The prestigious International Cooperative Alliance Global Research Conference 2017 was hosted at the University of Stirling from 20-23rd June. The event was attended by over 150 co-operative experts from around the world, and featured keynotes by the distinguished economist Professor Claude Menard (Paris-Sorbonne); the Director-General of the International Alliance, Charles Gould; and the Secretary-General of Co-operatives UK, Ed Mayo. Delegates were warmly welcomed by Dr Richard Simmons (Faculty of Social Sciences - Conference Chair) and John Swinney MSP (Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills). The conference theme, ‘Co-operatives in Theory, Policy and Practice’, was captured in lively forums and discussions throughout the four days, including a full-day Young and Emerging Scholars programme led by a world-class team. Presentations from some of the world’s leading experts included Prof. Sonja Novkovic (St. Marys, Canada), Prof. Cynthia Ciagnocavo (Almeria, Spain), Prof. Mike Cook (Missouri, US), Prof. Jessica Gordon Nembhard (City Univ. New York, US), Prof. Marie Bouchard (UQAM, Canada) and Prof. Akira Kurimoto (Japan). Events - including a wine reception at Airthrey Castle in blazing sunshine, a Scottish-themed gala dinner, and a classical concert from ‘McOpera’ (a collective who ‘put the ‘opera’ into co-operative’) - were sponsored by our partners for this event, the Co-operative Group, Scotmid Co-operative and Co-operative Development Scotland.
Overall, the event was a huge success. Feedback from participants has been excellent, building further on Stirling’s reputation for co-operative scholarship evidenced in its 4* Impact Case Study in the Faculty of Social Sciences in REF 2014.