The State of Us 2021 kicks off on Tuesday 20th of April with its first event in the series, and we are delighted to share our speakers with you!

The State of Us is a four-event virtual conference for anyone working on or interested in social, environmental, racial and economic justice, democracy, and power at a local level across the UK – whether through local enterprise, community organising, activism, third sector, or local government.

We will ask, what role do community-focused, economic actors have in building powerful communities? What is the best practice? Who are our allies and who shares our values? And how can we organise better? What does democracy look like in everyday areas of our economy such as work, public spaces and the production of the goods we consume? How do communities actively create power, within and beyond authority?

First up for this conference is The State of Work focusing on the concept of livelihoods as work becomes more precarious and the workforce more fragmented. How are people and communities building power both within and beyond the workplace? How can this contribute to wider economic democracy? The State of Work will explore the changing nature of work and highlight solutions forged through new business models and enterprise, collective organising, and localised support for the self-employed.

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Find out more about our speakers for The State of Work:


Henry Chango-Lopez – Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB)

Henry Chango-Lopez – Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB)

Henry is the General Secretary of The IWGB – a union that represents and supports some of the most marginalised workers in Britain.

The union focuses on outsourcing, the gig economy and other areas where precarity, low pay and exploitation are the norm. Henry has been closely involved with the union since the early days and previously worked as an outsourced porter at the University of London, where he has been involved in high profile campaigns. Henry has years of experience in organising, listening to the experiences of workers in precarious positions and advising them on what avenues are open to them.

Dorothy Francis – Co-operative and Social Enterprise Agency (CASE)

Dorothy Francis -

Dorothy Francis, who is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of Leicester, has worked within the field of co-operatives and social enterprise for 35 years and is passionate about how social businesses change lives and communities for the better.

Dorothy is the CEO of the Co-operative and Social Enterprise Agency (CASE) and is a leader, trainer, mentor and adviser. She has over 30 years’ experience in advising cooperatives and social enterprises to establish and grow and specialises in social enterprise legal structures, working practices and management. Dorothy is committed to promoting business to women, especially women of colour and women from newly arrived communities and has twice received Business Woman of the Year awards.

Lindsey Hall – Real Ideas Organisation

Photo of Lindsey Hall

Lindsey is co-founder and CEO of Real Ideas, leading and managing the organisation to run it’s own social enterprise ventures and enable others, particularly young people, to set up and run their own socially entrepreneurial activities, solving problems and building skills.

Lindsey’s track record in the public and private sectors as a creative social entrepreneur, thinker and leader has seen her set up and develop products and services across the creative, learning and education sectors. Most recently this has included transforming a former market hall building in Devonport, Plymouth into an immersive technology centre with the largest immersive dome in Europe. From building award-winning programmes in the UK to driving ground-breaking initiatives internationally, Lindsey has the experience and skills at management, board and executive level to steer social business ideas towards success; making money and making a difference at the same time.

Lindsey is a NESTA Cultural Leadership fellow, an INSEAD graduate, a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Trustee of Kernow Education Arts Partnership and Plymouth Culture, member of Plymouth Growth Board and one of the WISE100 social enterprise leaders.

Emily Scurrah – New Economics Foundation

Emily State of Us

Emily is a qualitative researcher at the New Economics Foundation, specialising in work and pay; feminist and heterodox economics; and intersectional methodologies. Past research has included studies into the insecure workforce and the impact that shorter working hours would have on gender inequality; and she is currently exploring routes to a just transition into a green economy in partnership with trade unions.

Alongside her work at NEF, Emily is a workplace shop steward and is a trade union activist.

To find out more about the conference, view the full events programme and book your free place, visit The State of Us!

Book your place here