"Nothing truly valuable can be achieved except by the unselfish cooperation of many individuals." - Albert Einstein

At a Glance

  • Live online course
  • Mondays 18:00 - 20:00
  • 5 weeks from 24 October 2022
  • Tutor: Dr Amanda Benson
  • Fees from £70 to £118
Booking link

Co-operative logo

The co-operative movement has its roots in the Lancashire textile town of Rochdale, where, in 1844, high shop prices and the adulteration of food by private traders prompted 28 working people to band together to set up a new kind of organisation. That organisation was a co-op. 

Called the Rochdale Pioneers, this new co-op bought high quality food and sold it to its members at a price they could afford. From this (eventually!) the modern co-operative supermarket was born. 

But the co-operative movement is more than just a supermarket! In fact, for almost two centuries, in the face of poverty, inequality and crisis, the mutual-aid model promoted by the co-operative movement has offered a practical self-help option for people in need, with the model replicated across the world. An estimated one billion people across the planet are now members of a co-op!

In this short, interactive course Dr Amanda Benson will take us on a fascinating journey into the history and ideas behind the modern co-operative movement. You will discover the role that co-operatives played in the development of social movements, as progressive and radical organisations pushing for change.

From the women co-operators who played a role in the birth of the peace movement, to co-operative idealists promoting better societies by creating youth groups like the Woodcraft Folk.

As part of the course we will also explore:

  • How co-operativism aided people in the past, analysing and critiquing the model and how it’s changed from its inception to the modern day
  • Whether co-operatives still offer solutions to the challenges facing society, such as inequality and the climate emergency

Live Online Course

This course will be taught live online (via the internet). To take part in the course you will need a suitably equipped device for session attendance each week on the weekday and time shown above.

Attendance Certificate


Successful completion of this course leads to the award of an Imperial College attendance certificate


Terms and conditions apply to all enrolments to this course. Please read them before enrolment

Course Information

Course Programme and Additional Reading

Course Programme

  • Week 1: History and heritage of the movement
  • Week 2: A global movement 
  • Week 3: Co-ops and social/political movements 
  • Week 4: Co-ops and current issues
  • Week 5: Co-ops and the future

The programme might be subject to change.

Additional Reading

There is no requirement to undertake specific reading for this course.

Your Tutor

AmandaDr Amanda Benson co-ordinates projects and research as well as designing and delivering training the Co-operative College. Specialising in gender, agriculture, international and community development, Amanda promotes sustainable and inclusive development both in the UK and worldwide.

Previously Amanda worked in community development in the UK, supporting adult learners through community training and mentoring. 

Course Fees and Rate Categories

HoursWeeksStandard RateInternal RateAssociate Rate
 10  5 £118  (£11.80 p/h)
£70  (£7 p/h) £92  (£9.20 p/h)
All fee rates quoted are for the whole 1-term course. No Early Bird rates available for 10-hour courses. Part-payments are not possible. Equivalent to hourly rate is shown for comparison guidance only.

Rate Categories and Discounts

Standard Rate

  • Applicable to all except those who fall under the Internal Rate or Associate Rate category, respectively.

Internal Rate


  • Current Imperial College students and staff (incl. Imperial NHS Trust, Imperial Innovations, ancillary & service staff employed on long-term contracts at Imperial College by third-party contractors)
  • Individuals enrolling under our Friends & Family scheme
  • Staff of the English Chamber Orchestra
  • Students, staff and Governors of Woodhouse College and the IC Mathematics School
  • Current Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication (CLCC) staff, current CLCC PhD students, Science Communication (Sci Comm) postgraduate students, and students enrolled on an Imperial College 'Language for Science' degree programme should contact eveningclass@imperial.ac.uk before completing the online enrolment form


Associate Rate

  • Alumni of Imperial College and predecessor colleges and institutes
  • Austrian Cultural Forum staff
  • City & Guilds College Association members
  • Co-operative College members
  • Francis Crick Institute staff, researchers and students
  • Friends and Patrons of the English Chamber Orchestra
  • Friends of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens
  • Friends of Leighton House/ Sambourne House
  • Friends of the Royal College of Music
  • Harrods staff
  • Historic Royal Palaces staff
  • Lycee Charles de Gaulle staff
  • Members of the Friends of Imperial College
  • Members of the Kennel Club
  • Members of the London Zoological Society
  • Members of the South London Botanical Institute (SLBI)
  • Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
  • National Health Service (NHS) employees
  • Natural History Museum staff
  • Residents of postcodes SW3, SW5, SW7, SW10 and W8
  • Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council staff
  • Royal College of Art and Royal College of Music tutors and other staff
  • Royal Geographical Society staff
  • Science Museum staff
  • Staff of Exhibition Road Cultural Group (Discover South Kensington) organisations
  • Students (non-Imperial College)
  • Teachers and other staff of UK schools
  • Tutors and other staff of institution members of the Association of Colleges
  • Tutors and other staff of other universities and higher education institutions
  • Victoria and Albert Museum staff

Late enrolment

It is possible to enrol on many of our adult education courses after the course has already started. For non-language courses this is subject entirely to agreement by the tutor. For language courses it is subject to agreement by the language coordinator conducting level assessment. If you want to join a course late do bear in mind there might be work you will need to catch up on, particularly in language courses.

Friends and Family Scheme

This course is eligible for the  allowing Imperial College students and staff to share their discount with their friends and family.

Term Dates

HoursWeeksAutumn termSpring termSummer term
10 5 Monday 24 October until Monday 21 November 2022* n/a n/a
* This is a one-term course

Enrolment Process

Web enrolment starts 1 August 2022

Enrolment and payment run through the Imperial College eStore. When enrolling:

  • Do check on the drop down menu above called "Course Fees and Rate Categories" to see if you are eligible for a discounted rate and also do make sure you select that rate when enrolling on the eStore
  • If you are a first-time eStore user you will need to create an account before enrolling. You can do this by entering an email address and password. This account can then be used for any future enrolments via the eStore.

When you have enrolled you will be sent the following email notifications:

What is sentWhen is it sentWhat does it contain
1. Payment confirmation Is sent instantaneously following submission of your online application
  • This is a receipt for your payment and includes payment date, order number and course title
  • Confirmation of your place on your chosen course will follow later
2. Enrolment confirmation Is sent within 10 working days. Please treat your payment confirmation as confirmation that your applicant details and payment have been received
  • Re-confirms your course choice
  • Shows your course's term dates
  • Confirms the day and time of your course
3. Programme information Is usually sent on Friday late afternoon the week before term starts
  • Contains joining instructions for your course, incl. tutor contact details
If you need further help with the above information please ring 020 7594 8756

Any Questions?

Questions regarding the content and teaching of this course should be sent to the Course Tutor, Dr Amanda Benson, amanda.benson@co-op.ac.uk

If you have any questions about your enrolment or payment processes please contact the Programme Administrator, Christian Jacobi, eveningclass@imperial.ac.uk