Five Years On: The Social Science Centre AGM, 2016

The Social Science Centre will be holding its Annual General Meeting on 7th May at Croft Street Community Centre, Lincoln, LN2 5AX, from 11 am to 4 pm. (map)

The first part of the meeting will be taken up with business matters as well as financial reporting. Lunch will be provided.

After lunch we will be looking at recent research on co-operative higher education: Beyond Private and Public: A Framework for Co-operative Higher Education. This research was carried out by Mike Neary and Joss Winn, and funded by the Independent Social Research Foundation.

Please see minutes from last year’s AGM

TIMETABLE FOR THE DAY

11.00 – 12.30  Social Science Centre (SSC) Annual General Meeting

Agenda

  1. Approve Minutes
  2. Matters Arising
  3. Review SSC Constitution
  4. SSC financial report
  5. Proposed new SSC in Manchester
  6. AOB

12.30 – 1.30 Lunch

1.30 – 3.30 Beyond Private and Public: A Framework for Co-operative Higher Education. Mike and Joss to present this research followed by a discussion of how the outcomes of this research might be taken up by the SSC as a model for its future development.

3.30 – 4.00 Review the day and close.

Co-operative higher education conference paper and poster

SSC Scholars, Mike Neary and Joss Winn recently presented a conference paper and poster at the Co-operative Education conference in Manchester. These have been produced as part of our research project that aims to develop ‘a model for co-operative higher education.’

The paper and poster will also be presented at the International Co-operative Alliance’s research conference in May, and the Universities in the Knowledge Economy conference in June.

Download the paper (PDF). Comment on the paper (Google Docs)

We’d really appreciate comments on the framework we have developed in the paper and is illustrated below.

Framework for Co-operative Higher Education (click to enlarge)

Framework for Co-operative Higher Education. Design by Sam Randall, student at University of Lincoln.

Minutes from SSC meeting of April 2nd

Present: Mike, Andrew, Carol, Laura

Apologies: Lucy, Joss, Peaceful

Minutes agreed

Website:
Alex happy to help us with our web site. We suggest offering him £200, and will check with Joss who is currently stand-ing in for treasurer.

Workshops/Seminars:

Rituals in Education
Robert Hamm, booked, Saturday 16th April, 10-4.
Croft Street
Bring & share lunch.
Please share poster, everyone!

Distress in the City
Linden West
Suggests 7th July – Mike will book this.
Laura or Andrew offer to put him up if needed. Mike will invite him to arrive early to have dinner/spend some time.

Mike will book mint Lane for Thurs 30th June, and will ask Linden to send reading we can look at on this occasion.

Research Projects:
Mike & Joss beginning to disseminate findings from ISRF project. Conferences in Manchester, Spain and Denmark in April/May/June.

New Leadership Foundation for Higher Education research project: ‘Co-operative Leadership for Higher Education.
Mike & Joss met people from Mondragon.

AGM:
7th May, 11am-4pm

11-12:30 business meeting
12:30-1:30 bring & share lunch
1:30-3:30 Making the cooperative university report workshop.

Mike is booking Croft Street. Will spend part of AGM looking at report, and ready for relaunching SSC!
Will include business meeting.
We need new treasurer!

AOB:
British sociological association: A splinter group has emerged! They’re having a meeting 7 April at Aston university – they have invited SSC. Mike is planning to go.

No course for next term – but two seminars.

Minutes from SSC meeting of March 5th 2016

SSC Monthly Meeting

Saturday 5th March 2016

Apologies: Joss, Lucy

Present: Andrew, Carol, Laura, Mike, Sarah, Wendy

Read & agreed last month’s minutes

Curriculum reports: SSI

Andrew outlined our recent seminars looking at dystopian novels, and questioning their relevance and usefulness.  Many people struggled to do the reading in advance, especially whole novels, and we agreed that people should come even not having done the reading, and we will spend some of the time reading during the seminar.

Curriculum reports: Cybernetics with Raul Espejo

People are getting lots out of these sessions, and are stretched by them.  These sessions are attracting a slightly different group of people than our SSI regulars.  Last seminar is a week on Tuesday.

SSI people will discuss what we would like to follow after the Cybernetics course, and brings some suggestions to the next meeting.

Gnawed by Rats

Unable to attend today’s meeting due to snow, but they have an event coming up on Friday 18th March, 6:30-9pm at the Pavilion Building.  Sarah will put this on twitter and the blog.

Website

Joss suggested that we ask Alex (from Ragged University) if he would be interested to do some work on improving and modernising our website for us.  We should pay him for this.  We agreed that this would be a good idea; Mike will get back to Joss to ask Alex.

ISRC Project

We have had the final workshop on transnational networks, which was well attended.  Joss & Mike have written a short article to publish in a journal, and will be working on further articles and presenting it at conferences.  Next SSC needs to prepare a report to share at our AGM, to see how it might develop the SSC.  There is a lot of interest in the establishment of a cooperative university.

Maria & her colleagues are setting up a Cooperative Institute for Trans-National Studies, much like Mondragon in structure; they will charge a fee; a multi-stakeholder coop; working on getting accreditation through the autonomous university in Mexico.  SSC could use them as a proxy accreditation institute.

Mike got a grant this week from the Leadership Foundation, on Cooperative leadership, and putting it into a higher education context.  Suma, Mondragon, a cooperative school, and John Lewis will all be case studies.  Create a tool/vehicle/critical device to assess cooperativeness within university.  It’s one year; £10K, to include a part time research assistant (who can speak Spanish), with a steering committee.

Mondragon delegates are coming over to visit, to look at Student as Producer and what the SSC are doing.

Rituals in Education – Robert Hamm

Joss has invited Robert on 16th April.  We need to check the status of this, and help with advertising.

Distress in the City – Linden West

Linden has written a book on Stoke-on-Trent and the rise of Islamophobia.  Mike will invite him get back to him to arrange a date for him to visit.  We need to get some basic posters made.

Antipode Project

Grant available for scholar-activist fellowship.  “Hull City of Culture” is gentrifying Hull, and resulting in the enclosing and privatising of previously open and public spaces.  Campaign is currently happening around keeping a school building public instead of selling it off; she would like help documenting it.  The SSC could be recognised as an institutional partner in the grant, which would mean we would handle the money.  It would cover materials and space, but not time.  Do we want to contribute? Do we have the knowledge & skills? What would we do with the money?

There were concerns raised about complications around, and the big responsibility of handling the funds, in partnership with people we have not yet had chance to build up trust with.  Might it divert our energies?

There was a concern raised that Lincoln is a long way from Hull – we are not aware of what is going on there; would we spend a lot of the money on travelling between?  Does this make sense as a partnership?  We do have people who are experienced in facilitating community learning who could offer this support on a consultancy capacity.  We are not local enough; we don’t have a capacity; our budget is not set up for this sort of thing.

Savings Pools

A pool is in the process of being set up, including contracts and legality.  It is a closed group, but we will run further workshops in future, and support who are interested in setting up a pool.

AGM

We propose Saturday 7th May at Croft Street Community Centre for AGM.  It will include business meeting, and look at ISRC report and research project and how it can support the SSC, and how we might review our governance structures, and invite people who have been part of the project to contribute (rather than guest speakers).

Actions from last AGM: workshop on decision making process & technology (hasn’t happened yet).  Why hasn’t this happened – there isn’t the energy?  We will discuss paper on consensus decision making at SSI, and bring this back to AGM.

Re-visit values at AGM.

Short course on feminist social theory and gender, offered by Andrea, Sarah and Lucy – this has been disrupted by people’s circumstances, but the issues are still of interest.

Suggestion that each of us write 200 words about who we are, why we’re involved, etc.   Let’s do this ready to re-launch the website.  (We will ask for this when we advertise the AGM)

Stephen has asked to stand down from treasurer’s role.  We need to appoint positions at AGM – treasurer, secretary, etc.

AOB

Next meeting Saturday 2nd April.

Wendy asks to talk about the origins of capitalism, and Helen Meiksins-Wood’s work.

Social Cybernetics: Week Five

This was the final seminar of our Social Cybernetics course. An audio recording of the session is below and the slides referred to can be downloaded here.

This week Raul Espejo discussed his work on the Chilean Cybersyn project. Raul was the Operations Director of the project and one of the people to invite Stafford Beer to Chile to design a cybernetic system of industrial co-ordination for Allende’s socialist government (1970-73). Following the military coup of 1973, Raul left Chile for Manchester to continue his work with Stafford Beer and has remained in the UK ever since, now residing in Lincoln.

During this week’s seminar, Raul refers to three publications on Cybersyn:

Espejo (2014) Cybernetics of Governance: The Cybersyn Project 1971-1973

Medina (2011) Cybernetic Revolutionaries (PhD thesis here)

Morozov (2014) The Planning Machine

If you have any questions about this course or for Prof. Espejo himself, please use the comments form below or email the SSC.