Interactive workshops

Reimagine the board, 11-12, Conference Room 5

The board of a co-op is integral to its success. With continued scrutiny of the co-operative governance model, members of the Co-operative Governance Expert Reference Panel will examine approaches to generating the best mix of people on boards via co-op and democratic means. This interactive session will explore the possibilities for co-ops to look at a range of methods of appointment to ensure boards have a diverse mix of skills, experience and backgrounds that can come together to ensure its success.

  • Jane Powell, Lincolnshire Co-operative
  • Ross Hodgson, Suma
  • Emma Laycock, Co-operatives UK

Reimagine community, 1-2, Conference Room 1

A participative workshop on approaches for giving people more ownership and control over economic development in their local areas - over their housing, high streets and community assets. Community economic development practitioners will highlight the opportunities for co-ops to play a key role in the development of their local areas, and how co-operation and participation needs to be at the heart of any economic development strategy.

  • Jonny Gordon-Farleigh, Stir to Action
  • Frances Northrop, community economic development practitioner
  • Mark Simmonds, Co-op Culture
  • Rachel Lawrence, New Economics Foundation

Reimagine technology, 2-3, Conference Room 5

Co-operation is almost hard wired into the way people in technology work, yet to date there is no critical mass of co-operative businesses in the sector. Kayleigh Walsh of the worker owned web development agency Outlandish introduces Co-Tech, a new initiative supporting 22 different digital and tech co-ops and employing over 140 people from the sector. In line with the sector-wide strategy to grow the UK’s co-op, it has ambitious aims to reimagine technology by growing the number and impact of co-ops operating in the digital economy. The workshop will focus on what Co-Tech is doing as well as explore what other organisations and sectors can learn from its development.

  • Kayleigh Walsh, Outlandish

Reimagine care, 1-2, Conference Room 5

With health and social care in a state of crisis, one of the leaders of the ‘co-operative councils’ movement leads discussions about how co-operative innovations can deliver the high quality services we need. With user and worker owned approaches to care seeing increasing interest, this is an opportunity to explore what is working and what local authorities and commissioners can do to give them the help needed to see new clusters of care co-operative emerge.

  • Cllr Sharon Taylor, Co-op Council Innovation Network chair and Leader of Stevenage Council

Reimagine education, 11-12, Conference Room 1

Is it time for a co-operative university? This session will examine the maturing co-operatives schools sector with a focus on new initiatives in higher education.

  • Dr Cilla Ross, Co-op College 
  • Colin Wilkes, The Schools Co-operative Society

Reimagine co-ops, 2-3, Conference Room 1

Since 1844 co-ops have championed injustice and sought to change society for the good. From Fairtrade to fighting modern slavery, this workshop will explore how co-ops can be an agent for social change in the current social and economic climate.

  • Paul Gerrard, The Co-op Group

Reimagine housing, 1-2, Major Hall

With home ownership at its lowest for thirty years and two thirds of under-30 year olds unable to afford a home, we need to rethink housing. Co-operative approaches to housing have always been prevalent in the UK, and we are seeing interest in them grow. Community land trusts, co-housing and student housing co-ops have seen a surge of interest as people stop waiting for the government to fix the broken housing market and just do it themselves.