CoTech Spring 2019 Gathering : 25-26th April in Sheffield

Hello Polly thanks for your message. I’ve emailed today, just now, and will chase up with phone calls next week, onwards. I previously phoned a sub-set of the membership but with sorting out other things I haven’t urged people to book until now.

Re. planning for the Agenda I intend to go through this thread, and any relevant emails, and put together a list of what’s already been proposed. I’ll do that by about Thursday/Friday next week and put a posting here, to prompt people to give some more input. Do please put your ideas up here if you haven’t already Hope that sounds OK?

And definitely let’s have a pre-event pint on the Wednesday night :slight_smile:

Just me coming from We Are Open! Booked my ticket and accommodation, looking forward to catching up with you all :smile:


I will be coming to the event :slight_smile:

Looking forward to seeing y’all.

Would be interested to drift into a conversation about

And also this perhaps - I think I’m just about to enroll. Starts today!

Also interested to float around feeling positive about all the cool things people are working on. X

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Sorry Cat & I at Dot Project won’t be able to make this event which is such a shame - love to catch up with any outputs, or support virtually if we can!

Thanks to everyone who’s booked so far :slightly_smiling_face:

Ideas for the “Content” of the gathering are welcome also - Ta to and all who’ve already put forward suggestions

Just been watching an interesting video with Argentinian co-operators who will be visiting us at the Spring Gathering.

It’s over an hour long.
The first part explains how ‘inter-cooperating’ work-sharing in Argentina’s equivalent of CoTech.
At about 18:30 their planned visit to UK for the Spring Gathering is explained.
The rest of the video is a discussion, going into details of how the co-operative work-sharing works in practice. Worth watching :slight_smile:

We now have a nice improvement to the wiki site, if you want to see some photos of the venue, and of some CoTech people …

@jonathan suggested perhaps someone from Extinction Rebellion Sheffield could do a little talk to kick off the Climate Emergency and Tech section. I’m going to their meeting tonight and will see if anyone is interested in doing that.

What did they say Naomi please? We’re thinking the Friday discussions will have a focus on environment.

Ah yes someone has volunteered to talk about how they think tech can help with the emergency, and also I would like to talk as well, but from a different perspective, about how activists can be manipulated into being lobbyists for eco-capitalism and how we might avoid that.

BTW, your avatar is disturbing, it looks like your head is on a spike

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That’s great :slight_smile:

Sorry about my disturbing head. I’ve had a bit of a haircut since then so perhaps I’ll update it :slight_smile:

What do you think about a “Cotech Question Time” as part of the Gathering?

I imagine a fairly light hearted whole-group discussion for an hour or so, with a panel, and questions/contributions from the ‘audience’

I’ve got loads of questions I’d like to hear discussed, eg:

What’s going to emerge as the Open Source alternative to Twitter, Facebook, Whatapp, etc?

What apps (or devices) do you use for good things like cycling, meeting people, food growing and preparation, daily life, etc?

What open source developments are you watching/involved with?

What organisations are you involved with in developing new tech solutions


At the last event we really avoided having many whole-group sessions. We did a very short kick-off at the beginning (which as I understand it will now be a bit longer, thanks to @chrislowis doing a presentation on where CoTech has got to so far).

We also did summing-up and decision-making rounds at the end of each day, which were facilitated by @PeteBurden, @aaron and myself. These gave the working groups a few minutes each to share what they’d been doing, and bring sociocratic proposals to the group.

I liked this format, because we’re a really diverse group of people and so trying to find thematic or philosophical sessions that everyone feels are relevant to them is tricky. Meanwhile if people are up for running sessions that they think are interesting (such as how CoTech can help with the climate crisis, or what open source projects are going on), then it’s great for them to be able to do that. However @jonathan, I really don’t think that you need to propose these sessions or feel any responsibility for recruiting people to them - if someone wants to run a session then they should also take responsibility for making sure that people go.

In some ways the Question Time format is something that we are trying at Space4 - having nights where we get panels and audience in to discuss subjects related to the tech co-op sector. I think those are great and they get more people to know about CoTech and what we’re up to. However, I mainly see these CoTech Gathering events as being about how to get CoTech to be more successful, rather than looking at the wider issues around technology.

In short, I am basically saying that I think that if anyone wants to discuss the questions that you have outlined here, that would be great, but I don’t think it should be a compulsory group session.


On the wiki page I can see four things suggested to date for the agenda for next week: the climate crisis, the folks from Argentina, the Cotech website, and the item I suggested some while back - how can CoTech make a difference, a session which I’m still very happy and interested to lead if there is interest in it. The challenge I have, and I’m guessing that I may well not be alone in this, is that - as at the last CoTech event in these parts - I can only really spare the time to be there for one day. So I need to make a choice about which day looks to be the most effective and useful for me. Right now I have no basis on which to make that judgement. So it would be really helpful for me to get a better picture of the proposed structure of the event. It would also be good to get a sense of who is going to be there (is there a list that we can see?). Happy to be involved in helping to structure the event.

I totally agree with Polly’s perspective here.

In addition, I really don’t like panel discussions. I don’t like being on them or listening to them because I prefer more informal discussions where possible. Ofc this preference shouldn’t getting in the way of others participating in this format.

I would like to see some more sessions on collective bidding for example but don’t really have the capacity to put anything together beforehand. Should I just put something on the wiki?

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Thanks for that Polly, I also agree and I am happy to shelve the Question Time suggestion, I can see that’s an idea for another type of event. And anyway I’ll be talking about such questions all night in the bar :slight_smile:

So we will have whole-group kick-off at the beginning - including @chrislowis on where CoTech has got to so far, best on Day 1, presumably.?

@Chris points out that the Argentinian visitors will be a major thing, so perhaps they could say a few words to the whole group at that (Day 1) stage?

Summing-up and decision-making rounds at the end of each day sounds fine of course.

3 people including @Naomi and @Dot are wanting to contribute on Climate and Tech, and this being a massive issue, one which people have trouble mentally facing up to, I think that CoTech could usefully get ahead of the curve by hearing a bit about it “first hand” (unfiltered by mainstream media spin or social media algorhythms…) Could they have time to say something, perhaps at the whole-group kick-off at the beginning of Day 2 do you think?

Also; I put on the Spring Gathering [ wiki] page “The Agenda will be online here when finalised around mid-April” so I’d like to think we can post something there now if that’s OK? And people like @Graham want to plan which day they can be there.

Polly you’ve done most on this, what about putting online at this stage? perhaps only in skeleton form? And with lots of empty space where small group sessions will happen?


I’d suggest you come on the Thursday, there is the possibility that some people might be slightly dazed and confused on the Friday due to the party on the Thursday night… :wink:

I’d be interested in a quick session where one person from each co-op has one minute to get up and say, “our co-op is great because we can provide x, y and z services for other co-ops in the network” as a way of raising awareness of what we can do for each other and encouraging more inter-co-operative trading. Perhaps this could happen at the start of the social and be followed by some quick networking before we get too carried away with the party…?

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I’d be interested in that session @chris [ “Our co-op is great because we can provide x, y and z services for other co-ops in the network”] :slight_smile:

Good point. I’ll plan to be there Thursday. Thx

Anyone arriving in Sheffield the night BEFORE the Gathering?

Wed 24th April - I plan to be in a nearby pub: from say 7.30/8pm.

Anyone is welcome to join us.

To help new people I’ll put some kind of Cotech sign on our table in the pub.

Personal message me if a mobile contact number would help your arrangements :slight_smile: