Our plans for Robert Owen 250

14 May 2021 marks the 250th Anniversary of the birth of Robert Owen. Owen is widely acknowledged as the father of co-operation, and the Wales Co-operative Centre is busy planning activities to mark the event.

See this page in: Cymraeg

The New World of Robert Owen – online lecture

On Wednesday 12 May at 12noon, Professor Chris Williams from University College Cork will deliver an online talk about Owen’s life and legacy.

Robert Owen was born a quarter of a millennium ago, in 1771. The world he was born into had been utterly transformed by the time he died, in 1858. Whether as benevolent industrialist, reform campaigner, unabashed polemicist or inspirational utopian, Owen himself made a significant contribution to that transformation, particularly in relation to the lives and horizons of working people in Britain. This talk will seek to understand Owen’s ideas and strategies in his time, evaluate his failures as well as his achievements, and identify ways in which his legacy has been both championed and contested.

Register for free at https://robert-owen-250-wales-coop.eventbrite.co.uk

The Modern Face of Co-ops in Wales – photography exhibition

Presented by the Wales Co-operative Centre in partnership with the Cynon Valley Museum, Robert Owen Museum, and Galeri Caernarfon to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the birth of Robert Owen, this online exhibition brings together the work of photographers whose images feature co-operative businesses building a stronger, fairer, more co-operative Wales. At a time when there is considerable interest in ‘building back better’ and taking a more co-operative approach to community regeneration and economic development, the photographs reflect a vibrant and dynamic movement which is currently present in Wales.

You can view the exhibition online at https://cynonvalleymuseum.wales/ or https://www.robertowenmuseum.co.uk/ or https://www.galericaernarfon.com/ from Tuesday 11 May 2021.

Blog series

From Monday 10 May, we will be publishing blogs about Owen and his impact in different areas. Visit our website https://wales.coop throughout the anniversary week to catch the whole series.

Co-operative Housing Network

On Thursday 20 May, our Communities Creating Homes team look back at Owen’s achievements as a housing pioneer and to the future with Chris Coates, co-housing pioneer and author of ‘Utopia Britannica’, plus two of Britain’s newest pioneer housing schemes, Chapeltown Cohousing and Student Co-op Homes. This online event is open to all.

Register for free at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/wales-community-led-housing-network-tickets-131022416575



The Relevance of Robert Owen on his 250th Anniversary – Co-ops and Mutuals Wales

Friday, 14 May 2021, 14.00 – 16.05

The focus will be on the relevance of Owen’s themes of mutuality, education, active citizenship and to ensure his influence is taken account of in publicly funded education.

A message and a full programme can be found at https://www.cooperatives-wales.coop/

Book at:


Robert Owen’s Legacy, Welsh Co-operative Movement History and Co-operative Learning: What lessons can we learn from around the world?

Saturday, 3rd July 2021, 09.30 – 11.35

A message and a full programme can be found at https://www.cooperatives-wales.coop/

Book at


If you’re organising Robert Owen events and would like us to promote them, just tag us in a tweet (@WalesCoopCentre) and we’ll be happy to share.