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London: Palatine Bar

The Palatine Bar in Shacklewell London is a new and developing venue with a focus on great music and quality real ales brought in from micro brewerys Brodie’s of Leyton and Ha’penny of Ilford. An arts bar with a relaxed atmosphere it is becoming increasingly popular with the locals of Shacklewell, especially creative types with paintings by local artists adorning the walls of the bar.  Read more

Community Open Online Courses: Create Your Own MOOC

My thoughts on Community Open Online Courses is that it is a vitally needed platform and resource for the enablement of knowledge sharing as well as personal and group development. Increasingly the production of knowledge is being coopted by market values which is resulting in the narrowing of who gets to make meaning, and who gets valued in our culture for having created public content.

COOCs facilitates a more open landscape of learning through teaching, and enables anyone to (a) use the same technology as many universities to share their knowledge (b) learn through teaching – a dialogue approach to knowledge building (c) engage with a community of peers. Not only this, but it provides the facility to bootstrap community organisations and small businesses to structure essential learning programmes which they feel are important for those who become a part of their project or enterprise. 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

Podcast: Peter Shukie Shares His Philosophy of Community Open Online Courses

This is a podcast of Peter Shukie sharing his philosophy of what lies behind the Community Open Online Courses vision. Community Open Online Courses is a vision which takes the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) and flips the model making the community the creator of the content.  This innovation in education and learning is important in that it values the inherent knowledge of individuals wherever they are situated.

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City of Edinburgh Council: Allocate Space in Harrison Park For a Community Garden

Gardening and food-growing knowledge builds confidence in people. That confidence can lead to all sorts of exciting things; children who learn how to garden are then able to teach their friends, or their siblings and parents. There is a distinct lack of land in Edinburgh for growing produce, and most allotment waiting lists are on average 5 years .

We are doing something on a much smaller level, but encourage anyone and everyone to get involved, and hopefully inspire people to grow their own food as well.

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Local Economies and Neighbourhood Renewal

The Ragged project is a developing a holistic social model that aims to help underpin local economies and foster economic regeneration in its activities. Economics is a fundamental part of everyone’s life, and is therefore an important consideration when developing such community enterprises.

To help inform the discussion the Ecoregen document produced by The Audit Commission was consulted. A series of indicators for economic regeneration of an area were laid out by the Audit Commission to facilitate the efficient and effective spending of public money.  Kevin Ambrose was the key author of the Ecoregen document which was published in November 2005 from which this digest has been extrapolated to highlight elements.

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A Crash Course in Social Capital

So, what is social capital? Jeremy Shearmur describes social capital as loosely as situations where people choose to voluntarily associate with each other and where membership in that group serves as a free resource to those members. Why is it important ? I feel that social capital is important because it helps to express aspects of community and belonging. I suppose that it is because we are social creatures and I suggest we are social creatures because of the greater benefits of being part of a community than of being solitary.

Social capital is a phrase being explored and studied across the world. Vivid importance has been attached to there being social capital in culture and it has been suggested that it is vital for stable growth economies, happy communities, healthy communities, efficient administrations, and effective learning environments. Read more

It's Who You Know

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

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