4th Annual General Meeting – May 16th, 11-4pm

The Social Science Centre will hold its 4th AGM on May 16th 2015 at Croft Street Community Centre. This is a public event and all are welcome. An agenda will follow soon but the day is likely to begin with the formal business of our co-operative, followed by lunch (bring and share) and then a series of talks and discussions, including guest speakers, Tony Jeffs, Bob Cannell, and Andrew Jackson. Join us to celebrate four years of free, co-operative higher education!

SSC AGM 2015 - smallb


If you are planning to come with children or would like to talk to us about help with childcare and children’s activities on the day, please contact the Childcare Working Group (sarah@socialsciencecentre.org.uk).

Minutes from 3rd AGM – May 2014

Below our the minutes from our 3rd AGM on 24th May 2014. The financial report is also attached below.

24th May 2014 12-3pm, Lincoln Grandstand Community Centre.

Apologies: David McCleavey, Peaceful Warrior, Laura Stratford, Richard Hall

Chair: Sarah Amsler

Minutes: Joss Winn

Members present: Andrew M, Stephen H, Tim B, Lucy M, Joss W, Sarah A, Gary S, Mike N, Gerard de Z.


  1. Approval of previous AGM minutes
  2. Constitution
  3. Finance
  4. Social Science Imagination course and projects
  5. Accommodation
  6. AOB


1. The minutes from the previous AGM were approved.

2. We looked at the constitution in detail: Sarah went through the Constitution and asked members to raise any points.

a. Role of consensus, deliberative decision-making, representative. Difference between executive decisions and day-to-day decisions. Members (especially new) need more support in understanding their responsibilities and how consensus works. ACTION: Sarah and Gary to write discussion paper on democratic decision-making. To discuss at follow-up meeting.

b. Members (43 listed/20 ‘active’). What constitutes ‘active’ membership? Andrew: Members should agree to abide by values, etc. Distinction between members and supporters. Associates and non-associate academic members. Need to better define ‘active membership’ in the constitution. Participants on a course are not members necessarily members of the SSC coop. ‘Active’ over a given period. ACTION: Joss to write statement about membership with list of options. Need to provide more support for new members and outline responsibilities of members. To discuss at follow-up meeting.

c. Conflict resolution. How is this dealt with? By consensus. A proposal to the constitution was proposed relating to ‘Termination of Membership’ – “is wound up or goes into liquidation”. ACTION: Propose removal of this part of the clause (Joss).

d. ACTION: Add statement of values to criteria for membership (Joss). We agreed that as an educational organization, it is OK to be wrong and that people learn to think differently.

e. Status and role of monthly general meetings. Needs defining better. E.g. publishing agenda, requirements of members, critical decisions to be discussed/made at each meeting.

f. Our responsibilities under Equality Act. ACTION: Gary to seek advice. ACTION: Mike/Stephen: Seek clarification over liabilities of members?

g. Andrew offered to be secretary. Need description of this role. Agree responsibilities. ACTION: Define secretary role at next general meeting.

3. Stephen gave a report on the finances of the SSC. We have £1774.62 See report. Some invoices outstanding. We agreed to try to use the services of other coops when appropriate. Stephen was voted into his role as Treasurer. Stephen said that we need to revisit the Business Plan as the current projection does not reflect reality. ACTION: Review Business Plan at next general meeting. Financial Report May 2014

4. Members reflected on the SSI course. Mike: Affirm that the SSC is an alternative form of higher education and be critically reflective. Gary: About how we put it into practice. Gerard: What is the problem we are trying to solve? How do we provide an alternative response to that problem? Wendy: SSC should be engaged in local politics. ACTION: Working group (Lucy, Wendy, Sarah, Gary) on childcare. Have something in place by next term, September. Need to talk to people about what we’re doing. Need to be clearer about who we are and the type of activities we do. Tim: Website is out of date. Too many emails. ACTION (All): Curriculum design and reading list for next SSI course to be created during the summer, not immediately prior to start of course. Decide readings, send them out in advance of the course starting. To discuss at next general meeting.

5. Accommodation: We have been invited to join Lincoln Share, a new premises on Beaumont Fee for co-operatives and community groups. Can the SSC afford it? For how long are we committed? We need to look at the space and see if there is somewhere in it that suits us. Andrew expressed concerns about the suitability of the physical space. Child care facilities? Fully accessible rooms? We will try to hold our next Saturday meeting at Lincoln Share so members can see it. ACTION: Get keys for Sat 7th June (Joss).

6. AOB

a. Next AGM will be on 16th May 2015.
b. ACTION: Arrange a follow-up meeting of issues arising from AGM.
c. Need to make members much more aware of what is on the agenda so that decisions are better informed.

3rd Annual General Meeting

3rd birthday

As previously minuted, the SSC AGM will be held on Saturday May 24th from 12-3pm at the Grandstand Community Centre, Carholme Road, Lincoln [map].

The draft agenda is as follows:

  1. Review of the SSC values and principles, aims and purposes, with reference to the SSC Constitution.
  2. Social Science Imagination course planning
  3. Financial report
  4. AOB

You do not have to be a member of our co-operative to attend. Everyone is very welcome, including parents with children.

Notes from our 2nd AGM

Our AGM was held from 12-4pm on 11th May at the Collection, Lincoln. The first part of the AGM was dedicated to reporting on our membership, finances and other formal matters. You can read the notes from this by clicking on the links below.

Notes of AGM 11th May 2013

Financial Report 11th May 2013

Following this, the majority of the AGM was facilitated by three speakers. First, Mike Ward led a workshop on ethnographic research, based on his doctoral work documenting the lives of young men in South Wales. Then, Joel Lazarus spoke about his project, the People’s Political Economy, which has a number of similarities to the SSC. Finally, Mervyn Wilson, from the Co-operative College, spoke about the increasing number of state schools which are converting to co-operatives and his vision for FE and HE to do the same.

Thanks to everyone who attended. Our next meeting is a workshop this Saturday, 25th May at the Involvement Centre, Mint Lane, Lincoln, where we’ll be asking, “what does ‘Free Co-operative Higher Education’ really mean?” See you there!

Doing Ethnography as a form of collective/co-operative research

SSC scholar, Mike Ward, will be leading a workshop at our AGM on May 11th.

This workshop draws on data from a funded ESRC ethnographic study that explored the lives of a group of young, white, working-class men (aged 16-18) in a socially and economically disadvantaged community. The fieldwork stage of the ethnography explored how these young men performed their masculinities in different ways within different settings. This was conducted through many hours of participant observation, focus group interviews, ethnographic conversations, and more formally recorded one-on-one interviews. Over the research period which spanned two and a half years, multiple sites were visited in order to create a rich ‘thick description’ of their world. These sites including educational institutions, where apart from observing lessons I spent time in canteens, on school trips and in common rooms. Outside these educational sites, I also spent time in social arenas such as pubs, nightclubs, cars, shops, cinemas, and attended live gigs and parties. However, during my time in the field I found that I was confronted with issues that I did not fully expect to encounter. Whilst ultimately the research was being conducted to enable me to gain my doctorate from Cardiff University, without the young men’s support, co-operation and willingness to let me into their lives, I would not have been able to tell their story and highlight the issues they faced. Using examples from my fieldnotes and interview transcripts, in this workshop I want to explore how pieces of data can highlight examples of cooperative research and be analysed in different ways.

Related reading: Erving Goffman (1989) On Fieldwork

At this year’s AGM, we also have talks planned by Mervyn Wilson and Joel Lazarus. All welcome.