GCU secures £90,000 to host national social enterprise archive

Glasgow Caledonian University is to host a national archive capturing Scotland’s social enterprise story after securing £90,000 of government funding.

Scotland’s Social Enterprise Collection will be open to all members of the public and will capture the story of the thriving sector.

Figures show there are now more than 5000 social enterprises operating in Scotland, with 64% being led by women.

The Scottish Government has a 10-year Social Enterprise Strategy aimed at supporting and businesses that reinvest their profits to address social change in areas such as homelessness, unemployment, inequality, and climate change.

The Collection will expand on the existing archive of work by the late John Pearce, viewed as one of the most influential figures in community enterprise in the UK.

Aileen Campbell MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, said: “With so much happening across Scotland and given the vibrancy of this sector it is vital that this story is probably captured, understood and shared for the benefit of all.

“That’s why I am delighted to announce the Scottish Government will provide £90,000 to the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health at Glasgow Caledonian University, named in honour of the Nobel Peace laureate Muhammad Yunus, to help establish Scotland’s Social Enterprise Collection.”

Professor Cam Donaldson, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise and Co-Director of the Yunus Centre, said: “Glasgow Caledonian University’s Special Collections and the Yunus Centre are both delighted and honoured to accept this award.

“The plans we have developed with Scottish Government are exciting not only in terms of ensuring Scotland’s social enterprise story is preserved but also because the Social Enterprise Collection (Scotland) and the pioneering work of John Pearce can be further developed and opened up for use by historians and other academics, practitioners and policy-makers and, indeed, communities and individual members of the public.

“This will be a living resource, open to all.”

Carole McCallum, GCU’s archivist, said: “I’m thrilled and delighted with the news. We will be working in partnership with the Yunus Centre, and we will now be able to recruit a part-time archivist to catalogue the collection. The archivist will also go out and actively seek new material to build the collection within the archive. The real legacy of this project will be the creation of a comprehensive collection based here at GCU which will endure for the future.”

The announcement coincided with the start of the 2018 Social Enterprise World Forum in Edinburgh, which runs from September 12 to 14.

– Watch the announcement

Professor Baglioni delivered keynote speech on solidarity in Europe at a European policy event

Professor Simone Baglioni, Yunus Centre, delivered a keynote speech at a gathering of European policy makers in Gdansk, Poland. Professor Baglioni was invited to speak about solidarity in Europe at a time when several social, economic and political challenges risk undermining the progress European peoples and countries have made since the creation of the European Union. Professor Baglioni, using evidence from the European funded project TransSOL (Transnational Solidarity at Times of Crisis), of which GCU was a partner, said that although fragile solidarity in Europe was in good shape and that citizens still believe in Europe. Professor Baglioni argued that European peoples are still ready to help each other in case of need, such as supporting their countries pooling resources to help others paying debts, or engaging by helping people such as the disabled, asylum seekers and refugees, and the unemployed. And that therefore there is a good potential to tap upon for revamping social trust and citizens’ trust in Europe.

Professor Baglioni spoke at the Baltic Sea States Subregional Cooperation network annual conference, including policy representatives from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia, and Sweden. Professor Baglioni said that macro-regional cooperation such as the Baltic Sea States one is a key-policy tool to leverage solidarity among countries and contribute creating cross-country synergies for a sustainable growth and a fairer society.

Later in this month professor Baglioni is invited to speak also at a plenary of the French Sociological Association Health and Social Care branch at the University of Brest, and at the gathering of the European association for health care managers in Bordeaux, both in France.

Baroness Thornton delivers the 2018 John Pearce Memorial Lecture

Baroness Glenys Thornton outlined how social enterprise can have a positive impact on people’s lives at the annual John Pearce Memorial Lecture at Glasgow Caledonian University.

More than 200 guests attended the 2018 lecture held in honour of one of the most influential figures in community enterprise in the UK.

Labour’s Shadow Health Minister in the House of Lords delivered this year’s keynote address, which was part of the programme for an academic symposium, organised by the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health, ahead of the Social Enterprise World Forum 2018.

Baroness Thornton, who has spent 40 years working with co-operative, social and community organisations, said: “John was one of the people who laid the foundations for the social enterprise movement in Scotland and across the UK.

“He persuaded people to set up innovations and businesses to support their communities, create jobs, give people control over their lives, and save communities that were under threat, he was remarkable.

“The Yunus Centre, here at GCU, does great work. It’s important work because it allows a connection to be made with what happens on the ground and what happens across the world.”

Professor Cam Donaldson, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise and Co-Director of the Yunus Centre, said: “John Pearce spent his working life developing creative, community-led solutions to challenges facing urban and rural communities.

“Upon his retirement and just prior to his death in 2011, John donated his papers to the special collections at GCU.

“A special benefit arising from such a generous donation is that I, along with my colleagues and members of the public who never met him, will have the chance to learn from John.”

The work to preserve the Pearce archive at Glasgow Caledonian University has been funded by donations from the social enterprise and business communities, a grant from the University and awards from the Medical Research Council and Economic & Social Research Council.

Professor Pamela Gillies, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of GCU, said: “Supporting, facilitating and researching Social Enterprise sits at the very heart of our social mission as the University for the Common Good.

“It is why we are delighted, on our campus, to honour the memory of a remarkable and inspirational person, John Pearce.”

Guests from the USA, Canada, Australia, Thailand and across Europe have been on campus this week for a two-day symposium to discuss how academia can advance social enterprise teaching, research and community engagement across the globe.

The event is part of the build-up to the 2018 Social Enterprise World Forum in Edinburgh, which runs from September 12 to 14.

Why the Serco affair must force us to rethink our attitudes to migrants

Professor Simone Baglioni has written and opinion piece for the Herald Scotland on ‘Why the Serco affair must force us to rethink our attitudes to migrants’.  To read the article, please click on the link below:


Ashoka U Change Leader Retreat

Julie Adair spent the week of the 16th July at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.  She was representing GCU at the Ashoka U Change Leader retreat which was hosted at The Bullpen, Duke’s impressive Innovation and Entrepreneurship Space (pictured above), attended by Ashoka U colleagues from Mexico, Columbia, Canada, Singapore and, of course, the United States.  As well as reviewing activities of the various changemaker campuses, the group discussed possible shared projects via a call for proposals for the 2018/19 Collaboration Fund.  GCU hopes to submit a bid with colleagues from the USA and Canada.

PhD Presentations

Enrico Bellazzecca, PhD student at the Yunus Centre for Social Business & Health recently presented on his PhD at the following events:

  • 6th EMES-COST-CNRS International Training School – 19-22 June 2018 in Marseilles, France
  • ISTR 13th International Conference – 10-13 July 2018 –  Hosted by Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Philanthropic Studies Department

John Pearce Lecture 2018

Date: Monday 10th September 2018
Time: 5.00pm – 8.30pm
Location: Deeprose Theatre, Govan Mbeki Building, Glasgow Caledonian University, Cowcaddens Road, Glasgow G4 0BA

The lecturer this year will be Baroness Glenys Thornton (Senior Fellow, The Young Foundation). The Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) would like to invite you to the annual John Pearce Memorial Lecture, which this year is part of the Social Enterprise World Forum’s Academic Symposium which takes place on the 10th and 11th September at GCU.

Baroness Glenys Thornton has spent 40 years working with co-operative, social and community enterprises. The lecture will be wide-ranging in scope, reflecting on the growth of the social and community enterprise movement; the expanding cooperative sector; and the need for supportive ecosystems to enable future national and international development. It will look at the movement historically, with some reference to the work of John Pearce, but will also look at current issues, future challenges and how social enterprises and co-operatives can positively enhance community and public well-being.

This is a free event but please register to ensure your place.

John Pearce Lecture Leaflet 2018

If you would like to attend the lecture, please register via the Eventbrite link below:

Common Good First

Common Good First has just had confirmation of further funding to help grow the Scottish dimension of the project.  This will fund resources to help begin to promote and roll out the platform to social innovation projects around Scotland.  The stories collected will be represented on the Common Good Platform when it launches in October 2019.

To find out more about the project, please visit the website below:


Flash mob brings happiness to Kelvingrove

A flash mob highlighting Scotland’s solidarity towards migrants, refugees and asylum seekers brought happiness to one of the country’s busiest tourist attractions.

Around 25 people of all ages, from all over the world, performed a choreographed routine to Happy by Pharrell Williams in the main hall at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum on Sunday afternoon.

The dancers all wore t-shirts promoting the research findings of a European funded project TransSOL which established one in three people in Scotland have shown solidarity towards migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

The performance, organised by the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), brought the curtain down on a weekend of fun activities at the museum as part of Glasgow Science Festival.

Researchers from GCU are leading a new £2.5 million Europe-wide project that will explore how to integrate migrants, refugees and asylum applicants into European Labour markets.

SIRIUS sees GCU coordinate the research of nine universities in seven countries. It is hoped the project will help shape international policy on supporting access to quality work opportunities and working conditions.

Professor Simone Baglioni, of the Yunus Centre, said: “The SIRIUS project believes it is in all our interests to integrate and that the fastest way to achieve that is through work.

“We have to help people into work and also help employers and society make the most of the wealth of skills refugees can bring.”