Social Science Centre Annual General Meeting
Croft Street Community Centre
7 May 2016, 11am-4pm.
Sarah Amsler, Steve Hanson, Clare Lynch, Andrew McCulloch, Carol MacRea, Mike Neary, Karolina Szynalska, Joss Winn
David McAleavey, Laura Stratford, Lucy McGinty, Peaceful Warrior, Wendy Vause
Minutes from AGM of 16 May 2105
It was proposed that in the future, note-takers should summarise each section of the meetings, including actions, and read this out for approval from those in attendance on the day.
Action: trial this proposal in practice in forthcoming meetings
Matters arising from minutes of 2015 AGM
We reviewed the actions agreed at this meeting.
- Met on 28 May 2015 to discuss the SSC [Independent Social Research Foundation] ‘co-operative university’ project; those attending were in favour of using this as a way to discuss governance issues in the SSC
- Mike circulated a description of the role of the Secretary.
- Andrew (again) circulated a proposed statement of values; however, it was not discussed.
- Lucy, Sarah and Andrea drew up plans for a new short course; however, they did not run it.
- Alex Dunedin from the Ragged University has agreed to work on the SSC website.
- Members discussed the possibility of paying a co-ordinator and decided against it.
Actions not completed:
- We did not organise a half-day workshop on decision-making and technologies for decision-making. Sarah did not bring a paper on democratic decision-making.
- We did not discuss the statement of values that Andrew circulated.
- We did not organise a year-long project using the constitution to develop meaningful definitions and practices of ‘democracy’, ‘non-hierarchical self-organisation’, ‘membership’ and ‘consensus’, with attention to issues of power and communication and with a view to revising the constitution, our ‘business plan’, statement of values if necessary and producing principles of organisation, teaching, and how to propose and run courses/activities (or whether the constitution should include a stronger statement of SSC values).
- Lucy, Sarah and Andrea did not produce principles for new short courses.
- We did not use some of our money to pay for training in decision-making and other relevant skills.
- We did not ask each member for 200 words about themselves to publish on the website.
Action: Sarah to organise a discussion for members to reflect on the above.
Election of officers
Mike was nominated, seconded and approved as Secretary for the coming year.
Laura was nominated, seconded and approved as Treasurer for the coming year.
Thanks to Stephen for his long service as Treasurer to this point.
Action: Laura to arrange transfer of signatures, documents, etc. from Stephen.
Approved. It was noted that this year we spent more money than we earned from member contributions. Stephen had said that this might happen. We will need to monitor this in the coming year.
Action: Future accounting reports to include more details of expenditure and income (e.g., precise figures for member contributions)
Review of the Constitution
No amendments were deemed necessary.
Members attending the AGM reviewed the Constitution and raised the following points for discussion:
- Membership – did we make a decision about the definiton of ‘active membership’? Yes, and it remains broad to include a range of forms of participation and contribution.
We need to improve the process of ‘becoming a member’ to include face-to-face meetings and discussions, rather than only an online registration and email. It was acknowledged that meetings with new members have been offered and organised in the past, with little take-up.
- Quorum – it was suggested that we reconsider the number of members needed for quorum, to avoid a situation in which decisions cannot be made at meetings.
- Expulsion – it was suggested that the language defining grounds for expulsion from the SSC be revised to be more specifically related to violations of the values and principles.
New SSC Manchester
Steve Hanson introduced a new project, the Social Science Centre, Manchester. It grew out of the Manchester Left Writers project (which will continue), and aims to offer its first Sociological Imagination course in September 2016 at the Friends Meeting House. All agreed this is both an honour for the SSC, Lincoln and an exciting project that we are keen to learn from.
Action: Steve to write a brief blog about the SSC Manchester that we can publish on the SSC Lincoln website.
Other business (AOB)
It was noted that elements of SSC organisation have been adapted elsewhere; e.g., the Co-operative Institute for Transnational Studies, based in Greece. Several delegates from Mondragon University came to visit Joss and Mike recently to discuss co-operative education and student-as-producer pedagogy and curriculum.
Action: Mike to update the bibliography of SSC-related news, articles and publications on the website.
The AGM finished around 1pm and we had lunch, followed by a discussion about the research project: Beyond Public and Private.