This interim web-page is hosted by Leicester Vaughan College but is not responsible for the network or its contents. For queries about it, please contact Malcolm Noble.
In 2017 as an initiative of the Co-operative College UK, a group of colleagues have taken initial steps to create a new international network, which would bring together those researching co-operatives and the solidarity economy. The aim of this network are to bring together those working on co-operatives and create a transdisciplinary space in which to support, share and promote their research.
Membership of CORNet is open and free to those interested. Simply complete this form. If you have questions please get in touch with Tony Webster (see details below).
CORNet was born of a recognition that links between the co-operative and academic worlds have not always been as strong and productive as both really need them to be. Individual academics have always been involved in co-operation, and heroic efforts have been made to build a bridge between the two worlds. But there was a need to place relationships between them on a more organised footing to allow the two worlds to help fashion a stronger position for co-operation in the twenty-first century.
The marginalisation of co-operation from the mainstream, especially in business studies and economics during the high tide of Thatcherism in the 1980s and 1990s is well documented, and thankfully that deep alienation of co-operation from the academy has receded in recent decades. But the scope for a more productive and fruitful relationship remains huge, and CORNet aims to build it from the bottom up, particularly reaching out to new generations of researchers who are early in their career, and who will be the academic leaders of the future. CORNet thus is working to build deep and organic links between academic researchers and the co-operative movement, which will produce research and work better fitted to the needs of the movement.
The Role of CORNet
So, what does CORNet do?
It collaborates with co-operators to develop new research projects of special value to the movement, helps to advance theory and practice of co-operative enterprise and disseminate related knowledge, supports researchers as academics actively engaged in the co-operative movement. The greater emphasis placed upon ‘impact’ by the universities and research funding bodies means that there are powerful career incentives for academics to engage with wider communities like the co-operative movement, and while this is not the reason why CORNet members are enthusiastic about the network, it does mean that their efforts to work with co-operators will be given much greater support by their universities than has been the case in the past, and this can only be of benefit to all concerned.
What has CORNet done so far?
- Organised a major international conference for co-operators, local government policy makers on “Building Local economies, communities and identities: Co-operatives and the Social economy in the North West” in collaboration with Institute of Place Management, MMU, Feb 2018.
- Organised a major conference at the University of Central Lancashire: “The Way Ahead: Linking new research on co-operatives and the social economy with new practical initiatives”
- Submitted an edited book proposal based on the University of Central Lancashire conference
- Developed and developing a range of research projects.