Full course description

Course Date:

Apr 3 - Jul 3, 2017

Duration:

7 weeks

Commitment:

7 hrs/week

Requirement:

None

Course Type:

Instructor-led

Credential:

Certificate

Description

This course presents inspiring local, regional, and international solutions in community energy, local food, social care, land tenure, and cooperative finance that address current concerns for environmental and social well-being. It introduces the knowledge and practice of co-operation, economic democracy, and the commons and invites your participation in an intensive program of exploration, instruction, dialogue, and practical training in systems change and transition.

Objectives

  • Outline and explain the problematic, and transformative vision.
  • Discuss emerging food system alternatives and strategies for transitioning to just, sustainable food systems.
  • Recognize the role of public policy and bottom-up innovation in renewable community energy.
  • Outline the philosophy, rationale, and organizational forms of user-controlled models of health and social care.
  • Discuss enclosure, and the alternatives of commons and land trusts.
  • Describe community development finance and co-operative capital raising and their potential to secure democratic and socially directed investment for the common good.
  • Synthesize key ideas and practices that define systemic transition.

Target Audience: We imagine that if you were attracted to this course, you will be someone who shares our general world view and vision, and wants to broaden and deepen it and join us and others to develop it. That is its principal purpose, but a secondary purpose is to link people and projects that share these views in practical ways. In this first presentation, you are likely to be people who are already engaged in social change work in three crucial movements – co-operation, commons, and sustainability. Most are already actively working to make this world view a reality. You may be active in the environmental movement, human or animal rights, social equality and development, the solidarity economy, co-operative finance and alternative currencies; the Transition Movement, permaculture, local food, eco-villages, the digital commons, peer-to-peer and open educational resources, community energy or many others.


Course is offered by Athabasca University in collaboration with Synergia.

Course Instructors

John Restakis

John Restakis

Lead Instructor

John Restakis is Executive Director of Community Evolution Foundation and former ED of the BC Co-operative Association in Vancouver. Read More.

He is Adjunct Professor at the Centre for Sustainable Community Development, Simon Fraser University, BC and Research Associate for Co-operatives UK. He consults on international co-op and community economic development projects and is the author of Humanizing the Economy – Co-operatives in the Age of Capital.

Mike Lewis

Mike Lewis

Co-Lead Instructor

Mike Lewis is course co-lead and author of the Commons and land module. Read More.

He is well known in Canada and internationally as a practitioner, author, educator, and leader in the field of Community Economic Development and the social economy. An innovator, activist and thinker with a penchant for linking practice with policy and the micro and macro, Mike is adjunct professor in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Athabasca University and co-author (with Pat Conaty) of The Resilience Imperative: Co-Operative Transitions to a Steady-State Economy.

Julie MacArthur

Julie MacArthur

Contributor

Julie MacArthur, author of the Energy module, researches the politics of community renewable energy policy and the potential of small-scale project actors to shape new policy initiatives. Read More.

Currently she is conducting comparative research into community energy policy networks in United Kingdom and New Zealand. Julie is a member of the New Zealand Energy Centre, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at University of Auckland, and author of Empowering Electricity: Co-operatives, Sustainability and Power Sector Reform in Canada. 2016. Vancouver: UBC Press.

Pat Conaty

Pat Conaty

Contributor

Pat Conaty, author of the Finance module, has worked with New Economics Foundation since 1987 and is research associate of Co-operatives UK. Read More.

Inspired by the work of Elinor Ostrom, Pat specializes in innovative work on Commons solutions, many of which are covered in his 2012 book with Mike Lewis, The Resilience Imperative: Co-operative Transitions to a Steady-state Economy. The book explores practical solutions for the Great Transition that co-develop commonwealth in ways to meet basic needs for equitable co-operative finance, low-cost housing, local food and renewable energy.

Tim Crabtree

Tim Crabtree

Contributor

Tim Crabtree is co-author of the food module. Read More.

He has been involved in “new economics” for 30 years, after studying economics at Oxford University and then working for the New Economics Foundation for 5 years. He has experience in policy development, local economic development and business advice, and was the co-founder of a number of a successful social enterprises including the Wessex Reinvestment Trust group and Dorset-based Local Food Links Ltd. He was a founder Director of the UK Social Investment Forum. Tim has a particular interest in reflective practice.

Robin Murray

Robin Murray

Contributor

Robin Murray co-developed the Food module. Read More.

He is an industrial economist and fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, at the University of Sussex. He co-founded Twin and Twin Trading in 1985. Twin works with existing farmers’ co-operatives, and helps establish new ones, while Twin Trading imports and sells their products in the UK. They have in turn established producer co-owned branding companies, in coffee, chocolate, fresh fruit and nuts. This group of companies now has a turnover of £90 million, and acts as a trading and marketing arm for some 300,000 small farmers.

Mike Gismondi

Mike Gismondi

Contributor

Mike Gismondi, who guided the online development of the MOOC, is a distance education practitioner with Athabasca University, Canada’s Open University. Read More.

Mike was a co-lead with the BC-Alberta Social Economy Alliance (BALTA) research project to advance the work of social economy organizations in western Canada and internationally (2006-2015) https://balta-sis.ca/ Currently he is researching opportunities for scaling up community renewable energy in oil rich Alberta, Canada. Mike co-edited Scaling Up: The Convergence of Social Economy and Sustainability AU Press (2016).