secretary and from 1986 until 1989, was Secretary to that organisation.

From 1986 he represented the Federation of British Bonsai Societies at the 3rd European Bonsai Association Congress in Valencia, Spain, promoting the U.K's proposal to host the next European Bonsai Convention. The following year he was one of the co-ordinating team which organised the 4th European Bonsai Congress, held at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham .

In 1989, Malcolm was elected as Chairman of the Federation of British Bonsai Societies, a post held until 1992. At the same time, he was also elected to the Board of the European Bonsai Association and for five years, edited and produced that organisation's newsletter.

In 1990, he participated in the design and development of the National Bonsai Collection, established at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and in 1993, became Chairman of the Friends of the National Bonsai Collection, an educational charity associated with the National Bonsai Collection and the Botanical Gardens.

The year 1991 found him, together with his wife, organising the Bonsai Clubs International Convention, held at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham . At the time, it was one of the largest such conventions held outside Japan and the first occasion that Bonsai Clubs International had held an event outside the United States.

Following the retirement of Peter Brown, one of the founders of the European Bonsai Association, Malcolm was elected as that organisations second President in 1995. With that appointment came the role of European representative to the World Bonsai Friendship Federation; both appointments he held until the year 2000.

In 2001, he retired as Chairman of the National Bonsai Collection, but continued on the committee as treasurer and technical advisor, a role he continues with to this day.  He is also now the Chairman of the South Staffs Bonsai Society, a position to which he was appointed in 2004.

In recognition of his contribution and that of his wife Kath, to bonsai at both a national and European level, he was invited in 2006 to the Board of the World Bonsai Friendship Federation in the capacity of consultant, a position he retains to this day.  In 2009, he found himself re-appointed as Chairman of the Federation of British Bonsai Societies and has now, once again become  the U.K.'s delegate to the European Bonsai Association.

Over the years he has been involved in bonsai, he has represented the Federation of British Bonsai Societies at a number of bonsai events in Europe, Japan and the U.S.A.  He has studied with a number of well known bonsai personalities, including Peter Adams, Dan Barton and Salvatore Liporace; he is also involved as a speaker and demonstrator on the subject, specialising in cedars and pines, as well as running bonsai workshops from his home.  Most recently, he and his wife put on the first “Best of British Bonsai” event in Birmingham, which took place in April, 2009.  They are now both involved in planning the second such event, to take place in April 2011.

Outside bonsai life, prior to his retirement in 2006, he was Head of Medical Psychology and Physiology at Birmingham City University, lecturing in the field of neuro-psychology and psychopathology.  He became an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society as a result of his contribution to establishing academic courses in counselling and psychotherapy. His research specialised on the psycho-biological reactions of stress as a cause of illness; this later focussed on studies into psychological factors associated with cancer.

He still retains academic commitments, being called upon as a specialist visiting lecturer at the University as well as supervising students undertaking research for their Ph.D.'s within the field of biomedical studies.