Mega-Academic Coop Conference for IYC12

Cooperating for Change
in the International Year of Cooperatives

June 24th-27th, 2012

University of Quebec at Montreal
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The United Nations had declared 2012 to be the International Year of Cooperatives. In response, cooperative organizations around the world have been planning events to acknowledge, promote, investigate and celebrate the achievements of cooperatives.
In this spirit of collaboration and celebration, the leading cooperative research and education organizations and networks operating in Canada – the Canadian Association for Studies in Cooperation (CASC), the Interdisciplinary Research and Information Centre on Collective Enterprises (CIRIEC Canada), the International Cooperative Association Committee on Cooperative Research (ICACCR) and the Association of Cooperative Educators (ACE), the Measuring the Cooperative Difference network and Territorial Development and Cooperation network – are joining forces with their most important stakeholder groups – the Canadian Cooperative Association (CCA), le Conseil canadien de la coopération et de la mutualité (CCCM), le Conseil québécois de la cooperation et de la mutualité (CQCM), le Comité de la relève coopérative du Québec, the Ontario Student Cooperative Association and the North American Students of Cooperation – to organize this conference.
The goal of the conference is to bring together the overlapping communities of researchers, educators, practitioners and policy makers from academia, professional associations, civil society organizations and government to share knowledge and engage in discussion about policy proposals and strategic directions for the sector, both in Canada and internationally.

Conference Theme
The theme of the joint conference has been chosen to draw attention to the core mission of cooperatives, which is to make a positive difference in the lives of their members and communities.
How cooperatives take up this mission has always been conditioned by historical circumstances. In our own times, the various challenges of and opportunities for cooperative activity are conditioned by such factors as the changing nature of our economies (e.g. trade liberalization, lean production, transnational production, shorter product lifecycles, economic concentration, etc.) and the environmental (e.g., climate change, global warming, habitat and species loss, degradation of arable land) and socio-economic harm created by these economic changes (e.g., high levels of under- and unemployment, contingent labour, chronic poverty, income polarization, food insecurity, inadequate social and educational programs).
Cooperatives in Canada and around the globe have been responding to these problems, often in innovative ways. This theme of the conference is intended to highlight the fact that in responding to these challenges and opportunities, cooperatives produce change. Some of the changes are directly intended, others are unanticipated by-products. These changes occur within and across different social realms – the economic, political, the cultural – as well as impacting our natural world. Changes also, and perhaps most importantly, occur within and among the members of cooperatives, producing the personal growth and changes in organizations with facilitate better economic, social and environmental performance.

Conference Topics
We invite abstracts and proposals that investigate how cooperation, including inter-cooperation among cooperatives, promotes change in the lives of cooperative members, their communities and the larger society.
Possible topic areas include the following:
• Management Structures and Practices
• Ownership and Governance Structures and Practices
• Business and Marketing Strategies
• Social, Economic and Environmental Impact Evaluation
• Youth and Student Cooperatives
• Social and Solidarity Cooperatives
• Inter-cooperation between Cooperatives Internationally
• Aboriginal Communities
• Poverty Reduction and Local Development Strategies and Practices
• Local, Organic and Fair Trade Production in Agriculture
• Sustainable Production in Extractive and Resource Industries
• The Role of Education in Cooperating for Change
• The Role of Research in Cooperating for Change
• The Role of Public Policy in Cooperating for Change

Submission Guidelines
We invite researchers, students, and practitioners to submit any of three types of proposals:

  1. Individual Papers – Proposals should include: a) your name, title, affiliation and email address; b) a short (two-line) biographical note; c) title of the paper; d) a 100 word abstract (to be printed in the program), and; e) a 500 word summary of the argument, which should include the relationship of the paper to the literature, the research question, methods and, where applicable, findings. Proposals for both empirical and theoretical papers are invited.
  2. Panel Proposals – Proposals should include: a) the title of the panel; b) a 250 word description of the issue or theme that the panel investigates and how the individual papers relate to the theme/issue; c) the names, affiliations and contact information for all panel participants, and; d) 250 word  descriptions of all panel presentations. Panel proposals should include 3 or 4 presentations.
  3. Proposals for Roundtables – Proposals should include: a) the title of the roundtable; b) a 500 word description of the issue or theme that the roundtable investigates and how the appropriateness of the individual members for participating the roundtable; c) the names, affiliations and contact information for all panel participants, and; d) a short description of the key points/areas that the members of the roundtable will cover. Participants are not expected to deliver formal papers.
  • The deadline for the early bird call for proposals for panel sessions and roundtables is Nov. 21st, 2011. Priority for travel subsidies and scholarships will be given to applicants who meet this deadline.
  • The final deadline for paper abstracts and proposals for panels and roundtables is January 24th, 2012.
  • Abstracts and proposals may be submitted either in English or French (in either Word or Rich Text Format). They should be sent by email to A total of two presentations per person will be permitted.
  • All proposals (for individual papers, panels and roundtables) are subject to peer review. Applicants will be informed of acceptance by February 15th, 2012. A directory of conference delegates will be published in the Conference Program; if you do not want to have your name, contact information and institutional affiliation published, please notify us when you submit your abstract.

Program Committee Members

  • Darryl Reed (York University), President, Canadian Association for Studies in Cooperation (CASC).
  • Lou Hammond Ketilson (University of Saskatchewan), Chair, International Cooperative Association Committee on Cooperative Research (ICACCR).
  • Marie J. Bouchard (University of Quebec at Montreal), Vice-president, Interdisciplinary Research and Information Centre on Collective Enterprises (CIRIEC Canada) and Chair, Canada Research Chair on the Social Economy.
  • Sarah Pike, Executive Administrator, Association of Cooperative Educators (ACE).
  • Tanya Gracie, Program Manager, 2012 International Year of the Cooperative, Canadian Cooperative Association (CCA).
  • Michaël Béland, Director of Communications and Programs, Canadian Council of Cooperation and Mutuality (CCCM).
  • Fiona Duguid, Senior Policy and Research Analyst, Cooperatives Secretariat, Government of Canada.
  • Sonia Novkovic (St. Mary’s University), Past President, International Association for the Economics of Participation (IAFEP) and Academic Co-lead for the CURA grant on Measuring the Cooperative Difference.
  • Marie-Joëlle Brassard, Director of Research and Development, Quebec Council of Cooperation and Mutuality (CQCM) and Co-Lead for the CURA grant on Territorial Development and Cooperation.
  • Tom Klein Beernink, Ontario Student Cooperative Association (OSCA).
  • Erin Hancock, Board Member, North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO) and coordinator for the CURA grant on Measuring the Cooperative Difference.

TBA, Comité de la relève coopérative du Québec.
Conference Information
For more information on the conference, please visit:

Sadly, this competes with the US Conference on Workplace Democracy and USFWC Annual meeting in Boston, MA at the same time. It would really be great if there was a way to work together on these conferences. This seems to create a big divide between the academics and practitioners at a time when they need to working together.

About John McNamara

John spent 26 years with Union Cab of Madison Cooperative and currently helps develop co-op in the Pacific Northwest. He holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration and Masters in Management: Co-operatives and Credit Unions from Saint Mary's University. He has served on the board of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives and the Board of Governors for the late, great Democracy at Work Network. He currently sits on the Co-op Circle for Sociocracy for All. He has taught on worker co-operatives and democratic management in the summer at The Evergreen State College and Presidio Graduate School.
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