Manchester Metropolitan University’s Co-operative Network, Co-operative College and Rochdale Pioneers Museum host a “pop-up” in Rochdale town centre collecting public voices in celebration of co-operation held at Rochdale Pioneers Museum on Saturday 17th June 2017.
This event stems from discussions within the Co-operative Research Network at MMU, which brings together academics from across the university with partners from the Co-operative College, Rochdale Pioneers Museum and Co-operatives UK. As the birthplace of the modern co-operative movement, Rochdale was deemed an ideal location for this research. Rochdale recently made headlines as the city most on a downward trend in the Joseph Roundtree Foundation’s ‘Uneven growth: tackling city decline’; whilst local councillors sought to correct this evaluation suggesting the data was out of date, it is unclear what the people of Rochdale actually feel about their town.
The ‘Festival of Co-operative Voices’ aims to focus on the positive, giving a voice to local people and gathering responses around public needs and interests that can feed into future research. Saturday 17th June is the first day of the National Co-operatives fortnight and this event is planned as a celebration of co-operative activities. It offers an opportunity to capture voices (in various forms) that share how co-operation can benefit individuals and the wider society.
The Network will consider the range and scope of responses, and what is excluded, to get a sense of the most pressing issues in the town and form a pilot study for future events and longitudinal research in the town and inform future collaborative research proposals.
Working in partnership with Rochdale Pioneers Museum offers a physical manifestation of the heritage of the co-operative movement. It will assist with the museum’s community engagement work and provides an opportunity to gather community knowledge of co-operations in history and today. The collaboration with Rochdale Pioneers Museum will also ensure the academics involved in the research are working alongside an organisation on the ground in Rochdale with a heart for the local community.
Co-operative Network at MMU: Prof. Jim Aulich (Manchester School of Art), Dr Michael Bull (Business School), Dr Geoff Bright (Education), Dr Keith Crome (History), Prof. Steve Dixon (Manchester School of Art), Dr Linda Hammersley-Fletcher (Education), Prof. Joanna Hodge (Philosophy), Dr Olga Kuznetsova (Business School), Prof. John Schostak (formerly Education), Dr Alison Slater (Manchester School of Art), Prof. Melanie Tebbutt (History),
Partners from the Co-operative College/Rochdale Pioneers Museum/Co-Operatives UK: Dr Sarah Alldred, John Atherton, Dr Amanda Benson, Jordan Diggle, Rebecca Harvey, Clare Hirst, Gillian Lonergan, Elena Rowe, Dr Cilla Ross, Sophie Stewart.