Academics will be joining co-operative activists, members and managers in a discussion on the future of the movement for the 47th annual conference of the UK Society for Co-operative Studies. Founded in the 1960s, the society aims to build the movement through co-operative research. This year delegates will be meeting on 6-7 September at the University of Essex in Colchester.
As part of a session on effective governance of co-operative enterprises, financial columnist and journalist Paul Gosling will be looking at the recent events at the Co-operative Group and the Co-operative Bank and lessons to learn from these. He will be joined by Frances Coppola, writer and commentator, who will discuss the wider implications of governance, and Clarke Willis, chief executive of Anglia Farmers, who will assess the importance of commitment within co-operatives.
While youth engagement remains a concerning issue for many co-operatives, the conference will look at potential ways to engage new generations of co-operators. On this topic delegated will hear from Emily Lippold Cheney of the USA Co-operative Youth Council, Cheryl Barrott of Change AGEnts and representatives from the Chelmsford Star Co-operative Youth Council and the Co-operative Group’s Young Members’ Board. Student bursaries are also available for the conference.
Delegates will also be highlighting good practice in membership and participation, a session featuring presentations from John Boyle, membership and party support officer at the Co-operative Party, and Edgar Parnell, grassroots co-operator and activist who publishes Co-op Pundit.
A research roundtable will bring together academics from universities in the UK to present their latest research on co-operation and co-operatives. They include Tara Mulqueen of Birkbeck, University of London; Paola Raffael of Roehampton, University of London; and Kiri Langmead of Sheffield Hallam University.