Social Science Centre Farewell Statement

Dear Members, Friends and Followers of the Social Science Centre,

The Social Science Centre is closing at the end of February 2019. Since 2011, we have organised and run free, cooperative higher education courses and community projects in the city of Lincoln. The SSC was created as both a critique of and an alternative to the dominant model of higher education in the UK, and has been inspirational for many of its members and followers. It has created many spaces for intellectual life, learning, solidarity and friendship within the city and enabled many of us to follow new dreams. Running such a project has required considerable time and commitment from us all, and been challenging at times, and we have reached the limit of what we are able to achieve in this organisational form. The ideas that have underpinned the SSC, and co-operative higher education generally, are being developed elsewhere. A Co-operative University with degree-awarding powers is now being established in England and will open in 2019. The SSC was free and relied on voluntary labour; the Co-operative University will charge students £5,500 in order to access government funding and workers will be paid. Although one project is charging a fee and the other was free, both projects, following the historical aim of the Co-operative movement, intend to develop a new form of common wealth. We look forward to working with you in the city of Lincoln and elsewhere on other projects.

Yours in hope and solidarity.

 

Reflective discussion & collage-making

In case you missed it last time, here’s another chance to do Hannah’s workshop – I can totally recommend it! This Sunday at Coffee Aroma, Guildhall Street (upstairs room), 10am-midday.

This arts-based focus group is part of my (Hannah’s) research for my master’s dissertation on alternative “counter-neoliberal” higher education. The 2 hour workshop involves reflective discussion and collage-making regarding our perceptions of SSC: who we are, what are we doing here, and how does SSC relate to and within the wider higher education sector.

We will start with some discussions/introductions and then create collages that express/communicate our perceptions of SSC. They can be individual or collaborative and they are yours to keep (although I would love to take a photo of them). For the last half an hour (perhaps longer if there is time) we will talk about our collages, ask one another questions and explore metaphor and meaning. I will provide materials but if you have anything lying around (old newspapers, magazines, prospectuses, textiles, glue, scissors, etc.) which you can bring along please do.

As this is part of my research study I intend to audio-record discussion using my phone. I will also need to collect signed consent forms. I will bring hardcopies of consent forms and study information, but they are also available for you to look over here:

Consent form: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RKdoBQdolOTr-90Ns1D7rgXSXoUIJdTiQwXZskDikTs/edit?usp=sharing
Information sheet: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1JZroUQCjBoO04jV7g6fn5iP69n6t2qS3/view?usp=sharing
Participant sheet: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1XJqvP_wou-XOniOEAtrat3cPshYDT_tT/view?usp=sharing

Dr David Hughes: War & the Media

Prof. Nigel Curry has had to postpone his lecture on the Growth Economy due to family reasons.  We are super glad to announce this excellent late replacement:

Public lecture 7pm, Tuesday 3rd September 2017

How independent is the “free media”? To what extent does it serve to hold government to account, and to what extent does it act as an instrument of propaganda? This lecture will explore those questions in relation to war by analysing a series of wars from World War II through Vietnam and the Falklands to the Gulf War, Kosovo, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Participants will be encouraged to think critically about the news channels they follow and the kinds of messages they are being exposed to.

Everyone welcome.  Free of charge.

Involve Centre, Mint Lane, Lincoln

Housing & the Built Environment Autumn term dates 2017

Monthly Meeting & History Tour of St Giles with Callum, Saturday 2nd September, midday, St Giles Jubilee Hall, Lamb Gardens. Monthly meeting, followed by a guided walk around St Giles.  Callum has done his dissertation on history of St Giles.

Public Lecture tbc, Tuesday 3rd October, 7pm

Monthly Planning Meeting, Saturday 7th October, midday, Mint Lane Involve Centre

Start of term: Housing & the Built Environment, Tuesday 17th October, 7pm, Mint Lane Involve Centre. Welcome new members, reflect on public lecture, introduce Autumn term course and proposed reading

Building Prosociality (David & Karolina), Tuesday 31st October, 7pm, Mint Lane Involve Centre. Reading: Community Perception: The Ability to Assess the Safety of Unfamiliar Neighborhoods and Respond Adaptively Daniel Tumminelli O’Brien and David Sloan Wilson

Monthly Planning Meeting, Saturday 4th November, midday, Mint Lane Involve Centre

Social housing in Lincoln (Lucy), Tuesday 14th November, 7pm, Mint Lane Involve Centre

Prosperity & the Landlord’s Game (Laura), Tuesday 28th November, 7pm, Mint Lane Involve Centre

SSC AGM Planning Meeting, 25th June

 

Venue: Angel Cafe

Time: 11am

Present: Laura, Meredith, Sarah, Mike

Online publicity

A short piece setting out details about the SSC  AGM has been posted on Lincolnite website

Posters/flyers

Delivery of posters/flyers from printer to be confirmed 26th June.

Distribution of flyers

Members to distribute flyers to residents across the city on dates set out below. Please let us know when/if you able to do this:

West End, Tues 27th 7pm. Meet 252 West Parade.

St Giles, Weds 28th June 7pm. Meeting place tba.

St Georges and Long Leys, Thurs 29th June 7pm. Meeting place tba.

Burton Road, Thurs 29th June 7pm. Meeting place tba

Monks Road, Fri 30th June 7pm. Meeting place tba.

City Centre, library and cafes, Sat 1st July. Meeting place and time tba

School and Childrens’ Centres. Days and times tba.

Arrangements for the event

Arrangements for the event were discussed, including need for graffiti and scribble paper for ideas for future learning, artefacts to show history of SSC and provision for children. At the start of the event members to say why they are involved with SSC and ask those attending to suggest ideas for the event. Organising group suggested running the Money workshop presented at the first SSC AGM.

Business of AGM

Agenda for AGM to be drafted and sent out for comment ( MN)

Treasurer’s Report to be prepared (LS)

 

Meeting ended 12 noon.

 

Social Science Centre, Annual General Meeting, Saturday 8th July

The Social Science Centre will be having its Annual General Meeting for 2017 on 8th July at The Collection, Lincoln, from 11 am – 4 pm.

Agenda for the AGM

11am- 12 noon: Official business

12 – 12.30 pm: Lunch – bring and share food

12:30 – 1pm: Introductions

1pm – 1.45: General discussion to formulate discussion group topics

2pm – 3pm: Discussion groups

3pm – 3.15pm: Break

3.15pm – 4.00pm:  General discussion about workshops and how to take the discussion forward

 

 

Annual General Meeting, Planning Meeting Notes, 9th May, Angel Cafe

SSC AGM Planning meeting notes

Tuesday 9th May, 1pm Angel café

Present: Mike Laura, Bradley

· We decided the date for the AGM will be Saturday 8th July (a change from June 24th due to some members having commitments that had arose since).

· Venue to be booked, either The Collection Museum or Croft Street Community Centre, depending on availability.

· We also agreed it would be good to invite SSC Manchester to the event.

· We talked about how to advertise the event and  talked to a friend about designing a poster and flyer with upcoming events of the SSC on the reverse side (this could also be a graphic to share on social media). It was suggested we do some guerrilla marketing, maybe  in the high street with a sandwich board in the likeness of a social science book with the SSC logo, advertising the event. It was suggested  we set up a Facebook page to publicae the event (to be done once venue confirmed) and that we could contact the student newspaper to aid in promotion.

· We agreed then that we need to perhaps have a few future dates in the calendar before the AGM.

Agenda for the AGM

· Official business 11am- 12pm- this is the housekeeping/official stuff. Current members will be encouraged to come to this earlier bit, whereas the main advertising for new members will be for lunch onwards.

· Lunch 12PM- bring and share food

· Kick off properly 12:30pm with intros from everyone present- why here, what are you hoping to get out of it?

· The some short talks from current members on SSC, what we do, what we’ve gotten out of it etc.

· Then breaking out into smaller discussion groups.

Next meeting- 1:30pm Angel café, Monday 22nd May to continue planning the AGM.

REVIEWING OUR HISTORY AND MAKING PLANS

27th August 2016, 10am-4pm
Croft Street Community Centre, Lincoln LN2 5AZ

Please join us at this event to look back at our activities
since 2011 and make plans for our future.

MORNING SESSION (SSC MEMBERS ONLY)

10:00–12:00 – SSC on reflection

A chance for all past and present members of the Social Science Centre to reflect on their experiences in the Centre, our activities, roads we have not taken, changes we should make and hopes for the future. Highlights to be shared with others later in the day.

LUNCH (public, everyone welcome)

12:30–1:30

AFTERNOON SESSION (public, all welcome)

1:30–4:00 – Co-operative Higher Education in Lincoln

Ideas and making plans for the term/year. It has already been suggested we run courses on Brexit, women political writers, ‘where is capitalism going next?’ and the co-operative movement in Lincoln and the UK.

What is the SSC?

We practice a kind of higher education that explores the everyday experiences of our members – who are both students and teachers – through concepts and ideas developed in the social sciences. This includes making critical sense of social problems (like ‘austerity’, racism and nationalism or the privatisation of schools) and important local and global events like ‘Brexit’, learning how they affect us and how we might have an effect on them. Our past courses – The Social Science Imagination, Co-operation and Education, and Know How: Do-It-Ourselves Higher Education – all used different approaches for this learning.

We are a co-operative organisation owned and run by our members. This means that we not only experience higher education, but decide together what this learning should be, how it works and why it matters. All our members can help run the Centre by taking part in democratic decision-making processes and collective ownership and responsibility. No one pays for learning or gets paid for teaching at the SSC because we do not believe knowledge should be for sale. Members with financial means make small monthly contributions to the co-operative to pay for room hire and other running costs. For more information about the SSC, visit our website: socialsciencecentre.org.uk.

Why do we need co-operative higher education?

The Social Science Centre, Lincoln was established in 2011 when the UK Government stopped funding the teaching of social science and other subjects that were deemed ‘non-essential’ in English universities, and raised student tuition fees at the same time. It was also born out of a deeper worry that as universities transform themselves into businesses and focus more on satisfying the short-term, competitive, profit-driven demands of the capitalist market, people are denied opportunities for higher learning and critical and creative thinking (and opportunities for any higher learning not linked to enormous amounts of personal debt).

The state of higher education in England has not improved since that time. Policies to raise student tuition fees were followed by policies to reduce need-based educational grants, and then by policies that changed remaining grants into more student loans. There is evidence that these fees deter people from state schools from applying to university. There is evidence that students are limiting their choices in study based on vocational and ’employability’ criteria which are based on flawed measurements of ‘return on investment’. There has been a very significant fall in the number of mature students applying to university.

At the SSC, we believe even more strongly today that higher learning oriented towards intellectual values of critical thinking, experimentation, sharing, peer review, co-operation, collaboration, openness, debate and constructive disagreement is an essential part of making a better future for us all. This is why we are working to create alternative spaces of higher education whose purpose, societal value and existence do not depend on the interests and decisions of the powerful, places where everyone can learn and everyone can teach.