28th April – Angel Coffee House
Who: Laura S, Laura W, Phil, Bradley, Mike, David H, Hannah
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!)
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.
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 –
Income = roughly 300 (going down), member contributions
Expense= about 800 at the moment. -room hire, website/email host, insurance, Co-operative membership
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?
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
(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)
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?
- Affirming, reading the constitution at the beginning but only affirming it after conversation.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Courses (offers historically jointly run by an academic and others)
- Electing roles? – maybe at the end, so understand who/what SSC is first.
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?
Noone- Roll with it
Big paper and pens
Not too much – we primarily want members.
BUT clear message to the group.