Monthly Archives: September 2012

Speakers Confirmed for 13th October 2012

Speakers:  Rita Rhodes 

Doctor of Philosophy
Subject of thesis: The Internatioonal Co-operative Alliance during War and Peace 1910-1950

Books: The International Co-operative Alliance during War and Peace 1910-1950
published by the International Co-operative Alliance, Geneva, 1995

Thematic Guide to ICA Congresses 1895-1995
published by the International Co-operative, Geneva, 1996

Co-author An Arsenal for Labour – Politics and the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society 1896-1996 published by Holyoake Books, Manchester, 1998

Forthcoming book: Empire and Co-operation
to be published by John Donald (Birlinn) Edinburgh, October 2012

Rita is currently a Visiting Research Fellow in the Co-operative Research Unit of the Open University
and a Fellow of the Plunkett Foundation

Positions held in Co-operative Education and Training:

Sectional Education Officer, Co-operative Union, Scotland
Education Liaison Officer, National Co-operative Development Agency
Education Officer and Secretary of ICA Women’s Comminttee, International Co-operative Alliance
Lecturer in Co-operative Studies, University of Ulster


Speaker: Ian Snaith

Ian Snaith holds degrees from the Universities of Keele and Manchester. In 2009, he retired from his position as Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Leicester. He now operates as a freelance teacher, researcher and writer on legal and policy issues, with particular reference to co-operatives and mutuals. He is a consultant solicitor with Cobbetts LLP and regularly advises the UK Co-operative and Credit Union Movements.

Ian has published extensively on legal aspects of co-operatives and credit unions and has served on HM Treasury Working Groups on the reform of Co-operative and Credit Union Law. He also served on the European Commission’s Experts Group on Co-operative Law and is an adjudicator on the use of the .coop domain name for the World Intellectual Property Organisation. He was a member of Co-operative UK’s 1992 and 2002 Corporate Governance Working Parties and advised to the Co-operative Commission of 2000-2001.

Ian was actively involved in the development, drafting, and passage through the UK Parliament of the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 2002 and the Co-operatives and Community Benefits Societies Acts 2003 and 2010. In 2009-2010 he was the UK national expert and a member of the Scientific Committee in the preparation of a report for the European Commission “Study on the implementation of the Regulation 1435/2003 on the Statute for a European Cooperative Society (SCE)” available at

He is currently a trustee of the Co-operative Heritage Trust :
and a member of the Study Group on European Co-operative Law:
through which he collaborates on the PECOL Project: .
And blogs at: .

Welcome to R-CoMuse

R-CoMuse is a network of scholars and activists interested in developing research into all forms of social enterprise inspired by a concern with community and social development. Although physically based in the UK, we are an international network committed to forging links across national borders and academic disciplines, and between scholars and activists.
The R-CoMuse network developed out of a series of exchanges between a group of academics (some of whom are actively engaged in a variety of co-operative enterprises) which has now morphed into an extended cross-disciplinary and international dialogue. We share a belief that academic work should ‘make a difference’, and we are all, to different degrees, attracted by the potential in co-operative and social enterprises for ‘thinking differently’ in a world which has, for so long, been constructed around the values of individualism, the market economy and private property. But we are also, as academics as well as political and social actors, aware of the extent to which ‘thinking differently’ and developing (what we have come to think of) as ‘alternative property practices’ is difficult, and we are committed to exploring these difficulties in order to build, through practices of evaluation and processes of embedding, the potential for ‘difference’ in ‘social’ enterprises.


Calling ourselves R-CoMuse (with thanks to Melissa Demian for the name!) encapsulates our work – we are concerned with ‘research’ and developing research methods which enable us to track and evaluate the values and practices which inform the wide range of specific organisational forms which, increasingly, have been brought together under the general rubric of ‘social enterprise’. (Putting a ‘capital’ on the ‘M’ but not on the ‘s’ is simply because we liked the way in which ‘Muse’ then appeared in our title!)
R-CoMuse allows us to link together – as a forum for exchanging, sharing and developing information, ideas and approaches, and as a means through which we can find and develop work on which we can co-operate.
We have been helped by the award of a British Academy grant which enabled us to mount seminars in Kent and London (2011/12) which brought us together to exchange ideas, and out of which we developed plans for the on-going R-CoMuse forum to enable further work and to extend the network. The decision to begin this blog as a means through which to reach out to others who might be interested in our work, or in joining our network, was an obvious ‘next move’. We would like, again, to thank the British Academy for their support.
One function of the blog, at this point, is to enable us to present something of what we accomplished during those 2011/12 meetings. You will find in our archive the programmes of those meetings, and we shall shortly be adding material which came from those seminars in the form of notes, references and slides.
For those of you in the UK (or able to travel to the UK), we shall also be posting our future meetings, giving contact details if you are interested in attending, and also putting out calls of invitations to contribute to days dedicated to particular themes or activities. We will post when a number of us will be presenting at international conferences and will be convening a gathering of R-CoMuse scholars and activists during or alongside these meetings, and also we will post if any of us are visiting countries in which we would welcome contacts with scholars and activists (we particularly welcome the chance to visit sites and find out about what is being accomplished locally).
Would you like to join our network?
At present our contact list is limited to those who attended the 2011/12 seminars and is not published. We email those on the list to plan future events and activities, and to discuss such issues as applying for funding to extend our work. If you would like to be added to this contact list, please email
In the near future, people on the list will be asked whether they are happy to have their names and email addresses made accessible to other network members through a link on this page. We will then be asking for some (very brief) details about work, areas of interest etc., in order to facilitate contacts between us.
Would you like to contribute to the blog?
Either by writing something of what you do, information about projects or events which you would like publicised etc., if so, please send any material to
Our policy…
Is to operate as far as is possible an open access forum. However, we, as R-CoMuse, reserve the right to refuse to accept, carry or publicise material which we consider to be inaccurate, offensive or simply not relevant to our work or our concerns. We are hosted by the University of Kent and we also, very willingly, accept their policies on not accepting or carrying material which is problematic in terms of racial, sexual or religious discrimination.
Please let us know…
Of any matters, issues or concerns which you think we should address as part of our work, or any suggestions you have in terms of how this blog and our page might support and develop connections between scholars and activists, and disseminate material which is of interest.
We hope that this first posting will begin a long and valuable conversation…..
Anne Bottomley (Kent Law School.
Co-convenor with:
Melissa Demian (Anthropology, University of Kent)
Nathan Moore (Birkbeck Law School.
Research Assistant
Caroline Archer (Kent Law School.