In helping bring together the Ragged University I have been working with lots of people who are keen to make a success of this as an inclusive education project. In day to day life we meet and interact with many people and human relationships are always complex.
I mean complex in the sense that even the smallest moments of speaking, working or interacting with others, involve countless and immeasurable factors which feed into the exchange and outcomes. This I think is why other people enrich our lives so much, fascinate us, and consistently educate us.
A famous quote is that of Thomas Carlyle stating economics as the dismal science. Thomas Carlyle complained that society had become mechanical and lost much of its humanity because of the abstraction of ‘real things’ into monetary terms.
In fact, there appears much gloom around the fabled world of money and exchange, and as someone who is outside of this field of study I wrestle with just what it all means and what is the practical nature of economics (also known as political economy).
This is a fine case of where someone was truly engaged with what they did and got good at it because they were passionate. For the love of photography and the fascination of the world around her Vivian Maier became a great photographer producing thousands of images which further inspire and move other people. The Chicago nanny died in 2009 leaving behind the chance discovery of 100,000 negatives that no one had seen. Her work is being hailed as some of the best in 20th-century street photography.
An interesting book is Social Capital; Key Ideas by John Field (ISBN-10: 0415433037), Director of the Division of Academic Innovation and Continuing Education at the University of Stirling. Social Capital is a term which has been popularised by the American political scientist Robert D. Putnam, who defined it as:
features of social organisation, such as trust, norms and networks, that can improve the efficiency of society by facilitating coordinated actions
So, what’s the Ragged University all about then ? Well, sometime back, whilst sitting in the pub in Hackney with four friends, we realised that was we shared information to socialise; swapped stories, compared facts, related things as entertainment. What is the nature of knowledge ? First hand experience is a good place to start.
What is the Ragged University all about then ? Well, sometime back, I thought that the Ragged Schools movement was immensely successful and what positives came of it. People were valued who were not before, professions became unlocked to new talent, people invented answers to problems. Imagine if they all had access to a printing press in each house, cheap paper, pens, multiple free librarys, the internet…