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Knowledge, Opportunities and False Promises

In the 1800’s Samuel Smiles was well known as a Scottish author and government reformer. He is most famous for writing the book ‘Self-Help’, which arguably was the first in a genre which still holds prominence in the bookshops today. The idea that an individual who diligently concentrates on bettering themselves will be recognised and valued in a just society was very popular. Read more

The History of Adult Learning Project in Edinburgh: A Freirean Approach

The Adult Learning Project (ALP for short) was founded in 1979 in Gorgie Dalry in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was an initiative of the South West Edinburgh Area Team of the Community Education Service of Lothian Regional Council, led by Fraser Patrick. ALP was initially funded for three years by an urban aid grant from the Scottish Office. As a result of ALP’s success, funding via urban aid was extended for a further three years, and funding was later taken over by Lothian Regional Council, and later by the City of Edinburgh Council. Read more

Social Justice Issues and the Valuation of People as Knowledgeable

In this article I am going to try and identify certain social justice issues involved with valuing the individual outside of the formal education context.  I will be dealing with the premise of what a just society is, and suggesting that if a person has some knowledge which is prevented from being valued then they are being excluded from society. Their being is withheld from acknowledgement, and by virtue of that, their liberty is taken from them as they are prevented from engaging in and with a community of peers. Read more

Widening Participation: Power, Knowledge and Silence; A Digest

Critical theoretical frameworks are particularly helpful in developing a conceptual framework of widening participation which is capable of addressing the complexities, misrecognitions and exclusions that play out in educational fields such as colleges and universities.

Continuities in wider participation have included struggles over access for particular social and cultural groups, notions of meritocracy and liberalism, concerns with fairness and social justice and attention to patterns of social exclusion and mobility. Read more

Information Inequalities and Cultural Life: University of Manchester Policy Week Nov 2014

This piece of writing came about through being asked by Dr Drew Whitworth to present at University of Manchester Policy Week on Information Inequalities.   The Ragged University started as a project to foster existing communities and improve people’s lives by bringing people together around knowledge building. It occurred that there was a need to be met beyond the formal spaces, not as an alternative, but as a complement to them which belonged and was shaped by the community which participated in the knowledge sharing.

Rather than taking an organisational route which involved administrating interpersonal interactions, and forms of bureaucracy which had a formalising influence on the social activities, the Ragged project aimed to authentically reflect the needs of the community without the creation of an administrative superstructure. Read more