Conference plans – call for contributions and help organising!

Apologies for the longer-than-intended absence – I’ve had a lot going on this summer, some of it unexpected.

I’m now planning to organise a conference/workshop event on disabled people, co-ops and co-operation, to hopefully happen at the University of Leeds in January or February 2023 – but this is where I need your help!

The conference will obviously include a presentation of my research, but I also want to have other presentations from anyone who is doing any work – academic or otherwise – about disabled people and co-ops, and more practical workshops about things like setting up new co-ops, or improving the accessibility of co-op governance (to give two possible examples).

If you would be interested in giving a presentation or workshop at the conference, please get in touch with me! At the moment plans are in very early stages, so there is a lot of flexibility for different possible types of contributions.

I’m hoping, depending on the space that the event ends up happening in, that it will also be possible for relevant organisations (e.g. co-op support organisations or co-op networks) to have stalls or other forms of advertising at the event.

Ideally, I’d like to make this conference a hybrid event (combining online and in-person elements), to balance various access needs and Covid safety considerations. I’d welcome any thoughts or advice on this, as I have no previous experience of organising hybrid events.

(I’m aware that many disabled people’s response may be that it isn’t safe or acceptable to be having in-person conferences/events at all. If I get an overwhelming number of responses saying this, I may well decide to make the event entirely online.

However, I do think that there are certain things that would be lost, and some access needs that could not be met, in a wholly online event – for example, one thing I would really love to happen at this event is for groups of people with shared interests, maybe including people who have never met or heard of each other before, to get together to form potential new co-ops. I feel like this would be a lot harder to do in a wholly online event.

I’m also aware that many disabled people are not very familiar with, or find it hard to access, online tools like Zoom or the internet in general, and I want it to be possible to include them too. I’d be happy to enter into conversations about these issues.)

I would also appreciate any offers of help with organising the event! I am very much feeling like it is a bigger task than can be organised by one person alone. I’m hoping to get some support from the University, but other offers would also be welcome.

If you’d be interested in being involved with this in any way, please do contact me. Also, just a quick reminder that you can now subscribe to (occasional) email updates on my research.

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