Goldsmiths plans Big Society centre*

Goldsmiths is planning to establish a research centre that works with the voluntary and community sector.

It will be holding a community event on to discuss the feasibility of the project at the Albany Theatre, Deptford, on Thursday July 19th 2012 9.30am – 12.30pm. They say:

The idea for the centre has come out of the research we have been undertaking into the current concerns, issues and needs of the voluntary and community sector across South East London.

A key finding from the 70 plus community organisations contacted was the need for a research resource that supported the voluntary and community sector across South East London and beyond. To progress this idea further the aim of the event will be to bring together representatives from the voluntary and community sector in South East London and academic staff from Goldsmiths, to discuss this proposal further by sharing our ideas, for example, the aims and objectives of a research centre, and what support it might provide.

Suggestions from community organisations contacted have included:

- To provide research evidence to support funding applications
- To provide research training events
- To provide information and advice on undertaking research
- To help with evaluation and monitoring of services and contracts
- To help with community and user needs assessments
- To help with social impact assessments
- To provide low-cost, or no-cost research support by matching Goldsmiths student research projects to community organisations needs.

If you would like to attend, please email Maria Dumas, Research Administrator, (

*Remember the Big Society? It's amazing how fast that toxic phrase has disappeared from public discourse.


Anonymous said...

Great idea. But am I going to take a day off work to go to this on a Thursday morning? No.

Big society type debates always talk about the need for wide engagement accross all sections of the community to avoid only hearing from the 'usual suspects'.

Really disappointing.

Anonymous said...

The Big Society is alive and well in various initiatives. The mungs didnt like it because even though it fulfilled what they considered to be "their" aims, it wasn't though up by their side of the political spectrum. Hence snide comments such as the OP.

Anonymous said...

"The Big Society is alive and well in various initiatives" if by big society you mean a few libraries limping along then yes, it's THRIVING. If you mean that the 3rd sector is even close to covering where the state has retreated then I suspect your living in Eric Pickles land.

Brockley Nick said...

Dear me, for someone who goes around calling people 'mungs', you're a delicate flower. The comment wasn't snide, I was just remarking on the fact that a couple of years ago, barely a newspaper article could go by without a mention of it. And now? Nothing.

It's toxic.

Obviously there are loads of good community initiatives happening. I report on them daily. they are sometimes derided by the sort of person who uses the word mung...

Anonymous said...

Didn't the previous government have something similar with a mass rally in Birmingham to engage with the people ?

Anonymous said...

wasn't 'the big society' thought up by a PR person (or more probably team)?

Peter Tooke said...

'Big Society' chimed so well with a lot of things already going on, and others which people had thought about but never had 'official endorsement' for. In that sense it captured the moment and started to force a lot of controlling leftish Councils like Lewisham to take residents a bit more seriously.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:02.

Worse, it came from the mind of Oliver Letwin. If Labour hadn't have been unelectable at the last election the Big Society 'concept' could have cost the Torries as MPs struggled to explain it to punters on the door steps.

Lou Baker said...

The phrase 'Big Society' may be toxic but the idea is alive and well.

The idea that individuals, charities and communities can do more to solve their own problems than the state can ever do.

There are those who believe that you can solve a problem just by chucking money at it. Hey, I used to believe that too in my misguided youth. But 13 years of a moderate Labour government proved that was not true. Money can - sometimes - help, yes. But it is not enough on its own.

Similarly the last few Tory governments demonstrated that the private sector does not always have the answer.

Those who deride the Big Society idea have no faith in community. No faith in people. They believe a bureaucrat with a wad of cash can solve every ill, fix every problem. They are wrong.

Roger Green said...

Like most people I really do not understand what this 'Big Society' concept is about apart from its drastically reducing Govt/Local Govt. funding to the community and volunrtary sector. So I don't think this is a 'Big Society' research centre proposal. More a collaborative partnership between community organisations across Sth London and Goldsmiths. The event on July 19th is an attempt to bring together the 100 plus community organisations I have visited as part of my research project and others that have been informed about the event via variuos networks.
The aim of the event is to discuss whether one of the key findings from my research that such a centre could work with and support the community and voluntary sector is a viable project.
Roger Green, Goldsmiths

Robert said...

I am involved with one or two community/voluntary sector organisations.

I was thinking about taking the morning off to join in with the debate on Thursday. However, I now have the impression, gleemed from your post, that contrary to assisting the voluntary sector with their aims, your research is actually about disproving that it can ever become a viable alternative to town centre politics?

Is it going to me worth my while turning up?

Roger Green said...

I think you should come along Robert and have your say. Cheers

Unknown said...

sounds like an interesting event.. I'm not part of a community organisation in the area though I live locally (and I can't take half days off work either). But the list of potential things on offer while valuable sounds like a set of services a uni could offer community organisations (I used to be part of a centre elsewhere that offered these kinds of services though on a smaller scale possibly and in a different city). That's great but what about what the community offers Goldsmiths' and what about more collaborative approaches to research too. I appreciate this has come out of some research about community organisations needs and I'm not saying that those services aren't important.. just would be nice to move beyond that perhaps too.

Brockley Central Label Cloud