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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

Working Men’s Clubs and Education by Dr Ruth Cherrington

It’s for a good reason that I gave my book on working men’s clubs (WMCs) the title ‘Not just Beer and Bingo!’ They were always about much more than drinking and low level gambling. I will outline here the important educational aspects that WMCs started out with which were part of their ‘self help’ ethos. Another article will follow WMCs into the 20th century describing how, whilst educational aspects declined, they did not entirely disappear. 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

An Interview With A Development Worker: Shahid Khan

Shahid Khan is the founder and CEO of the Indus Earth Trust, a development project which is based in Pakistan.  In this interview he talks about his work helping people to build their own earthquake proof house, start their own business, and become an autonomous agent in the local economy.  Starting the informal interview out with questioning me, Alex Dunedin, about the Ragged University project, he then goes on to talking about his experience of trying to get people to adopt sustainable development techniques which take account of the cost to the environment. Read more

Development with Dignity; New Perspectives By Shahid Khan

So they built a proper tarmac road past a village whose only access was a dirt road of sorts. The village was a cohesive community, each person knew and cared for each other. They were a contented relatively happy people. The road bought outside influences that slowly destroyed the cohesiveness of the community. Shops and eating places opened up, some of the villagers benefited.

Competition removed the “community” togetherness. Neighbours stopped talking to each other. Jealousies’ thrived. Innocence was lost. The ‘capitalist’ over view that is part of ‘outside’ world came to a community that for generations were happy. They had achieved and preserved something that many seek but a few find. Seeing this outside prosperity, outsiders bought up land which removed ‘wealth’ from the less well off. They felt rejected. They had lived here for generations without feeling insecure. The road eventually bought less than more. Read more