In the 19th Century, the Rochdale Pioneers asked co-operators to learn how to ‘do’ - so that they could run successful businesses able to compete against capitalist enterprises - and how to ‘be’ - so that they developed values, behaviours and solidarities essential to making the co-operative economy sustainable and  building a better society.

The background...

In the crisis driven, deeply unequal 21st century, the co-operative movement is enjoying something of a renaissance, offering an accountable, people-centred and values-driven alternative to the mainstream capitalist model. Yet how ready is the existing movement to deal with contemporary and emerging challenges?  What skills do people and organisations need in order to develop sustainable, alternative organisations characterised by equity and decent work? How does the co-operative movement cope with, respond to and pre-empt, the extraordinary technology-driven changes which are recasting our cultural understanding of how we live, communicate and work?

Our conference...

Taking place in Manchester on the 1-2 May 2018, our Co-operative Education and Research Conference 2018: Skills for co-operators in the 21st century aims to explore what ‘learning to do and learning to be’ look like in contemporary times. We provide a forum for exciting discussions and debates around what makes modern co-operation more relevant than ever before to create a just world.


Abstracts (300 words): 21 February 2018

Notification of acceptance: 7 March 2018


Call for papers, panel discussion proposals and workshop proposals

Our conference invites researchers and practitioners, from both the UK and internationally, interested in co-operative education and research to submit an abstract of no longer than 300 words that fits within any of the two conference strands:

Strand 1: The Co-operative University

Strand 2: Learning  for new co-operative times

1a. Co-operative skills for the new world of work

2a. Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE)

1b. Developing learning pathways : from co-operative schools to co-operative adult education

2b. Co-operative horizon-scanning: new opportunities for co-operation (such as platform co-operatives, union co-operatives etc.)

1c. Co-operative  pedagogy and ‘open’ education

2c. Global perspectives for new times, learning from international best practice

1d. Co-operative learning in communities

2d. Leading co-operatives in the 21st century

1e. Open space- other proposals relevant to strand 1.

2e. Open space- other proposals relevant to strand 2.

Please indicate the strand you would like your paper or presentation to be submitted to.

Proposals for presentations or for panels (up to six participants) and sessions (three or four presenters of research papers on a common theme) are welcome. The abstracts should be submitted by email to: [email protected] no later than 21 February 2018.

Email communications should indicate CERC2018 and the family name of the corresponding author in the subject area (e.g. CERC2018BENSON). The message should indicate clearly the type of proposal - paper abstract, panel, session, or workshop. A panel or session needs to include names of all presenters, as well as abstracts of all three (or maximum four) papers for a session. A workshop proposal needs to include details of all facilitators or contributors. We welcome papers from early career researchers and offer a limited number of bursary places.

If your abstract is accepted you will be invited to produce a paper, presentation or workshop at the Co-operative Education & Research Conference 2018. It is anticipated that papers will be published as conference proceedings in a special edition of The Journal of Co-operative Studies, a peer-reviewed international academic journal which aims to promote knowledge, research and innovation within the co-operative sector.


If you would like any support in putting an abstract together, or wish to discuss potential topics, please contact Dr. Cilla Ross and Dr. Amanda Benson at the Co-operative College:

[email protected]

[email protected]

You can also download a PDF of the above here