Celebrating Co-operative College Centenary Workshop

Building Local Economies, Communities and Identities: Co-operatives and the Social Economy

In collaboration with Co-operative College UK, Co-operative Early Researchers Network (CERN), Institute of Place Management (IPM) & Sustainable and Ethical Enterprise Group (SEEG)

A hundred years ago in Manchester the Co-operative College was established. It was committed to educating the population about the principles and practice of co-operation; developing ideas about co-operation; promoting research to improve the lives of people involved in co-operatives and building the capacity of co-operatives to be democratic, efficient and effective. In the last hundred years the college has supported co-operators all over the world through education and research, and it continues to do so today.

As part of its centenary year celebrations, the College has joint forces with the IPM and SEEG, its collaborators at Manchester Met, and the associated CERN to organize this workshop.

The workshop will present participants with four different projects involving building local communities and local economies through promoting and developing co-operatives. The aim is to learn from these four different projects and for ideas and good practice to be exchanged. There are four different sessions, each focussing upon a separate project. After a short presentation (about 20-25 minutes) outlining the philosophy, strategy and activities of the project by a practitioner involved in it, each session will involve an open Q&A session to discuss the project. Some areas of discussion are suggested, but there is no fixed agenda.

It is planned that some research and networking initiatives to support the projects will emerge from the day. These will involve seeking funding from research funding bodies, and more will be said about this on the day. Members of CERN will be keeping a record of the debates, with a view to publishing a report on the day’s proceedings which we think will be of help to participants and others seeking to develop the social economy. 

Draft Programme

9-30                             Coffee

10am                           Welcome & introduction to the day

10-15am                      The Rochdale Initiative

Potential Points of Discussion

  • How does the Rochdale initiative fit in with wider plans for Manchester?
  • How might institutions within Manchester and the NW more successfully work together in helping to deliver the Rochdale goals (other local authorities, local Co-ops and SEs, business organisations, Universities & other educational organisations)?
  • How might networks to support the project be developed?



11-30am                      The Bologna Approach


Potential Points of Discussion

  • What are the similarities and differences between the contexts within which Bologna and Rochdale projects operate?
  • To what extent have similar projects been developed elsewhere in Italy?
  • How might an international network to support projects across borders work?


12-45pm                     LUNCH

1-30pm                       The Preston Project


Potential Points of Discussion

  • To what extent might the ‘Preston’ approach be replicated/imitated elsewhere. What might be the barriers to doing so?
  • Are other local authorities copying the Preston model?
  • How might networks to support the project be developed?


2-45pm                       COFFEE/TEA

3pm                             Cincinnati: an American experiment


Potential Points of Discussion

  • What are the differences in the contexts faced by the Cincinnati project and those faced by the other projects? What are the similarities?
  • What aspects of the Cincinnati approach might be deployed elsewhere? How might they have to be adapted to meet local needs?
  • How might the best practice of Cincinnati be disseminated? Who would be the target audiences for such dissemination?



  • How do we build on the day and develop a mutual support network? What activities should such a network promote and host?
  • How might research and knowledge exchange support the projects?
  • Action points to take away


4.15  Close.


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