On 5th April, Mike Neary, Katia Valenzuela Fuentes (Nottingham) and Joss Winn presented a paper at The Co-operative Education and Research Conference, 5-6 April 2017, Manchester. It is the first report from their Co-operative Leadership for Higher Education project.
This paper reports on recent research into co-operative leadership which aims to support co-operative higher education; where co-operative education is understood as the connection between the co-operative movement and co-operative learning (Breeze 2011). The research was carried out in three co-operatives: a co-operative school, a co-operative university, a workers’ co-operative, and an employee owned retail business. The research is framed within a set of catalytic principles established in previous research (Neary and Winn 2016): knowledge, democracy, bureaucracy, livelihood and solidarity. The results have been developed as a diagnostic tool for academics, other staff and students in higher education institutions to assess the extent to which they are already operating in co-operative manner and how these co-operative practices might be further developed. The ultimate aim of these activities is to establish a cooperative university. The research is funded by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education.
Download the paper.
A new journal article by Joss Winn has recently been published in Power and Education journal. For the first time, it reviews the emerging literature on co-operative higher education and offers a coherent theory of academic labour, the academic commons and critical pedagogy, based on our work on Student as Producer.
THE CO-OPERATIVE UNIVERSITY: LABOUR, PROPERTY AND PEDAGOGY
“I begin this article by discussing the recent work of academics and activists to identify the advantages and issues relating to co-operative forms of higher education, and then focus on the ‘worker co-operative’ organisational form and its applicability and suitability to the governance of and practices within higher educational institutions. Finally, I align the values and principles of worker co-ops with the critical pedagogic framework of ‘Student as Producer’. Throughout I employ the work of Karl Marx to theorise the role of labour and property in a ‘co-operative university’, drawing particularly on later Marxist writers who argue that Marx’s labour theory of value should be understood as a critique of labour under capitalism, rather than one developed from the standpoint of labour.”
You can download this article from the journal, Power and Education.
A pre-print version of this article is available from the University of Lincoln research repository.
An earlier and expanded version of this paper given at the ‘Governing Academic Life’ conference is also available from the University of Lincoln research repository.
Joss Winn recently gave a keynote talk at Newcastle College’s ‘Student as Producer’ conference. You can read the full script of his talk on his blog.
“Newcastle College should be commended for recognising the need to involve students in the governance of your institution. In your own HE Partnership Strategy you state that “meaningful partnership working is reliant upon the equal distribution of democratic power.” You argue rightly that this isn’t just achieved by listening to the so-called ‘student voice’ but by “empowering students to drive and implement change.” And “this will involve redistributing power across our HE communities up to and including HE Academic Board through engaging students in all stages of the decision making process.” My question to you is how do you intend to constitute this form of democracy. You say that you will embed it “throughout all aspects of the HE learning experience” but what constitutional form will that take and how will you hold each other to account? These are not questions unique to your own stated objectives, but are being asked all the time by people who desire democracy in their work as they do in their politics.
The question I am interested in then, is what steps might we take to reconstitute and transform our institutions into member-run, democratically controlled co-operatives? Institutions that enable us to reflect deeply on the conditions of present day knowledge production and truly put Student as Producer into practice?”