Workshop: The Future of Democracy – Creating a Post-Consumerist Culture, 21st May

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Date: Tuesday 21st May 2019

Time: 10am – 5pm

Location: Geoffrey Manton, GM225, Manchester Met

Tickets: Free – Available on Eventbrite

Please join us for a day of discussion and activities designed to stimulate debate around contemporary issues with citizenship and democracy, particularly in light of a perceived democratic crisis.

This workshop is intended to be collaborative, involving facilitated activities and group discussion as well presentations.

This workshop is driven by concerns about the emerging fractures in European democracy. The ideal of modern Europe is identified with the positive social and political value of democracy. However, recent democratic mandates have been driven by partisan and divisive agendas on the one hand (e.g. Brexit), while on the other hand, questions about the democracy of the European project have also been raised by both left and right. Consequently, democracy, which only a short time ago seemed to be championed as the best possible political form, is now being fundamentally questioned. With this in mind, the workshop seeks to facilitate thinking around what it means to be a citizen in a European democracy today.

To help make this day as interesting as possible, we have invited a mix of academics and practitioners who are directly engaged with radical initiatives at reinventing democracy here and now (details below).

(* Please note: although you’d get more out of it if you attended the entire day, there’s no need to commit to the whole day. Feel free to come to as much of the event as you like/can)

For more information, or for any questions, please contact:

Dr Keith Crome (k.crome@mmu.ac.uk)

Or

Yaron Golan (yaron.golan@stu.mmu.ac.uk)

(* This event is kindly supported by the Manchester Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence: http://www.manchesterjmce.ac.uk)

Speakers & Facilitators

Gregory Claeys, Professor of the History of Political Thought at Royal Holloway
Professor Claeys’ paper is entitled: “How can we imagine a Post-consumerist Character?”, exploring the need to reduce commodity consumption on a world-wide scale in light of an impending environmental catastrophe. This talk examines a number of historical and literary utopian proposals for exiting a luxury-centred commercial model, including Lycurgus, Fénelon, and various socialists; and for modifying its assumptions and operations, notably in the USSR. It suggests that updating such proposals, while difficult, is not impossible, and is indeed unavoidable.

Professor Claeys is the author of an inordinate amount of works topics including the history of British socialism, Marxism, utopianism and much more. His works include

The Cambridge History of Nineteenth Century Political Thought (edited with Gareth Stedman Jones) and Citizens and Saints: Politics and Anti-Politics in Early British Socialism.

His next book is entitled “Utopianism for a Dying Planet: The Green New Deal, Extinction Rebellion, and The Great Change” (Princeton University Press).

Dr Julian Manley(University of Central Lancashire)
Julian will discuss the role and importance of co-operative culture in the development of a co-operative community that recognises co-operative values and principles, reflecting upon the potential for co-operation as a framework for future socio-economic paradigms for a post-growth society.

Much of Julian’s academic work is grounded in psychoanalysis, and he will lead a Social Dreaming workshop at the end of the day to collectively reflect with attendees on some of the themes that emerge throughout the day.

Julian is a founding member and chair of the Preston Co-operative Development Network- an ongoing project undertaken in collaboration with Preston city council and various local bodies, intended to increase the Co-operative base of Preston’s economy, both as a means for economic regeneration and sustainability in the region, and as a means of cultivating a more democratically-engaged culture.

He has recently been awarded funding from the Open Society Foundations to pursue the development of the Preston Model over the next 26 months in Preston, and has been working in partnership with Cllr Matthew Brown of Preston City Council since 2013 in developing the Model. Julian also has a long standing relationship with Mondragon Corporation in Spain, having done training, consultancy and research there, and he is a member of the Labour Party’s community Wealth Building Unit.

Christo Wallers(cinema activist & PhD candidate, Reading University)
Christo will share an experimental approach to democratic collaboration, Slow Cooker, a project that encourages the formation of less hierarchical relationships in group processes. Bracketing the rest of the day, Slow Cooker invites participants, on arrival, to collaborate in the preparation of a one-pot meal cooked in the slow cooker. The meal will be shared at the end of the day’s workshops.

Christo will also introduce the Star and Shadow Cinema project in Newcastle, a100% volunteer-run, self-managed and co-operatively owned film, music and alternative cultural venue. Reflecting on S&S’s new building and working methods, he will talk about his research into DIY Cinema in the UK and everyday utopianism.

The Star & Shadow Cinema faces the issue of how we value our work outside of economic terms. Christo will bring this problem to the session through a group process considering alternative ways to calibrate the character of a project/process emphasising positive liberty.

Christo is a film-programmer, film-maker and founding member of the Star & Shadow Cinema. He is an SWWDTP-funded PhD candidate at Reading University, researching a DIY model of film exhibition since the mid-90’s.

Event contactYaron Golan · yaron.golan@stu.mmu.ac.uk

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