The cooperative movement began in Britain and France in the 19th century in response to the industrial revolution, and the increasing mechanism of the economy threatening the livelihoods of many workers. Robert Owen (1771-1858) is considered the father of the movement. Owen had earned his fortune in the cotton trade, but believed in empowering his workers with education for themselves and their children. His idea was to help create “villages of co-operation” where workers would drag themselves out of poverty by growing their own food, making their own clothes and ultimately becoming self governing.

We ask how worker Co-ops can equip us to move forwards in an economy which is producing inequality and poverty as well as environmental destruction. How can contemporary local co-ops help us to bond together at grass-roots and build a new world among the chaos of our contemporary one?

Joining us we have:

Paula Goes, Fair Coin - an ethical cyptocurrency who have recently established a London 'node' - and whose aim is to create "an innovative global economic system from the bottom up in favour of an alternative and post-capitalist model, paving the way for a collective change towards a life based on value in common."

Torange Khonsair, Public Works - a not-for-profit critical design practice set up in 2004 that occupies the terrain in-between architecture, art, performance and activism. Torange is about to lead a new MA course on The Commons.

Calverts - a co-operatively owned book printers based in Hackney: "We aspire to put cooperative principles into practice by holding to the values of self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity."

Carlota Sanz - Economy for the Common Good (ECG) is an international movement started in Austria in 2010, whose vision is to move to an economic system where money becomes a mean rather than a goal itself, putting people and the planet at the core of all economic activity. ECG also promotes Cooperative ownership structure as part of the Common good balance sheet.

Buy tickets here.

Daniel Edelstyn