The Social Science Centre by Gary Saunders
The Social Science Centre (SSC) organises free higher education in the City of Lincoln and run by its members. The SSC was formally constituted as a co-operative in May 2011 with help from the local Co-operative Development Agency. The SSC has no formal connection with any higher education institution, but attempts to work closely with like-minded organisations in the City.
Over the last year, we’ve run an entry-level evening class called ‘The Social Science Imagination’ (after C. Wright-Mills’ 1959 book, The Sociological Imagination), which is an open course run by and for people who want to develop a critical understanding of the social world, and the conditions and possibilities of their own lives, through social scientific inquiry.
The class proceeds from scholars’ everyday problematics to theoretical critique; taking up Mills’ key challenge: how can individuals, who appear powerless, change and transform wider social structures in ways that are progressive and humanising?
In addition to the Social Science Imagination course, we also run a photography project called ‘Our Place, Our Priorities’, which is a collaboration between the residents of The Pathways Centre, Lincoln and scholars from the Social Science Centre. The aim of the project is to promote active citizenship by simultaneously celebrating the city and identifying priorities for change within it.
We also organise periodic public seminars on themes of critical and radical education and politics, and from September 2013, we’re running a monthly public seminar series. With each of these activities — the class, the project, the lectures and seminars, we’re trying to provide a number of ways for people to learn about the SSC and become involved.