2018 UKSCS conference Diversity in co-operation: people, place and organisation.

31 August to 2 September in Sheffield.

The Annual General Meeting was held on Friday 31 August 2018, where the annual report and accounts were presented.

Co-operative News published a number of write-ups on the conference.

Opening Lecture: Professor Rory Ridley-Duff

Professor Rory Ridley-Duff delivered his inaugural professorial lecture at the conference on the subject of ‘Diversity, Co-operation and the FairShares model’.

Keynote Session: Susanne Westhausen on the Co-operative Movement in Denmark

Susanne Westhausen, CEO of Kooperationen (a confederation of co-operatives and social enterprises in Denmark) and current board member of the International Co-operative Alliance and Vice President of Co-operatives Europe.

Sion Whellens – Worker Co-operative Solidarity Fund

Sion Whellens presented on the Worker Co-operative Solidarity Fund

Sion is a founder member of the Worker Co-operative Solidarity Fund, vice president of CECOP-CICOPA (the European Federation of Co-ops in Industry and Services), and former Director of Co-operatives UK. This short non-academic paper describes the background of the Worker Coop Solidarity Fund (SolidFund); its origins; the motivation of its proposers and early members; subsequent growth path; critical success factors; and problematics. In this context, it is designed to provide insights to students and practitioners working in the field of cooperative development, and contribute to a wider discussion about cooperative self-help, collaboration (Principle Six), and resourcing the growth of the movement.

Panel Debate: Co-operatives and the Social Solidarity Economy: Europe and beyond

The final day ended with a panel debate

Dr Rocio NogalesManaging Director of the EMES International Research Network, coordinator of a 4-year COST Action (EMPOWER-SE) that is investing in the next generation of co-operative and social economy researchers. Rocio presentation focused on building a network of researchers engaged in scholarly activities, and the role that EMPOWER-SE plays in bridging communities of scholars in over 40 countries who connect with each other across the social solidarity economy (SSE).

Cliff SouthcombeManaging Director of Social Enterprise International Ltd and a co-founder of FairShares Association Ltd (a specialist in supporting solidarity cooperatives and companies). Cliff’s presentation focussed on the role that co-operatives and co-operation continues to play within the ecosystem of the SSE. As coordinator of Erasmus exchanges for social entrepreneurs across Europe, and as a partner in numerous funded and commercial projects, Cliff has wrestled at the boundary of ‘old’ and ‘new’ co-operativism for two decades. He will discuss the potential for co-operative development in FairShares Labs and co-operative education in schools within the NEMESIS Horizon 20/20 project.

Cory FletcherCory Fletcher works with Molly Scott Cato MEP on economics and finance, including sustainable finance.Cory’s talk focussed on how social ownership in the sustainable finance agenda is key to its successful implementation. Co-operative banks have been leading actors in the consideration of the environmental, social and governance factors in sustainable investments. Institutional actors such as the UN and the EU are now recognising the urgent need for policy and regulation for sustainable finance.

Susanne WesthausenCEO of Kooperation (a confederation of cooperatives and social enterprises in Denmark), current board member of the International Cooperative Alliance, and Vice President of Cooperatives Europe.Susanne will build on her opening plenary by giving further insights into the way Danish co-operatives and social enterprises interact with the SSE. Based on work to develop national and international legal frameworks for co-operatives and social enterprises, she will draw on her roles within CECOP-CICOPA, Co-operatives Europe and the ICA to discuss the challenges facing the co-operative movement.

Siôn Whellensa founder member of the Worker Co-operative Solidarity Fund, vice president of CECOP-CICOPA (the European Federation of Co-ops in Industry and Services), and former Director of Co-operatives UK. Siôn will build on his talk about the Worker Co-operative Solidarity Fund (SolidFund) based on his experience representing worker co-operatives within Co-operatives UK and CECOP-CICOPA. He outlined on the potential of online communities to support worker co-operative development and mutuality in the SSE.