News and Conference Announcement (1997)

     This document has been made available in electronic
     format by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA
                         APRIL 1997

               News and Conference Announcement
Roger Spear, Co-ops Research Unit, Open University, Milton
Keynes MK7 6AA, United Kingdom, Tel: 0044 1908 653054; Fax:
0044 1908 652175, Email R.G.SPEAR@OPEN.AC.UK

Dear Friends,

Let me wish you a fruitful new year, and I hope some excellent
international exchanges of thoughts and ideas. I enjoyed our
conference in Estonia very much and would like to thank
Lea Sudakova and Yohanan Stryjan for their hard work, as well
as Alina Pawlowska and Koopi for theirs. There was a good set
of papers, which I am assured was the main cause of
considerable celebration on the final evening! 

Similarly Isabel Vidal must be congratulated for doing most of
the organising of a very good European Conference/Workshop on
Co-ops and Labour Markets, in Budapest to coincide with
the ICA Regional Assembly. Whilst in Budapest, we also managed
a smaller meeting on Social Audit and Co-ops, mainly to
develop ideas for future proposals and projects. It was
good to see so many old friends at these meetings, and to
encounter a wide range of interesting newcomers. We hope to
see you all again this year.

Current Activities and Research Conference 

The major activity each year is an International Research
Conference. This year's Conference will be held in the Bologna
University Residential Centre in Bertinoro near the charming
historic cities of Forli and Bologna, Italy. Transport between
Bologna and Bertinoro will be arranged. Next year we plan our
international conference in Cork, Ireland around 13-17 of
May 1998, and  we are also planning a collaboration with the
Women's Committee (and others) for a joint  conference on
Women, Entrepreneurship and Co-operatives, later in 1998,
probably in Paris.


We want to increase the visibility of research to other
researchers and to co-operators worldwide through electronic
communication, an Internet Web Page, and regular publications
of research papers. Last year we had a special issue of the
Review of International Co-operation, which was dedicated to
some best papers from our Manchester Conference in 95. The
response has been very positive and this year we prepared a
similar issue based on the best papers from Estonia - this has
been just published. I shall continue to explore additional
ways of getting selections from our conference papers
published each year.


Mary Treacy, Director of Communications at the ICA, is
energetically pursuing the development of Internet usage and
she is continuing to develop this as the way of providing
information about our meetings and publications. We have a Web
Page and gopher service which is regularly updated. Our
Secretary, Alina Pawlowska, is the contact for this. Besides
papers from Manchester and Tartu Conferences you will find
there current news and forthcoming conference announcement. To
ease registration procedure for this year's conference an
interactive registration form is being set up as an
alternative for you try out.

The Web Page has several links to other research institutes
Web Pages and if your Institute/Society has a Web Page we
would appreciate getting the address. Our Web Page

English :
French  :
Spanish :
German  :

We are also working with Peter Davis of Leicester University
to set up an international register of Co-op Researchers
(based on the UK Society of Co-op Studies Register that Peter
developed). This will be set up on the ICA Web site with an
interactive form for entries and the final data base will also
be made available in a searcheable format on the Web Site. I
think this way of communicating will become increasingly
important, and therefore I'd like to set up a register of
e-mail addresses. So, please include this in future
communications - you can reach me at R.G.SPEAR@OPEN.AC.UK.


We are continuing to work on our aim of building up a lively
network of researchers globally.

This will comprise individual researchers and institutes of
co-operative research, so that we can be more aware of each
other's work, the potential of collaboration or comparative
studies, and we can more effectively disseminate our research
findings to other researchers and co-operators. We will
continue to hold an annual conference but will also try to
arrange or sponsor regional conferences/workshops on topical
themes. We will also participate in other networks concerned
with co-operatives research, and communicate information about
these to you.  

One of the most interesting working groups recently set up is
CIRIEC's working group on Co-operative Holdings. It aims over
the next two years to study strategies and structures
which co-operatives use to strengthen their competitive edge
in global markets. The main sectors addressed are agriculture
and finance. This working group is based mainly in Western
Europe, and coordinated through CIRIEC International at
B=83timent 33, University de Li=8Age au Sart-Tilman, B4000 Li=8Age,
Belgium.  Membership of this working group is already almost
established. Their last working group on co-ops resulted in
the publication "Co-operatives, Markets, Co-operative
Principles", the English version of which I helped to edit,
and which was published in November '96.

Other News

Research Committee 10 of the International Sociological
Association (ISA) will be playing an active part in the ISA
Conference in Montreal July 1998. They are concerned with
Participation and Self-Management and are currently deciding
workshop topics.

Contact address :

Ann Westenholz, fax : 0045 3815 3815

Co-operative Research Institute of Warsaw, Poland is
organising a Conference on Rural Co-operatives in the
Perspective of the Integration with European Union in Zakopane
in the Tatra mountains in the beginning of December 1997.

Contact address :

Dr Adam Piechowski, fax : 0048 22 827 4886/4321

This year's Canadian Association for Studies in Co-operation
Conference on Co-operative Innovation and Renewal is in St
John's, Newfounland, June 1-3.

Contact address :

Andrea Harris, fax : 001 604 734 1126

During the year I have had help from, and a lot of
communication with my vice-chairs Yohanan Stryjan from
Stockholm, Lou Hammond-Ketilson from Saskatchewan, and Akira
Kurimoto from Tokyo, Japan. The committee operates largely
through electronic (email) communication and through the
support of local national sections for conference
organisation. More formal support and communication are
provided through the good offices of ICA Geneva, by Mary
Treacy (Director Communications) and Alina Pawlowska
(Research). This truly global committee continues to work to
increase the international access of researchers to our
meetings and communications. I'd like to thank them all for
their support and you researchers for your past (and future)
contributions to our meetings and publications.

Finally Best Wishes for a fruitful and stimulating '97.

Roger Spear and the International Research Committee -

Akira Kurimoto, Lou Hammond-Ketilson, Yohanan Stryjan, Alina

P.S.  In order to simplify future communication, we really
need email addresses  and/or fax
numbers - please send as soon as possible.