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Studying the Press: Alex Dunedin Answers Questions and Analyses Article From Journalist Kashmira Gander

A journalist recently got in touch with me to ask me about the work which has been happening through Ragged University.  Kashmira Gander had initially asked me to reflect on an article ‘The British university where a degree doesn’t mean a lifetime of debt Learning for love, not money‘ published in Huck Magazine which takes a particular focus on the great work going on at the Free University of Brighton. Read more

Ragged University as a model of education: Power differentials and problems of scale

This presentation was given to the Knowledge, Power and Identity research group at the University of Manchester Institute of Education, on the 29th February 2016.  The research group explores understandings that educational theories, practices and policies work to constitute categories of identity and subjectivity that reflect knowledge and power relations.

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The Birth of the Floating Classroom

So, as you might have been following over the years, through the Ragged Uni project I have been trying to find various ways of delivering free computer training in community situations where people have least access.  To see the photos of the floating classroom scroll to the bottom.  Meantime, I will try and provide some context as to how this has come together. My personal relationship with modern computers is one where I had to salvage computers from what other people discarded and learn to make them work with the minimum of money invested.  It is amazing what gets thrown out; not only does the computer industry build in redundancy to the products pushing people to buy a whole new bundle every three years, but also people throw things out because they think the technology has become redundant. Read more

Kintsugi: Learning To Love The Critical

It is hard sometimes to not get caught up on the politics of group think and remain honest and true to the reality that you experience. I certainly have found this in both developing the Ragged University project and being honest in my own personal setting. I have long struggled with the uncomfortable nature of being critical especially when I worry that I may be upsetting some constructive setting or community.

An example and metaphor is that situation where you are at a birthday party in someone’s house and one person in the setting is being particularly toxic but outside of anyone else’s earshot, what is the correct way to deal with this? Often the ‘British way’ is to suppress it, put on a stiff upper lip and continue smiling – ‘grin and bear it’ I believe the expression is. But this is classic head in the sand stuff, and this way lets all kind of problems florish. Read more

Why Is Everyone Not A Demographic ? by Alex Dunedin

Along the way in trying to get formal support for the Ragged University, I have encountered endless bureaucracies which, if taken onboard, distance you from the work at hand.  In the case of Ragged University, it is about building communities of learning networks where people share their knowledge and skills in social spaces.  As far as engaging with the bureaucracies goes, I have wound up analysing the processes instead of engaging as the culture itself seems to be a key factor in why so many social and community activities are dying out in our landscape. Read more

Where Information Goes In And Nothing Comes Out

Over the last five years I have been making a study of what is needed to create a community education project or network.  The Ragged University project is about promoting and propagating all communities rather than building a monolith; this is another part of it as a multi-valued project which is interested and inspired by people sharing their knowledge in social spaces.  A ‘recipe book’ is being created to distill helpful information and insights for all people out their who want to run their own ‘Ragged-University-type-project’. Read more

Ragged University Has No Funding: Anyway, It Is Not About Money

Recently I was met with disappointment when I had to inform someone that there was no money to pay for expenses so that they could talk at a Ragged University event.  I got the sense that they wanted a token, a symbol of worth, that they were appreciated such as some petrol money or the like.  It was uncomfortable.  The point I had to make was that Ragged University has no funding – there is no money to offer as every last penny, moment or resource (that I have) is set out to create the platform and social setting so that all individuals can share their knowledge in a warm community space.

One day I hope that there will be funding – once the labyrinthine outcomes and measurements culture is negotiated, and a humanised way to illustrate the reality of the project is acceptable to those who hold the purse strings.  Just now outcomes and measurements bureaucracies appear as a deadweight costs which starve the project of the elements needed to create the educational setting.  When funding is attained – without putting individuals under microscopes and without imposing on people’s fragile personal space or thought processes – the money will still be channelled solely to creating educational opportunity. Read more