AGM-Planning meeting 28/4/18

Aside

28th April – Angel Coffee House 

Who: Laura S, Laura W, Phil, Bradley, Mike, David H, Hannah

Summary:

Met to plan AGM and discuss future of SSC (currently not running sustainably and not cooperatively). Decided that AGM will be space to consider what it means to run as a cooperative (and alternatives) – and to commit/understand roles and constitution (the constitution can change), and the idea of being run by its members and for its members – not a free service of drop-in lectures. There are ways to make it more financially viable too. AGM (26th May) will include different themes including roles, courses & being a cooperative as well as affirmation and elections.

Plan for AGM:

  • Read through constitution together
  • Open space discussions
    • Cooperatives (Mike)
    • Roles (Bradley)
    • Courses (Phil)
    • Surprise! Anything that emerges on the day
  • Bring & Share lunch
  • Elect roles; change constitution if needed; AOB

Meeting notes (thanks to Hannah for note-taking!)

What
AGM is on 26th May, we need to think about if the SSC will continue to run before the AGM (so that the AGM is either celebrating of what we have achieved, or giving direction for next year).
Now SSC is running unsustainably – is this still viable? If we want it, how can we make it possible?

What will the AGM look like?

Why is it unsustainable?

Financial – Running a loss – but there are ways to make that better

People – SSC has a fluctuating group, so there is a feeling that we constantly have to discuss/decide what to do next, rather than getting into anything.
It has become more like drop-in classes (lecturers don’t often come to the other classes, so the dynamic is different).
= not a cooperative?
positive feedback for lecturers but not cooperative.
There is a feeling that this is “not the SSC”- just a series of lectures

(which is the same as what the university and others in Lincoln do) –
Our thing is coming together, cooperative HE, writing together
etc…we’ve lost that.

Just a few members left (Mike resigning as secretary, Laura resigning as treasurer) –
do we have the people to step up without it becoming a burden.

Discussion

Now there are around 10 core members  – it’s enough, but will people actually commit?
Discussion about people’s feelings about this
– Mike has been secretary for a long time, if SSC continues he will resign as secretary, he is ready to stop the SSC, it has been a struggle to keep it going, AGM as a celebration – something new could be created after.

– Laura –

– Bradley- more optimistic – a lot more engagement than previously (more numbers),
Feels that it seems wrong to close it now when we have just put out this
membership survey (?) We cannot decide to close now, people need to have chance
to put their names forward  

– Phil- mentions that Joss says it wouldn’t have to carry on as a cooperative- but wants to know what alternatives would be. Also suggests he could do the website (intends to contact Joss about this)

– Laura W – Feels like as a new member finds it difficult to comment on dynamics. But says that it would be shame to abandon it; SSC is fantastic – still so eager –

SO- looks like maybe it will continue= maybe it will take on a different look.  – a rebranding?

– Laura S- a “rebranding” is exactly not what she wants – worried that this will be the same thing as the neoliberal higher education but run by volunteers = this is “the opposite of what I want from the SSC”. It should be different from NL HE  I’m very concerned about the idea that we’re providing a service: we’re doing this for us, and anyone who joins us is doing it with us.

SSC is a cooperative at its essence.

We want cooperative HE, and we want a way to study together in a way that is
different to the NL uni. .. so let’s think about if it’s possible with SSC:

what needs to be done

Bank-money stuff

Income = roughly 300 (going down), member contributions

Expense= about 800 at the moment. -room hire, website/email host, insurance, Co-operative membership

reduce expenses?
venue costs = public cafes -not ideal, make people uncomfortable

mintlane- coffee for 50p? .

Cut costs of website= can be free,
Phil could do this if coordinates with Bradley & Joss.
Insurance = a big expense, protection against being sued about £200 a year – we could reconsider that?

Raise income?

More people might be interested in paying in – at the moment we don’t
really put out the fact that we want contributions  – if we have greater
clarity of where we’re going, might be easier to ask for member
contributions.

Roles:

(Do we need all of these?)

Secretary – (Mike atm but resigning) arranges meetings, rooms, minutes etc.

Membership – (Joss atm)  i.e. list of who’s a member, first point of contact,

Treasurer – (Laura S atm but resigning)

Publicity

Bradley- How about working groups? A person who does it, but then others that can
be involved in it.  

(Can we even have this conversation today?)
Difficult to know if carrying on is viable as not everyone’s in this room?

Laura: But we’ve had the past 2 months trying to get all these people in the room?

Bradley: haven’t had the chance since the membership survey,
Also a way for other people to join who can’t necessarily be there. We can’t
decide this in this meeting
Laura: Worried that in the AGM will have the same conversation, and be unable to
close bank accounts and whatnot
= SO we will have the AGM- and if it’s not viable then, SSC closes, but should be a chance to recommit/establish roles etc

 

AGM – 26th May.

Venue: 10-2pm Crofts St. main hall; transfer to small room at 1pm

So what will AGM look like?

    1. Affirming, reading the constitution at the beginning but only affirming it after conversation.
    2. Widereaching discussion before and then towards the end electing and
      the constitution etc.
      Do we need a wider discussion about if SSC will be a cooperative.
      Mike says that AGM is about affirming what an organisation is – If it’s not a
      coop it’s not a SSC, so that’s not the conversation for an AGM
      Heart of the problem – we don’t have enough people that
      understand/committed to cooperative We do have guests but this
      should be the exception. People can come who are not members, but
      we need enough committed members to run as a cooperative.
    3. David asks – what actually are we meaning by cooperative? An organisation run by its members for the benefit of its members (and the community)
      This can be a question/point of discussion for the AGM, what is it to be
      a coop HE? (and what are alternatives?)

Bradley says – in his entire time at the SSC it’s not been fully cooperative so
this discussion/table needs to have someone who knows about this.

    1. Working groups – people choose what they are more into, i.e. some people not so interested in the philosophy of running as a coop.
      BUT can’t spread too thinly if there aren’t many people.
    2. Courses (offers historically jointly run by an academic and others)
    3. Pedagogy
    4. Electing roles? – maybe at the end, so understand who/what SSC is first.

Open Space:

Cooperatives (Mike): what does it mean to be a coop? What are non-cooperative options?

Roles (Bradley): What named roles are needed? What do they involve? What support & training is needed? Opportunity to sign up?

Courses (Phil): offers, ideas, pedagogy

Surprise” table: anything that’s needed that comes up on the day

(a sheet on a table, people can put their name down/comments on roles they
would be interested in, and also any training needs for these).

Engagement with the community?  

Could include discussions about research?

Who’s facilitating?
Noone- Roll with it

Need:

Big paper and pens

Food

Publicity?

Not too much – we primarily want members.

BUT clear message to the group.

 

Emergent Learning – Tuesday 10th April 2018

This week, we’ll be recalling the year’s learning – housing & homelessness; the built environment & pro-sociality; Marxism, neo-liberalism, the growth economy, and other things besides: what have been the most pertinent, interesting, challenging things that have emerged out of this year’s work? what threads and patterns emerge? and what questions and problems have arisen?
Part two: to feed into the chapter we are writing about the SSC, we wanted to include a range of scholars’ voices about what the SSC is, and does. Why do you come to SSC? What does the SSC do that’s valuable or important to you?
If you’d like to prepare, we invite you to write a paragraph about why you joined SSC, and what you have got out of it so far.
Reading: return to notes and readings from this year –
Notes from session:
  • Six scholars present and one apology for not attending due to ill health.
  • Reviewed presentations/talks covered this year.
  • Discussed the relevance of these events to the topic of Housing and the Built Environment. David Hughes presentation ‘War and the media’ was quite removed from the above topic. However, it was stated that this talk at the beginning of the year did provide inspiration and confidence to one of the scholars present, who was embarking on his first year as an undergraduate student.
  • Links between individual events?
  • Individual experience/learning. Scholars talked of the enjoyment and freedom of the SSC space changing the way in which they learnt and taught.
  • One scholar expressed her unease at the non-hierarchical/structure less set up of the SSC.
  • The instrumental aim of the SSC was to create the space for all scholars to teach and learn. It was explained by one scholar how she had difficulty engaging with some events when the subject matter was something she was knowledgeable of. This feeling was mirrored by another scholar. There was a feeling that some presentations came to a bit of dead end and that there could be more concrete achievements to aim for.
  • It was mentioned that the SSC was originally a political project to provide an alternative to mass higher education.
  • Unlearning the neo-liberal norm/model of education.
  • It was stated that there had been a fear of money and lectures amongst some scholars at the SSC.
  • There was an agreement between several scholars of the need to preserve the space/idea at the SSC.
  • Engaging and learning on different levels and in different spaces. Varying and changing expectations of scholars.
  • Competing needs of fluidity and adaptability and the needs of some sort of structure and achievable goals.

Different contributions to the book chapter were read out.

Spider diagrams

  • Why we come/do not come
  • Who is the SSC / Who does not come?
    • Younger people – next generation of organisers
    • People of colour
    • Other languages

Other topics

  • Accessibility of reading and academic terminology. One scholar commented on the use of buzzwords such as neo-liberal, which fortunately, was explained in a recent talk at the SSC.
  • Gender inequality of speakers. Suggested that the male speakers had invited themselves.

Not discussed at the SSC

  • Dis/Ability, impairment (language of difference)
  • Sexuality
  • Physical and mental health