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.

 

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.

SSC planning meeting minutes 13th February 2016

Attendees: Joss, Laura, Lucy, Andrew, Wendy, Rob Goemans, Sara Ahmed, Hadiza Abdulrahman

Apologies: Paul, Mike, Sarah

1. Minutes from last meeting

Social Cybernetics and SSI are running alternate weeks.  A lot of interest from the last SSI course when Mike circulated some notes.

2. Curriculum this term

SSI – try and find the notes from the planning session, we are leading a week each starting with looking at 1984.

Cybernetics – scholars from as far as London are attending.  Feedback is that it is interesting, stimulating and challening, but some are struggling with new terminology and concepts.  Pitched at a very high level.

3. ISRF

The last workshop has now been run and notes have been circulated amongst participants. There will be an online focus group on Thursday which will be attended in place of SSI.  Can join in from home or all meet at Mint Lane.  Looking at co-operation among cooperatives, an international network, need to think bigger than just one university.

 

There is the possibility of a further grant to do more research on Co-operative higher education.

Joss and Mike have had good discussions with people from Mondragon co-operative university in Spain, as well as UniCoop in Mexico.

4. Community Art group

Gnawed by Rats – Laura has contacted them but as yet they have not got back in touch.

5. Savings pool

Some people who attended the worskshop are interested in setting up a savings pool.  There has been discussion on the public/private nature of savings pools.  Another workshop will be put on.

6. Curriculum offer

½ day/ 1day workshop has been offered to SSC on the theory of rituals in education.  There is interest in the group for this.

7. Birbeck – Mike has offered to go and speak, if anyone is interested in joining Mike, please let him know.  This will be 25th April.

8. Paulo Vittoria is coming back to Lincoln on a research project Februay 9-17th.  Initial meeting will be confirmed by Joss.  Joss will circulate the research proposal.

9. Planning for AGM May 2016

Need to book the venue, Joss to confirm the date, Mike will look at the minutes from the last AGM, need to give at least 1 months notice, we shall publish an agenda in the next few weeks.

A.O.B – Wendy asked new comers to the group if they wouldn’t mind writing a short paragraph on what they would like to get from attending the SSC so we can look at accommodating their needs.

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