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Democratic Renewal in Civil Society: Rethinking the local

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School of Geography

Seminary Street

Leeds

LS2 9JT

United Kingdom

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How can we democratise local communities? This seminar explores some imaginative approaches to local communities and ways of organizing that are contributing towards the revitalisation and renewal of democracy in civil society. These innovative experiments have been an effort to democratise the local and regional economy that challenge the orthodoxy, and provide potential ways for people and organizations to operate in a fairer way that aim to uphold values like equality, social justice and participation within their local communities. This seminar provides opportunities to learn about these innovative approaches and how they might be used by civil society organizations, local authorities and communities.

Speakers include:

Councillor Matthew Brown (Preston City Council):

Councillor Matthew Brown has helped pioneer Community Wealth Building in Preston and Lancashire using a number of levers to retain and democratise wealth in the local economy. The interest generated in “The Preston Model” has been acknowledged by The Labour Party and Cooperative Party nationally, with Birmingham, Ealing and a number of EU cities beginning to embrace similar strategies. A key feature has been to engage placed based public and quasi-public “anchor institutions” to increase spend on goods and services in the local economy including plans to create new worker led cooperatives. Credit union expansion, community banking, localised pension fund investment, energy democracy and employee ownership also contribute to a long-term strategy for system change at a local level.

Professor Paul Chatterton (University of Leeds): Paul Chatterton is a writer, researcher and campaigner. He is Professor of Urban Futures in the School of Geography where he co-founded the 'Cities and Social Justice' Research Cluster and MA in 'Activism and Social Change'. He is currently Director of the University's Sustainable Cities Group. He is co-founder of the public charity 'Antipode' dedicated to research and scholarship in radical geography and an associate editor of the journal 'City'. Paul is also co-founder, first secretary and resident of the pioneering and award winning Leeds based low impact housing co-operative Lilac (www.lilac.coop).

A range of other speakers will take part in the seminar who are attempting to contribute towards this new way of organizing the economy more democratically. In previous seminars we have had roughly a 50/50 split with academic and practitioners in attendance and we wish to continue this trend so that we can have more interesting and rewarding discussion and debate. As well as having a range of speakers we will again spend time in groups exploring issues, this time concentrating on present and future alternatives that can contribute towards democratic renewal civil society.

Schedule for the day

10:30am Arrival and coffee

11:am Welcome and context for the day

11:10am Prof Paul Chatterton

11:40am Response and Q&A

12pm Lilac

12:30pm Response and Q&A

12:45pm Lunch

1:30pm Mary Hodgson

2pm Response and Q&A

2:20pm Councillor Matthew Brown

2:50pm TBC Representatives from the Preston Council initiative

3:10pm Response and Q&A

3:30pm Tea break

3:45pm Breakout group discussions

4:30pm Report back from groups

4:45pm Summaries and close

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Date and Time

Location

School of Geography

Seminary Street

Leeds

LS2 9JT

United Kingdom

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