In support of a new book for Palgrave (“The Roads to New Cooperativism”, due Jan 2023) and a special issue on new cooperativism in the Journal of Cooperative Studies (due Dec 2022), a ‘New Cooperativism Board’ has been formed by members of the UK Society of Co-operative Studies (UKSCS), EMES International Research Network (EMES) and European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprise (EURICSE). The board has agreed to arrange peer-review of submissions to the special issue, and to support a seminar series that promotes the call whilst also aiding data collection by Prof Rory Ridley-Duff to fulfil the book contract with Palgrave.

The board have collaborated to define five online research seminars aligned to themes in the book proposal to Palgrave and the Call for Papers.

The suggested format for each research seminar is a half-day (3 hours) covering two themes in the Call for Papers (2 x 1 hr 30 minutes/theme). It will formally be hosted by the UK Society for Co-operative Studies (the ‘host’), and supported by the FairShares Institute at Sheffield Hallam University (the ‘research centre’):

Proposed Seminar Format

Statements: 20-25 minutes (recorded): a panel with a maximum of three guest speakers will each be given 3-5 minutes to make a statement on their selected theme (see below). Following opening statements, there will be 10-15 minutes for the facilitator(s) to interview panellists on question(s) raised in the Call for Papers.

Discussion: 20-25 minutes (not-recorded): following ‘Statements’, participants will be organised into breakout groups (max 4 people). Each group will formulate comments/feedback to the panellists and prepare up to two questions for further discussion. The Chatham House Rule applies to this part of the seminar.

Feedback: 20-25 minutes (recorded): each breakout group offers comments, then asks up to two questions for panellists to respond to.

Reflection: 10-15 minutes (recorded): each panellist has 3-5 minutes to offer a response to the comments and questions.

Details of each of the seminars are listed below, you will only need to complete a register of interest form once for all events. Thus, giving you the freedom to turn up to which ever ones inspire you, or take your fancy!

Seminar 1 (June)

Theme 1 - New Cooperativism and Sustainable Development

We welcome contributions that explore how new co-operatives are responding to the United Nations initiative on sustainable development. Do sustainable development goals (SDGs) help or hinder new cooperativism? What is the level of alignment between co-operative values and principles and specific SDGs? How do SDGs provide a framework for evaluating initiatives in new co-operatives?

Theme 2 - Updating Co-op Values and Principles 

In addition to papers on revising co-operative values and principles, we welcome contributions that explore frameworks that align new cooperativism with the social solidarity economy (e.g. transformative social innovation; FairShares Model). Do these extend, develop or replace existing co-operative values and principles? Do they observe the 2015 guidance of the International Co-operative Alliance? What updates (if any) are needed to accommodate new cooperativism? 

Seminar 2 (July)

Theme 3 – Legal Innovations for Multi-Stakeholder Governance 

How can companies, co-operative societies, partnerships and associations be re-configured to support new cooperativism? Following new classification work by the ICA (Eum, Carini, Bouchard, 2019), how can solidarity co-operatives be structured legally? What legal and governance innovations have emerged to support multi-stakeholding and community involvement? What legal and governance innovations are emerging to support the alignment of co-operatives with sustainable development?

Theme 4 - Funding and Incentives in New Cooperativism 

How should co-operatives use, and respond to, the rise of crowd-funding, crowd-lending and crowd-investing?  As investment platforms create wider reach and open up the potential for global membership, will this undermine the community focus of funding mechanisms? What can be learnt from platforms like Kiva, Kickstarter and Indiegogo? What co-operative platforms exist (or are developing) for new co-operatives to re-invent ‘co-operative shares’ that raise cooperative capital and regulate the distribution of surpluses?

Seminar 3 (September)

Theme 5 - Learning for New Cooperativism 

New cooperativism often advocates a radical re-organisation of power, favouring labour and solidarity projects to create and manage common resources (Vieta, 2014, 2019). How does this affect the learning and development of co-operators, and influence curricula to support cooperative entrepreneurship (Ridley-Duff, Schmidtchen & Arnold-Schaarschmidt [+6 more authors], 2020)?  What learning and development methods (both formal and informal) contribute to effective workplace democracy? What innovations in cooperation education and curricula might stimulate youth co-operatives (MacPherson, 2015)?

Theme 6 - Policy Initiatives and Spaces for New Cooperativism 

What new spaces are opening for co-op development? How do crises (financial, medical) generate opportunities for new cooperativism? Should the ICA and other co-operative infrastructure bodies support new cooperativism? How can they do so?  What new policy initiatives would build bridges between grassroots movement and existing ecosystems? Do existing ecosystems for co-operative support hinder and disrupt new cooperativism?

Seminar 4 (October)

Theme 7 - Gender/Minority Group Sensitivities in Multi-stakeholder Co-ops 

We invite papers that reflect and analyse how gender (and minority group) sensitivities and issues can be theorised. How can they be empirically investigated in multi-stakeholder co-operatives and new spaces for cooperativism?  Can gender/minority issues be addressed and disrupted? If yes, in which ways, with what pre-requisites, overcoming which barriers, and achieving what outcomes?

Theme 8 - Conceptions of (Co-operative) Wealth 

We call for papers that explore the arguments for integrated accounting and social auditing, and papers that consider the relevance of a changed perspective on wealth and sustainable development in new co-operatives. What recognition and rewards are given for contributions of natural, human, social, intellectual, manufactured and financial capital? How is the concept of ‘capital’ being conceptualised in the spaces for new cooperativism? What is the importance of the Prosumer concept to wealth creation in new co-operatives?

Seminar 5 (November)

Theme 9 - Digital and Platform Co-operatives 

Multinationals have dominated the platform economy. Seven companies belong to the world’s ten wealthiest enterprises, but none are based in Europe. As the social media battle between Rupert Murdock and Facebook in Australia has shown, problems arise out of the clash between market forces and monopoly interests, disrupting small and medium-sized enterprises. How can new co-operative business models offer alternatives and/or promote co-operatives that renegotiate user rights on privately owned platforms (see Hill 2017, Wieg 2020)?

Theme 10 – Co-operative Communications and Publishing

The growing interest in distributed co-operative organisations (DisCos) depends on new forms of communication through digital networks that connect members within and across co-operative movements. As we approach the 150th anniversary of Co-op Press, how might DisCos transform co-operative publishing, or usher in community-led reporting? Are there platforms to challenge Facebook and Google that co-operatives can work with, or enhance/transform into new co-operatives (e.g., Ecosia)?

Register for the seminar series here:

UK Society for Co-operative Studies is registered in England and Wales as a charitable incorporated organisation Number 1175295. Our registered office is Holyoake House, Hanover Street, Manchester, M60 0AS.
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