Minutes from 7th November general meeting

SSC planning meeting 7th November 2015

Attendees: Lucy, Wendy, Mike

Apologies: Sarah, Laura, Andrew, Joss

  1. Minutes from last meeting

No minutes from the last meeting as only Mike and Laura attended.

  1. SSI

Wendy found it difficult to engage with the ‘Sociological Imagination’ but found the session brought the book to life when it related to people’s lives. Laura picked out parts in the book that related to values and as a group we decided to re-write our biographies from a values viewpoint. The Sociological Imagination is a useful book to refer back to. It gives practical advice for research and the value of research. The SSI course is going well. Mike has written some prose. We discussed the value of life history as a research method. A colleague from Middlesex University gave a talk this week on methodologies for professional doctorates.

  1. Reciprocity Pools

Laura would like to set something up. A group of 20-30 people all putting in approx £10-20 to see how it goes and if its a success, talk about putting in bigger amounts.

  1. ISRF
  • Project is going well. 3 out of 5 workshops have been delivered. 3 out of 5 focus groups have been delivered.       Joss and Mike have been regularly interviewing people. The summaries have been posted on the website. An interim report is going to be written and submitted to LATISS, an open access journal.

The green paper on higher education has been published. Some notable aspects are:

  • New entrants only need 1,000 students to be classified as a University.
  • It will be possible for Universities to award degrees in six years rather than ten.
  • This could be exciting for the cooperative movement
  • Green paper appears confused as there are no incentives for Universities to positively respond to changes, there are more regulations.

Mike and Joss are writing a response to the green paper and invite SSC members to read the paper and give their thoughts. We could write a collective response.

Unfortunately the green paper shows no sensitivity to history, social justice or cooperative values. It would be interesting to analyse the paper through the values and principles of the cooperative movement.

  1. Validation

Wendy has started a PHD through Lincoln University, however is struggling to finance this. Is there a way SSC can offer assistance with validation?

SSC is unable to award at this stage, however, can provide ongoing support. Wendy could enrol at a University in France and the SSC will still support Wendy through this. Wendy could also get her PHD through publication. Write and submit at least 5-6 articles (with ongoing support from SSC) to peer review journals and then compose 10,000 word commentary to pull all the work together. This is how Joss obtained his PHD.

  1. SSC online course

There has been a proposal to build an online course around archiving and the politics of archiving. TESA, a workers cooperative in America helps organisations do online teaching and training around cooperatives. They would be able to support us to build an online course. They can provide a handbook on how to do online courses and research into the best technologies for online courses. This can be trialled as an addition to the research project as it is a relevant aspect. It needs to be ready for around March-April 2016.

  1. A.O.B

Wendy and Lucy are visiting the Anarchist Study Group in London on 28th November with Cassie Earl to speak about the SSC. SSC have offered to fund travel.

Notes for Know-how (fifth session): Community, connections, methods, mad world

13th November

Dog and Bone Pub, 10 John Street, Lincoln @dogbonelincoln

Present: Andrew, Lucy, Gerard, Laura, Tim, Martha, Joss, Mike

Localism in the Local

We had agreed to meet in the local pub as a way of making more contact with the local community. The Dog and Bone is not only an award winning CAMRA (Real Ale) pub, but hosts the meetings for many community groups.

Community Development Projects

We discussed the Community Development Projects (CDP) from the 1970s. This was publically funded local research across a range of issues of general concern: unemployment, housing, health, welfare. The publications from the programme are all well produced, written in an accessible academic style with photographs and illustrations. They are usually very critical of government policy. We decided this is a good model on which we might frame some of our own work

We heard about work to develop a transnational co-operative university, including the Cooperative College,  Co-ops UK, academics and agencies and a range of other people. There is as yet no clear idea of what the form this facility would take but it might be arranged horizontally as a network of different types of institutions and structures that respond to local need.

Local evaluations and community connections

Members of the group have strong local connections and we heard about previous research and evaluation projects that they had been involved with in Abbey Ward. One of the group raised the concern that this kind of work that we are developing had been tried before and often not very successfully. They were particularly concerned about our relationship with Abbey Ward. This led to a fuller discussion about the meaning of the concept ‘community’. One of the points that came out of this discussion was how we might connect with other localities in Lincoln, for example, the St Giles ward, where other members of the Centre live.

Research methodology and methods

The programme is still in the process of deciding how to frame the research that we will be doing. One idea that emerged from the meeting is that members might want to organise a research project around their own occupations, particularly those who are working in Abbey Ward in areas of social concern. We discussed that this is not simply about content, what they do every day at work, but how they frame that research: what kind of research method and methodology they might use.

The Enemy Within

One kind of research method is film documentary. One of the group had been to see the film ‘Still The Enemy Within’, about the miners strike in the 1980s. ‘The Enemy Within: The Secret War Against the Miners’  is the title of a book by the Guardian journalist, Seamus Milne using a journalistic methodology.

Extending the network

The group heard about contacts that had been made with local groups, including meetings with Lynsey Collinson at  Development Plus and the council’s Neighbourhood Development Officer, Paul Carrick. Both of these local community development workers are very positive about the SSC and are keen to support the work we are doing. They have given us a number of people and agencies to contact, including immigrant groups. Meetings are to be arranged with these contacts to discuss ways of taking the research forward programme forward. One idea is to write a history of the area based on the experiences of residents and their own writings and recordings. It emerged from the discussion with the Lynsey and Paul that there are many immigrants living in Abbey Ward with experience of higher education, but have difficulty maintaining an  ‘intellectual life’ given the difficulty in accessing higher education without incurring high levels of debt.

New Deal for Communities

The main part of the session was taken up discussing a paper, written by one of the members of the group, Andrew McCulloch, and published in Capital and Class in 1984 on ‘Localism and its Neoliberal Applications’. The paper was about a more recent government funded community development programme, New Deal for Communities, with reference to a particular programme in the North East of England. This was a wide ranging discussion, including the nature of the concept of community, research methodology and methods, research ethics, and the role of the police. An important issue was the way in which the local state had come to control and contain acts of local activism  in ways that perverted the original aims of the New Deal programme.  We also discussed forms of  resistance to the state that members of the group had been involved with, including squatting in Amsterdam, Climate Camp and Reclaim the Streets. All agreed what a deeply politicising experience this had been for those who took part in these actions.

On Know-how

At the end of the meeting the comment was made that the programme does not have a set objective that is likely to be recuperated by the state, but that we are learning for ourselves and with others how to do research about things that have meaning and purpose for us in this local context. An important aspect of the research process is sustaining and nuturing the SSC. In that sense it is not possible to say that this work had been tried before and had failed.

The meeting ended at 8.55. We agreed to meet next week at Croft Street Community Centre, but that we should return to the Dog and Bone about once a month. The reading for next week is an evaluation undertaken recently by Martha on Abbey Ward.

Sound track

While we sat and talked and drank some beers and juice and coke and water songs were played out of the pubs audio system. These songs included:

Tears for Fears’ ‘Mad World’; George Michael’s:  You Gotta Have Faith; Huey Newton’s  Power of Love ;  Paul Simon’s Call me Al; Tears for Fears’: Everybody  Wants to Rule the World; Tracey Chapman’s Fast Car and Don MacLean’s American Pie.

Minutes from November planning meeting

SSC Planning Meeting

Time: 12 noon, Saturday 1st November, 2014

Venue: LincolnShare | Beaumont Fee

Present: Andrew, Laura, Lucy, PW, Mike, David, Elise Tel and Harriet Stevenson

Apologies: Wendy, Sarah and Joss.

Know-How

Mike gave us a summary of the course so far, and mentioned that James Irvine’s contribution at the last session had given the programme a focus; It’s been decided that current residents’ stories and ongoing local history research will be central to the developing course.

Child Care and Accessibility

The group co-ordinating the Know-How course have accepted all but one of the CCA working group’s recommendations (the exception being the accommodation of children into the learning space). As yet, no scholar has requested support with care responsibilities.

Fun Palace | Saturday, 20 December | Croft Street Community Centre

Unfortunately, as Wendy was absent, and no one present knew very much about how the plans were going, we didn’t discuss this event.

Our Guests – Level One Journalism Students (University of Lincoln)

Elise and Hetty introduced themselves and explained their interest in the SSC. We look forward to reading their respective reports!

Events

Lucy will be returning to work in Lincoln – Boston’s loss is our gain!

Laura has moved into her new home!

LincolnShare continue in their quest to secure permanent premises…

Joss will be giving a keynote at the Learning Together conference in December.

Mike will be in Brighton on Monday, 3 November working with the Free University of Brighton

Andrew’s book will be officially ‘launched’ by the University of Lincoln in the new year.

Ritual Significance | Art Through the Evolutionary Lens will open on (6.00pm) Friday, 30 January at The Collection, Lincoln. All scholars welcome.

And finally, this conference in Edinburgh looks interesting.

AOB

December’s Chair (David McAleavey) would like all agenda items by Friday, November 28.

January’s meeting will be held on Saturday, 10 January.

 

The meeting closed at 1pm.