Article by Josette Combes, Ripess Europe

The 22nd RIUESS conference entitled “Territorial development in the light of the social and solidarity economy” took place from 24 to 26 May 2023. More than 300 people were able to debate and discover two cities rich in history and heritage, in a very convivial setting. The first two days were held at the University of Avignon. Jean Gatel (former Secretary of State for the Social Economy and Local Development and university lecturer on the Masters course) gave the inaugural lecture.
For the first time in the network’s history, a round table entitled “SSE actors and foundations: a plurality of approaches to territorial development” brought together representatives exclusively from foundations:  Villa Creative, Casden, Luma, Fondation RTE, Fondation Macif, Fondation Saint-Pierre, Centre Français des fondations et fonds de dotation. It’s true that the RIUESS has received considerable help from these foundations, particularly Luma, which made its premises available and organised the gala dinner in Arles that evening. The following day, the meetings continued in the new premises inaugurated for the occasion in the Grande Halle of the Parc des ateliers.

Luma Arles is a cultural centre that offers artists the opportunity to experiment with the creation and presentation of new works in close collaboration with other artists, curators, scientists, innovators and the public.
The closing plenary session provided an opportunity for international exchange. Genauto Carvalho de França Filho (professor at the Federal University of Bahia – Brazil) presented the experience of SSE incubators in Brazil. Nadine Richez-Battesti (lecturer in economics at Aix-Marseille University, researcher at the LEST UMR 7317 laboratory) put into perspective the challenges of territorialising SSE initiatives on a national scale, and Marie J. Bouchard (full professor at the Department of Organisation and Human Resources – Université du Québec à Montréal), based on UN and ILO definitions, the epistemological and ethical problems associated with statistical measurement applied to the SSE.

This post cannot capture the richness of the exchanges over the three days, with more than 40 workshops, 7 round tables, 3 plenary sessions, and the presentation of 10 books, including “L’économie solidaire en mouvement”, the MES collective work.
Many thanks to Patrick Gianfaldoni for his meticulous organisation, precise and punctual timetables, and for the night-time visit to his home town of Arles.
And off we go to the XXIIIrd Rencontres, to be held in Metz on 22, 23 and 24 May 2024, organised by Melaine Cervera.