Last Thursday saw the launch of our new Co-operative Early Researchers Network. Amanda went along to see who's involved and what they're researching.

What is CERN?

Firstly, CERN is not to be confused with the institute in Switzerland where the Large Hadron Collider is housed. Having said that, we will be aiming to create a ‘big bang’ of our own by providing a unique space for early career co-operative researchers to come together in a mutually supportive environment to share research, discuss ideas, create joint working opportunities and be plugged into what’s happening in the wider co-operative research arena. As well as our Vice Principal Cilla Ross, who is co-supervising some of the students, we have the privilege of having Professor Tony Webster on board to support the network, informally mentor the researchers and help to build a vibrant and active co-operative early researcher community around all things co-operative.

The researchers and their projects...

The launch was also an opportunity for staff at the College to meet some of the PhD researchers and hear about their research. Yaron Golan described the beginning of his research journey within the subject of The Making of Character: Education and the Formation of Character in the Nineteenth Century Co-operative Movement. He described how he has been examining the language used in the early writings of Robert Owen and its relationship to other writing at the same period, how the new understanding in the field of natural sciences influence the wider thinking and use of language in other writers.

Cécile Beranger is beginning her research into Co-operative Placemaking and the Building of Co-operative (and social) Capital: A Case Study of Contemporary Rochdale. Cécile has been meeting with the Rochdale Local Authority and other important stakeholders in the borough as well as examining the history of co-operation in Rochdale.

Temidayo Eseonu is investigating the ways in which local authorities, particularly co-operative councils, engage BAME communities to understand if there are greater opportunities to actively include minority voices through co-operative ways of working. These three researchers are in the very early stages of their research, and so are still exploring their subjects and trying to focus their investigation on a clear research trajectory.

At the other end of the PhD pathway, Jo Darnley is in the final year of her PhD exploring The Visual and Material Culture of the Co-operative Movement 1844-2014, particularly examining the way in which are portrayed in historical co-operative movement publication Women’s Outlook. It can be a minefield at the beginning of a PhD when your subject appears to explode into a myriad of potential avenues of investigation, so I know the network will be a fantastic way for these early researchers to discuss their ideas and get advice and tips from their peers at all stages of their co-operative research careers.

Are you interested in Co-operative Research? Why not take a look at some of the Research Courses that we're running later this year.