Public workshop: Opening the Toolbox: Ritual Analysis of School

The Social Science Centre is pleased to be hosting a workshop with Dr. Robert Hamm on ritual and education. This is a free, public event and everyone is welcome. It will be of particular interest to teachers, but also anyone with an interest in education. If you intend to join us, please let us know. Please bring food to share for lunch!

Venue: Croft Street (St Swithin’s) Community Centre, Lincoln, LN2 5AX (map)

Time: Saturday, 16th of April 2016, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Download the event flyer as PDF

A lot of activities in educational institutions can be seen as rituals, or ritualised activities. In this workshop we will look at ways to understand these activities by using the tools offered in the Toolbox of Ritual Analysis of School.

The term ritual here is not restricted to religious activities. It refers to the entire range of everyday understandings of the term, including everyday rituals, grand ceremonies, habitual interactions etc.

In the workshop we will start with stories of our own experiences with rituals in school (education). We will use them as platform for further engagement with the tools offered by ritual analysis.

A rough plan for the workshop:

Part 1

1. Rituals as you see it – experiences, stories, understandings

2. Opening the toolbox: an introduction into theory of rituals in schools – concepts, typology, aspects of rituals in schools

3. Referring back to our own experiences, stories, understandings

Break for lunch

Part 2

4. The crocodile and circle time – An example of ritual analysis applied

5. From ritual to ritualisation – Overcoming the conceptual limits of ritual analysis

6. What is it good for to know all this … ? Institutional Guerilla, Counter Rituals or (not so) subtle consciousness raising?

The aim in the workshop is to provide an opportunity to gain some new ideas of “how to understand what we actually do” … as teachers, students, pupils, classroom assistants, supervisors, teacher educators, really anyone involved in institutional education. In sociological jargon we could say: We will look at conceptual ways to dissect some elements of the microphysics of power in the context of educational practice. In doing so we will always try to stay as close to practice as possible, hence starting and ending with our own experiences.

In facilitating the workshop Robert will draw on his work on theories of ritual in education, and particularly on a comparative study with teachers in mainstream schools and free alternative schools (for an overview see: www.schoolandritual.com).

There is no need to have read anything particular as preparation for the workshop.

Robert says:

“I am really looking forward to this workshop. I have done a lot of work on the topic in Germany and in Ireland. However this will be the first time that I am going to offer the workshop in the UK and I am quite curious to learn about your experiences.”

Notes for Planning Meeting 9th January

Social Science Centre – Notes for Planning Meeting 9th January, 12 noon, 12 Mint Lane Lincoln

Present: Peaceful, Paul, Mike, Laura, Sarah, Lucy, Joss
Apologies: Andrew, Gerald and Martha
Laura chaired the meeting. We spent the first part of the meeting catching up with what we had all been up to over the Christmas vacation. Peaceful is living in the woods, Laura has a new job. Any issues to be discussed under matters arising were to be covered in the main agenda.
New course – Social Cybernetics
Prof Raul Espejo is to run a course on Social Cybernetics starting on 21st of Jan – for more details see link:
Mike is to publicise this event through the usual channels, e.g., The Lincolnite
SSI
The Sociological Imagination Course to start again on 14th Jan. Mike and Lucy to meet up to discuss programme and facilitation. Notes from last term’s session have been written up and can be seen at link here – to be posted
Cooperative University research
Cooperative University – Independent Social Research Foundation research project continues to go well. The last workshop on Transnational Networking is to be held on the 29th of January.  Those present at the meeting were reminded that they were very well. Publicity and invitations has gone out about the event.
Joss and Mike have submitted a grant proposal for £10k to the Leadership Foundation in Higher Education to further develop this research on the topic of Co-operative Leadership
LCDA
Lincolnshire Cooperative Development Association. Mike and Joss are now co-directors of the LCDA. For further information about the LCDA see link here:
Savings Pools
Following the meeting to consider setting up a local money savings pool, Laura is to arrange a meeting on a Thursday evening at Mint Lane on the 28th of January at 7pm.
Gnawed by Rats 
Gnawed by Rats are an art group, hired as artists in residence to organise public art events to celebrate the anniversary of the Charta of the Forest. We agreed to invite to the planning meeting on the 5th of March 12 – 1 at Mint Lane to discuss how we might collaborate on the theme of ‘the commons’.
AGM
We need to make preparations for our AGM later this year. Mike will look at last year’s minutes to make sure all matters arising have been/are being dealt with.
Date of next meeting – 6th Feb, Lucy to chair

Social Cybernetics and the Social Science Centre, Lincoln

The Social Science Centre, Lincoln is running a module on Social Cybernetics – an approach to effective self-organisation of management and other systems through networks and structures that promote autonomy among actors, leading to identity formation and the co-creation of social value.

The module will be facilitated by Professor Raul Espejo, a world-authority in the field and the current Director-General of the World Organisation of Systems and Cybernetics.  Raul was a member of a team in Chile in the 1970s that worked on the Project Cybersyn, and attempt to link socialist planning with technology enabled social communications and policy processes.

The module is free of charge.

The module will begin on Thursday 21st of January  from 7-9 pm and then every two weeks until Wednesday the 16th of March. The venue for the module is the Involve Centre, 12 Mint Lane Lincoln LN1 1UD.

If you would like to attend the course please contact info@socialsciencecentre.org.uk

Course outline

Key concepts to explore in the module include:

  • Purpose, feedback, homeostasis
  • Communications, value-coproduction, eigen behaviours
  • Complexity, variety, requisite variety, variety engineering
  • Structure, structural recursion
  • Organisation, relationships
  • Self-organisation
  • Self-regulation
  • Self-reference and identity
  • Social systems, organisational systems and institutions
  • Reflexivity
  • Power
  • Governance
  • Cybersyn

Readings

The module will be organised around three key readings written by Professor Espejo:

Espejo, Raul. 1994. What is Systemic Thinking? in System Dynamics Review, June 1994 pp199-212

Espejo, Raul. 2014. Cybernetics of Governance: The Cybersyn Project 1971-1973, in Social Systems and Design. Edited by G. S. Metcalf, pp 71-90, Springer: Tokyo, Heidelberg

Espejo, Raul. 2015. Good Cybernetics is a must in Policy Processes. Kybernetes, Vol 44, 6-7, pp 874 – 890

Other key references

Ashby, W. Ross. 1964. An Introduction to Cybernetics. London: Methuen & Co.

Bateson, Gregory. 1973. Steps to an Ecology of Mind. London: Paladin

Beer, Stafford. 1981. Brain of the Firm (2nd edition). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Beer, Stafford . 1979. Heart of Enterprise. London: John Wiley & Sons.

Raul Espejo

Raul EspejoDirector of Syncho Research and Director-General of the World Organization of Systems and Cybernetics. 

From 1971 to 1973 he was, under the scientific direction of Professor Stafford Beer, operations director of the CYBERSYN project – the Chilean Government’s project for the management of the social economy. During the mid 70s he worked as research scholar at the Manchester Business School and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Luxenburg, Austria. From 1977 to 1994 he was associate professor at the University of Aston UK, and from 1995 to 2002 full professor at the University of Lincoln UK. He has been visiting professor at several universities worldwide. The main focus of his research has been on organisational diagnosis and design, and has published extensively in books and journals; is the author of over 100 academic papers, co-author of three books and co-editor of another three.

In 1985 he created Syncho at the Aston Science Park, Birmingham, UK. Its work is in the field of organisational cybernetics. Over the years Professor Espejo has worked with a wide range of organisations worldwide, including national and local governments and small and large enterprises, mainly in aspects of organisational transformation and learning, information management and communications and democratic processes for decision making. He has been consultant of organisations like Hoechst AG in Germany, Hydro Aluminium in Norway, 3M in Europe, EdF in France and the Nuclear Inspectorate in Sweden and the National Audit Office and the Ministry of Education in Colombia.

He has directed several research and development projects and is responsible for the implementation of Cyberfilter, a management support software package focused on performance measurement and the development of Viplan Learning System, a training tool for the diagnosis and design of organisation structures.

Raul Espejo’s CV

Minutes from 5th December 2015 general meeting

SSC Cooperative Meeting

5th December 2015

Present: Wendy, Mike, Andrew, Joss, Laura Apologies: Lucy, Sarah, Mahmood

Last meeting’s minutes have been shared and agreed

Radical Histories Conference – 1-3 July 2016

“Towards a Radical Future of Education” – Wendy will get in touch to see if it is to late to submit a proposal. If not, Wendy offers to write a proposal and send to mailing list for comments.

SSC to support Wendy to attend, funds permitting.

Validation of Courses and Awards

Wendy asked about “next steps” for validating work. Joss described the various routes that SSC could support scholars to get accreditation from the state, which would include working in partnership with another university, e.g. the Open University, or with an accreditation body regulated by OFQUAL to award degrees. This route would have high resource and administration implications and would be suitable if we have hundreds of students. Alternatively, SSC can support scholars to obtain a PhD by publication, and they would need to apply to a university to do this.

Marx Law of Value

Wendy requested a lecture to help her move forward with her study.

Mike & Joss offer to share some online links via email (reading and recorded talks).

Curriculum for next term

Joss is keen to offer a ‘Politics of Archiving: Archiving Politics’ online course, supported by TESA, a US workers’ cooperative. It’s unlikely he will be able to do it this academic year though due to other commitments.

Raul Espejo http://syncho2.blogspot.co.uk/ offers a course in Social Cybernetics. Laura suggested that he might offer it on alternate weeks with SSI course in the new year. Mike will discuss dates with him. We would want to advertise this course.

Andrew, Wendy, Mike and Laura are all keen for SSI course to continue.

Gary offered to lead an SSC session in the new year – Mike will arrange a date with him.

 

Anarchist Research Group

Wendy gave feedback on a trip with Cassie and Lucy to the MayDay rooms. They gave a short talk about the SSC, and had interesting conversations with others who were there.

Others from the anarchist group suggest using libraries as a radical public space for meeting.

Cassie offers to do a write up.

Update on ISRF project

Project is continuing according to plan.

It is reassuring the ideas coming out of the focus group and workshops are similar to our own ideas.

People attending come from across the world and have lots of Cooperative experience.

Joss has put in an abstract to do a talk at the Cooperative College.

Savings Pools

Laura will organise another workshop in the new year for people who are interested but missed the last one, and a subsequent meeting for those who decide to start a Lincoln Savings Pool. It will likely include people who are not currently scholars at the SSC, but Laura will send all info to the SSC email, and put info on the website.

Christmas Event

Mike invites us to his place on 19th December.

AOB

Laura is getting a DBS check through the Voluntary Services Centre; others can get a DBS check but would need to pay for it. Mike (Secretary) agreed to file the VSC paperwork with other SSC documents.

Minutes from 7th November general meeting

SSC planning meeting 7th November 2015

Attendees: Lucy, Wendy, Mike

Apologies: Sarah, Laura, Andrew, Joss

  1. Minutes from last meeting

No minutes from the last meeting as only Mike and Laura attended.

  1. SSI

Wendy found it difficult to engage with the ‘Sociological Imagination’ but found the session brought the book to life when it related to people’s lives. Laura picked out parts in the book that related to values and as a group we decided to re-write our biographies from a values viewpoint. The Sociological Imagination is a useful book to refer back to. It gives practical advice for research and the value of research. The SSI course is going well. Mike has written some prose. We discussed the value of life history as a research method. A colleague from Middlesex University gave a talk this week on methodologies for professional doctorates.

  1. Reciprocity Pools

Laura would like to set something up. A group of 20-30 people all putting in approx £10-20 to see how it goes and if its a success, talk about putting in bigger amounts.

  1. ISRF
  • Project is going well. 3 out of 5 workshops have been delivered. 3 out of 5 focus groups have been delivered.       Joss and Mike have been regularly interviewing people. The summaries have been posted on the website. An interim report is going to be written and submitted to LATISS, an open access journal.

The green paper on higher education has been published. Some notable aspects are:

  • New entrants only need 1,000 students to be classified as a University.
  • It will be possible for Universities to award degrees in six years rather than ten.
  • This could be exciting for the cooperative movement
  • Green paper appears confused as there are no incentives for Universities to positively respond to changes, there are more regulations.

Mike and Joss are writing a response to the green paper and invite SSC members to read the paper and give their thoughts. We could write a collective response.

Unfortunately the green paper shows no sensitivity to history, social justice or cooperative values. It would be interesting to analyse the paper through the values and principles of the cooperative movement.

  1. Validation

Wendy has started a PHD through Lincoln University, however is struggling to finance this. Is there a way SSC can offer assistance with validation?

SSC is unable to award at this stage, however, can provide ongoing support. Wendy could enrol at a University in France and the SSC will still support Wendy through this. Wendy could also get her PHD through publication. Write and submit at least 5-6 articles (with ongoing support from SSC) to peer review journals and then compose 10,000 word commentary to pull all the work together. This is how Joss obtained his PHD.

  1. SSC online course

There has been a proposal to build an online course around archiving and the politics of archiving. TESA, a workers cooperative in America helps organisations do online teaching and training around cooperatives. They would be able to support us to build an online course. They can provide a handbook on how to do online courses and research into the best technologies for online courses. This can be trialled as an addition to the research project as it is a relevant aspect. It needs to be ready for around March-April 2016.

  1. A.O.B

Wendy and Lucy are visiting the Anarchist Study Group in London on 28th November with Cassie Earl to speak about the SSC. SSC have offered to fund travel.