On Tuesday this week, NESTA and the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance published “Pushing Boundaries”, their latest annual report on the state of alternative finance in the UK. Their earlier reports established this as the single most authoritative source of data on the sector in the UK (despite some competitors). What does the new report tell us? And what does this have to do with our work on alternative finance, resilience and democracy? Continue reading
Driving FinTech in Manchester
Wednesday 30th September, Barclays RISE Manchester
Innovate Finance is an industry-backed body aiming to promote the UK as the world centre of “FinTech” – the merger of technology and finance. Founded by companies new and old, from digital currency businesses to IBM and Mastercard, it has grown rapidly. Together with technologies body TechUK, last Wednesday they held an event in Manchester that included sessions covering local economic development, crowdfunding, and social investment – all relevant to our FITTER project. Continue reading
Pathfinders, ICAEW Great Hall, London, Friday 25th September 2015
Responsible, democratic and fair: how many of us think those words can be reasonably applied to the global financial system? Not many, I would guess. Yet finding a path from today’s crisis, to a financial system that lives up to that description, is the ambitious goal that the Finance Innovation Lab has set itself.
At least the Lab is no stranger to unlikely outcomes. It was born out of collaboration between the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales (ICAEW), and WWF – not the most obvious of bedfellows. After seven years of existence as a cross-institutional partnership, bringing people from finance and beyond together to try to stimulate change, the Lab has now set up as a standalone organisation. It celebrated this with a “Pathfinders” launch event at the ICAEW’s City headquarters last Friday. Continue reading
I was lucky enough to be able to attend the launch of Mark Fisher and Jeremy Gilbert’s relatively new policy document for Compass last Saturday, hosted by the Bauman Institute in The Tetley, Leeds. Two initial, if not superfluous, points: since I left Leeds, the old Tetley building has become something of an artistic and cultural ‘space’, so I was happy to be able to pay it a long overdue visit. Secondly, I remember reading Mark Fisher’s excellent Capitalist Realism when it was first published way back in 2009. Six years on, capitalism continues unabated in the lived experience of everyday life, though I don’t think this is a reason for a sense of hopelessness or nihilism. Fisher’s work is a telling book that has stuck with me. Continue reading
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The tidal power scheme proposed for Swansea Bay (Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay) has been in the news today due to the government’s announcement that it is discussing subsidising the ambitious £1bn project. Questions are being raised in the media about the levels of subsidy on offer and the potential impact on household fuel bills, and about whether the government’s willingness to back the project is intended to distract attention from its attempts to reinvigorate the North Sea oil industry. However, what is missing from the current debate is what the impact of this project on local people might be. Continue reading
The idea that we need to develop resilience to a range of environmental, economic, political and security crises seems to have increasing purchase across academic disciplines and in policy and practice. In particular, there has been a developing interest in the concept of community resilience, which refers to a capacity within social groups to adapt to and recover from crisis “without flipping into another state or phase “(Cote & Nightingale 2012: 475). This might include, for example, coping with flooding; transport/infrastructure damage; terrorist attack; economic downturn and financial crisis; demographic change; climate change; and/or political upheaval (e.g. see OECD 2009; Young Foundation 2012; Stockholm Resilience Centre 2013). However, there is considerable variation in the ways the metaphor of resilience is interpreted and employed, and amongst definitions of the characteristics of resilient communities. Continue reading
The current debates and protests about the issue of ‘fracking’ – shale gas extraction – in the south of England and elsewhere touch upon a number of the themes we are exploring in our SLED research project . This blog post examines some of the key issues raised by recent events, and provides some related evidence and analysis emerging from our own research. Continue reading