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Free event to feature Preston economic model

Preston model expert: Julian Manley will speak in Hamilton next week

The economic rejuvenation of the English town of Preston through “community wealth building” has attracted much attention in recent years.

Julian Manley, one of strategists behind the ongoing economic transformation of Preston, will speak at an event staged by the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation next week.

Next Tuesday’s event, “An Evening With Dr Julian Manley”, will be free to enter and held at St Paul’s Centennial Hall, Hamilton. It is being staged in conjunction with Global Entrepreneurship Week.

The BEDC stated: “Dr Manley will focus his dynamic multimedia presentation on the UK Preston Model of community wealth building, social capital creation and the power of worker owned co-operatives.

“He will also present on the social dreaming matrix as a tool to harness the power of a communities’ voice. The special evening, inclusive of audience participation experiences, is designed to disrupt usual thinking, foster new creative energy and present strategies to build more sustainable communities.”

The Lancashire town’s model for an “inclusive economy” through keeping profits local and the development of worker-owned co-operatives has enjoyed well-documented success.

This year, PwC said in a report that Preston was “the most improved city in the UK” between 2015 and 2017. The report stated: “Preston has experienced a large reduction in its unemployment rate, measured at 3.1 per cent in 2017 compared to 6.5 per cent in 2014.”

Preston’s economic outlook was dire after the global economic crisis in 2008. The local council funded the Centre for Local Economic Strategy and the University of Central Lancashire to provide practical advice on implementing their economic rejuvenation ideas.

In 2013, 12 large institutions in Preston were identified, including the city and county councils, the university, the police and the hospital and a plan formed to encourage them to deploy their spending power with local businesses.

Dr Manley, a research fellow at the University of Central Lancashire, is also chairman of the Preston Co-operative Development Network. His academic work has always been focused on relationships at work and in society and the quest for rediscovering a sense of being, self and feeling of humanity that may have been forgotten in the context of contemporary social and economic systems.

Dr Manley has a longstanding relationship with the co-operatives of Mondragón in Spain where he has worked as a researcher, trainer and consultant.

His latest book is Social Dreaming, Associative Thinking and Intensities of Affect.

William Spriggs, director of economic and co-operative development at BEDC, said: “In addition to Dr Manley sharing strategies for community wealth building he will also discuss experiences in developing worker-owned co-operative businesses within Preston, UK.

“In addition, he will present on the power of social dreaming to create more sustainable communities. The evening promises to be a thought-provoking, engaging and true learning experience for all.”

In addition to Tuesday’s public presentation, he will also conduct small, closed-session social dreaming workshops with North Hamilton stakeholder groups with the data to be shared in the Tuesday evening public session.

In partnering with Dr Manley and the University of Lancashire, Mr Spriggs said, “BEDC has an opportunity to facilitate new community development dialogue with key community stakeholders and lead in the creation of innovative digital tools to harness a collective of community voices desirous of socio-economic change”.

The BEDC states: “All are invited to attend — the public session is especially relevant for community change organisations, social dreaming groups wanting to make meaning from the collective, organisations wanting a deeper vision of their future, teams wanting to build a shared purpose and higher education researchers and educators seeking deeper learning are invited to attend.”

The public event will take place on November 20, 6pm to 8:30pm, at St Paul’s Centennial Hall, Hamilton. Admission is free. Reply to BEDC, Sofia House, Hamilton, or e-mail http://bit.ly/rsvpgew, or reception@bedc.bm, or call 292-5570. Refreshments will be served