Cooperativism Studio: Cooperativism and Citizen Empowerment

Schools of Public Engagement: International Affairs

Liberal Arts

Undergraduate Course

Graduate Course

Degree Students (with Restrictions)

Cooperativism Studio

Spring 2018

Taught By: Christopher London

Section: A

CRN: 7838

Credits: 3

In this Studio we will explore strategies and challenges for building cooperative enterprises that facilitate both access to markets and decision-making power for members. The context for this work is two emerging partnerships focusing on these issues. The first partnership is with a green coffee import company based in Oregon and a coffee grower’s cooperative in Colombia. The long term goal is to strengthen organizational capacity and increase revenues for women, improve the visibility, marketability and revenues of the coop, and strengthen the trading position and price setting capacity of the importer. The second emerging partnership is a with a Rockefeller Family Fund supported project to democratize an electricity coop in rural Alabama. The goal of this project is to educate and mobilize members to take control of the coop board and make it serve membership as intended. The Studio will: 1. Research cooperative models and assess the Colombia and Alabama coops in light of these. This will involve developing and/or deploying a typology of coops to better understand these specific examples. We will also visit and learn about the formation, and/or restructuring of coops in New York City. 2. Research definitions and strategies for assessing “citizen empowerment” and develop tools to test these with the partners. In the case of Colombia this will focus on “women’s empowerment.” For Alabama it means researching other cases of membership revolt against leadership and efforts democratize coop management. 3. Research marketing strategies of cooperative enterprises. A key issue will be designing communicative strategies that facilitate marginalized communities to articulate their own narratives as the foundation for marketing and/or advocacy campaigns. 4. Research price setting in the coffee industry and design tools for improving price transparency so that partners have stronger negotiating positions. Studio participants will have the opportunity to learn about the global value chain of the specialty coffee industry including cupping, grading, logistics, sales and marketing as well as the “culture” of coffee. Students, singly and/or in teams, are expected to produce finished or nearly finished products. These will form the building blocks for a Summer 2018 International Field Program in Colombia, and a Fall 2018 Studio II where the preceding work will be used as primary research for masters or undergraduate capstone projects.

College: Schools of Public Engagement (NS)

Department: International Affairs (NINT)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Studio (S)

Max Enrollment: 10

Enrollment Status: Closed*

*Enrollment status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 12:14am 6/25/2018

Meeting Info:

Days: Monday

Times: 5:00pm - 7:00pm

Building: Academic Entrance 63 Fifth Ave

Room: 622

Date Range: 1/22/2018 - 5/14/2018