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Robert Owen’s 250th Legacy Celebration

What lessons can we learn for the 21st Century?

Organised by Co-ops & Mutuals Wales

 2021 marks Robert Owen’s 250th birthday. This anniversary celebrates his ‘bankful of ideas’ about alternative ways of organising society from pre-school play to the co-operative movement. As opposed to competition, his central purpose was to support democracy, self-government and co-operative advance through ‘voluntary association’, with education seen as the primary driver of social change.

Owen’s work led to co-operatives, mutuals, trade unions, building and friendly societies. These developments have had global reach as recognised in the 2012 UN International Year of Co-operatives.

In support of achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and co-operative principles: Co-ops & Mutuals Wales https://www.cooperatives-wales.coop invites you to two virtual events to be held on Friday 14th May 2021– Owen’s anniversary and Saturday 3rd July 2021 – International Co-operators Day https://globaldimension.org.uk/events/international-day-of-co-operatives/2021-07-03/

There are limited slots for two events, so we urge you to register soon for both events. You will then be sent a link for each several days beforehand. We eagerly await your participation. For any inquiries please contact: (01633 266781) or david@cooperatives-wales.coop.

With special thanks to the West Midlands Co-operatives Member Education Group; Central England Co-operative Membership & Community Councils; and the Co-op Group for their generous financial support; and the Co-operative Press for technical assistance and all who have given their time and expertise in this collaboration.


14.00 Welcome by Cllr. David Selby, Mayor of Newtown, joining us from Robert Owen’s Memorial, with floral tribute from the Co-operative Group

14.05 Greetings: Akira Kurimoto, former Secretary General, Robert Owen Association (Japan), Organising committee, ICA Global Congress, Seoul, December 2021

14.10 What would Robert Owen be doing today?’ School children interview the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford MS, pre-recorded video premiere

14.25  What Owenite ideals descended to the modern Co-operative Movement?

    • Cilla Ross (Researcher/Activist);
    • Sara Vicari, (Aroundtheworld.coop, Rome);
    • Gillian Lonergan (former National Co-operative Archive Librarian)
    • Facilitator: Rebecca Harvey, (Executive Editor, Co-op Press)

14.45 Robert Owen Museum 3D Tour

14.55 ‘How do we keep Owen’s ideals burning brightly?’ Short presentations, followed by breakout groups and summation

    1. ‘Telling co-operative video stories of collective action’: Sara Vicari, Aroundtheworld.coop (Rome)
    2.  ‘Owen & Social Development Goals’: Michael Brown, Director for Open Newtown
    3. ‘Co-operative energy/radical edge innovation’: Dan McCullum, Awel Aman Tawe
    4. ‘Why socialised enterprises rooted in mutual principles and co-operative governance?’ Rory Ridley-Duff, Chair, UK Society for Co-operative Studies
    5. ‘Networking Community Enterprises’ Ceri Cunningham & Selwyn Williams, Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog
    6. Facilitator: Cilla Ross

16.00 Special presentation celebrating Robert Owen 250th anniversary from Central England Co-operative Society Ltd.


14th May
2:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Register to attend


David Smith, Co-operatives Wales
01633 266781


Online Via Zoom
United Kingdom
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