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A mote of dust suspended in a moonbeam
“….A mote of dust suspended in a moonbeam…”              – Carl Sagan

Ragged University is one of many, many free education projects which exist around the world.  We live at an amazing point in human history where never before has more information been freely available to so many.

The information tools available to us are more powerful than could have been imagined even a hundred years ago. With this in mind, you can find on the map below some other education projects and perspectives on education in this period of living history. This is not a map of affiliated projects, but a social document of disparate existing and past education initiatives.

Click the red markers to locate the projects on the map. Click the More Details link to be taken to the individual project websites.


8th Learning Societies UnconferenceVillage Khubavali, P.O. Paud, Taluka Mulshi, Pune, Maharashtra 412108, IndiaAround 500 people gathered, mainly from across India, to participate in a self-organized 'unconference' using open-space group technology. Topics were education, farming, sustainable cities, self-healing, non-violent communication etc.
Adult Learning ProjectTollcross Community Centre, 117 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh EH3 9QGBased on the philosophy and practice of educationalist and activist Paolo Freire, ALP believes in learning as part of our daily lives: things of interest, things of personal use and things to help us make our communities better and stronger.
Always Learning Free SchoolSalt Lake Valley, Salt Lake City, UT, United StatesA decentralized community education network in which skills, information, and knowledge are shared without hierarchy or the institutional environment of formal schooling.
Anarchist Free UniversityToronto, ON, CanadaAnarchist experiments in education in the Toronto area reflect a history of brief spaces carved out from commercialism, of flowerings of liberation followed by the seeds of the next project to emerge.
Ann Arbor Free SkoolAnn Arbor, Michigan, USAComposed entirely of volunteers who team up with the community to provide free, accessible and inclusive classes, skillshares, workshops, discussion groups, and events that promote the mutually beneficial exchange of ideas, skills, and smiles
Ashland Free SkoolRogue Valley, Jackson County, OR, United StatesAn experiment in community, self-expression, and self-reliance, we remain firmly rooted in direct experience. We believe that true community power resides in the peoples’ unconstrained access to knowledge and education
Austin Free SkoolAustin, TX, United StatesA set of classes that one can attend without paying. Founded on the principle of informal collaboration. It is an educational exchange in which all people have an equal opportunity to learn and flourish, regardless of cultural or educational background
Baltimore Free School30 W North Ave, Baltimore, MD, United StatesA grassroots, collectively run and community-funded project. Building upon a long tradition of horizontal organizing, collaborative learning and participatory education
Bay Area Public School2141 Broadway, Oakland, CA, United StatesA free, learner-directed, community-supported school that provides space for collaborative learning centered on the formation of autonomous and interlocking communities of learning that engage in study, research, and creative inquiry
Biblioteca de FlorestaTv. Campo do Rio Branco, s/n, Rio Branco - AC, 69900-660, BrazilWe are People of the Forest. We are people, animals and trees living in the greatest biodiversity on the planet. Yet we seek to find out and discover the world that welcomes us and around us. This house is our light. Our spirit dwells and shines within it
Birmingham Radical Education54-57 Allison Street, Birmingham, United KingdomOur aim is to work together towards higher education experiences that are not consumerist, indebting, authoritarian or judging of individual worth
Borderlands CooperativePO Box 3079 Auburn Vic 3123 AUSTRALIAIndependent network for holistic community activism, sustainability and action research. A non-profit organisation involved in community, social and international development, ecological sustainability and social justice providing consultancy to service providers, government and community organisations
Brisbane Free UniversityBrisbane, Queensland, AustraliaWe believe that education should be a Commons. We open autonomous spaces in which the processes of teaching and learning belong to everybody. We re-imagine education by bringing conversation and critical thought into the heart of the city challenging the divide between the academic sphere and the public forum
Camas FreeskoolUnceded Lekwungen Territory, Victoria, BCA radical learning initiative that hosts free workshops, lectures, group activities, and skill-shares for the public. Come learn from fellow community members
Cardiff People's University97-99 Newport Road, Cardiff, United KingdomWe believe that education should be non-hierarchical, self managing run by the learners and those who facilitate learning), and free as in 'freedom' as well as cost
Colorado Free University7653 East 1st Place, Denver, CO 80230, United States life long learning center offering a wide array of skill-based and enrichment courses. More of a learning network than a traditional school, CFU draws its teachers from the community and all teachers are independent contractors
Common Action Free SchoolMiller Park Bloomington, Bloomington, IL, United StatesAn informal learning network that focuses on education and skill sharing among people of all ages. Boundaries between students, teachers, and organizers are consciously blurred in an open structure that encourages self-reliance, critical consciousness and community building
Coopérative des savoirs14 rue du Villars - BP 28-58140 LormesThe university is concieved as a "cooperative", that is to say, a way to unite, to connect the people to offer knowledge, and share knowledge through an extensive network of participants.
Corvid CollegeBoston, MA, United StatesThe style of practice is gradual cultivation, not headlong eager pursuit of credentials. This style is built on a modified conduit of learning: eyes > ears > heart-mind. The program embraces a rationality informed by the warmth of life, but not in a pragmatic sense.
Cream City Collectives732 E Clarke St, Milwaukee, WI, United StatesAn ideal place for workshops and discussions which has held classes on Spanish and French language and Jazz history as well as dozens of one-off workshops on topics ranging from DIY container gardens, to American Sign Language
Davis People's Free SchoolDavis, CA, United StatesThe school is decentralized; there is no main campus or office. Classes are held in public spaces, reserved community areas or private residences.
Diné College1 Circle Dr, Route 12 Tsaile, AZ 86556Our educational philosophy is grounded in Navajo cultural traditions. The philosophy provides principles both for protection from the imperfections in life and for the development of well-being
East Bay Free SkoolSan Francisco, CA, United StatesA vision of people sharing what they already know to break down barriers and sustain communities against repression, economic turns and reweave what has always been an essential part of our existence
Edinburgh Ragged UniversityEdinburgh, United KingdomInspired to do what the Ragged Schools did. Everyone is a Ragged University, a unique and distinct body of knowledge, accredited by their life experience, and with a membership of one
Edmonton Free SchoolEdmonton, AB, CanadaEdmonton Free School creates a time and a space in which to share knowledge, interests, and skills, for everyone and anyone.
El Proyecto Andino de Tecnologías CampesinasN° 866, 2do piso, Magdalena del Mar, Lima, PeruThe Andean Peasant Technologies Project (PRATEC) have been coordinating training programs in Andean culture and agriculture enabling the formation of technical staff capable of understanding the intimate relationship between biodiversity and culture.
Escola Comunicacao CriticaRua Teixeira Ribeiro, 535 - Bonsucesso, Rio de Janeiro - State of Rio de Janeiro 21044-251, BrazilAffirmative Advertising promotes sociability values, culture and community and environmental entrepreneurship. Young people from all over the Rio de Janeiro, learning, creating and exchanging expertise in Audiovisual and Digital Culture qualifications.
Escola Nacional Florestan FernandesSão José dos Campos - State of São Paulo, BrazilBorn out of a desire to think, plan, organize and develop political and ideological training for MST's (Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement) activists and leaders, as well as for the working class. A school that is a physical space beyond geographical limits
Escuela de la Gente: The School of the People8032 MacArthur Boulevard, Oakland, CA 94605, United StatesEducation for all peoples outside the Institution. The program includes Journalism, Radio, Blog, Writing, Poetry, Book, Publications, History of People, Women's History, Activism and more!
Eugene Free SchoolEugene, OR, United StatesDedicated to free and decentralized education without exclusivity, financial burden or authoritarianism. It exists as a network of individuals that come together to share ideas and learn from one another.
Fakultaet NullBerlin, GermanyWe appropriate existing contents and sources of information, claiming that education should be subject to free choice, instead of being regimented through modular study plans. All those who acquire knowledge within such a self-chosen mode automatically become students of Fakultæt Null.
Fort Collins Creator HubFort Collins, CO, United StatesThe Fort Collins Creator Hub is offering some regular free classes open to anyone, and will host classes if you have anything to teach
Free School DenverDenver, Colorado, United StatesWe are the community that teaches and shares our knowledge with others in the community. We believe in community and teaching for FREE!
Free Skool of Boone126 Iris Ln, Boone, NC 28607, United StatesThe classes are free. The curriculum is defined by the needs and desires of the community; people learn and teach what they want
Free Skool Olympia's Profile Photo Free Skool OlympiaOlympia, WA, United StatesA direct challenge to educational, economic, and social systems that oppress and divide our communities by providing vibrant alternatives to those systems and safe places for them to thrive so that we may begin to imagine and build a truly free world
Free Skool Santa CruzSanta Cruz Avenue, San Francisco, CA, USAA radically different approach to living and learning, a grassroots educational project beyond institutional control. It is an opportunity to learn from each other and share what we know, to foster communities of mutual support and autonomy
Free University of BrightonBrighton BN1, United KingdomCreating alternative education accessible to all, regardless of income Providing space to think critically about the world and how it could be otherwise
Free University of GainesvilleGainesville, FL, United StatesA series of classes taught for free, escaping the expense, agenda, and bureaucracy that often corrupts state funded educational institutions. You do not have to pay to learn, and you will not be paid to facilitate
Free University of San Francisco998 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110, United StatesLaunched with a series of lectures on has no grades, no official curriculum, no paid (much less tenured) teachers, no accreditation and no campus. Crucially, it also has no tuition
Freeskool AshevilleAsheville, NC, United StatesAn interactive, decentralized model for learning-without the limitations of hierarchy. It is an attempt to "de-school" ourselves and to learn from one another the skills necessary to transform society and better our lives
Freeskool Prescott220 Grove Ave, Prescott, AZ 86301, United StatesDedicated to empowering our community to share skills and knowledge freely, fostering awareness, self-reliance, and personal growth
FutureversityGround Floor, 24-26 Fournier Street, London E1 6QEWe provide free courses and activities for 11-25 year olds to help them develop the skills and self-belief they need to make the most of their lives
Gaia UniversityPO Box 3102, Boulder CO, 80307 USWe support projects & people to do ecosocial regeneration. By joining our un/learning community, you will receive support from your global cohort and from experienced advisors, mentors, and staff
Grandmothers' UniversityPattuvam, Kerala, IndiaCelebrating and validating the wisdom of our grandmothers, as well as transmitting this to future generations to arrest the rapid erosion of skills, knowledge and values which women had faced over millenia to live sustainably
Hacklab EdinburghSummerhall, 1 Summerhall Place, Edinburgh EH9 1PL, United KingdomEdinburgh Hacklab is part of the worldwide movement of Hackerspaces - shared spaces for people who mess around with technology for fun. Opportunities to collaborate, learn, and socialise.
Hamilton Freeskool130 York Boulevard, Hamilton, ON, CanadaWe all know things and have stories or skills to share, and freeskool works to provide an egalitarian, radically inclusive, anti-oppressive setting for that sharing to take place.
High Desert Free School60850 Brosterhous Road, Bend, OR, United StatesA decentralized network in which skills, information, and knowledge are shared without hierarchy and free of monetary restrictions. We share and pass on our knowledge while fostering and nourishing a community of mutual support and autonomy
Highlander Research and Education Center1959 Highlander Way, New Market, TN 37820, United StatesThrough popular education, participatory research, and cultural work, we help create spaces where people gain knowledge, hope and courage, expanding their ideas of what is possible
IF ProjectLondon, United Kingdomwe run free, university-level arts and humanities short courses that are taught by a network of volunteer academics using the free cultural resources of the city
Independent Working Class Education Network23 Coombe Road, Croydon CR0 1BD, United KingdomThe Independent Working Class Education Project aims to learn the lessons of history to inform current class struggle
Indigenous Knowledges in a Changing World ConferenceCharles Darwin University, Ellengowan Dr, Casuarina NT 0810, AustraliaTaking Indigenous knowledge practices seriously respectfully and productively requires careful negotiations. The 2013 symposium addressed ways which reflect the local and specific nature of Indigenous knowledges as well as the informal and collaborative ways Indigenous peoples live
Isla Vista Community Free SkoolSanta Barbara, CA, United StatesCommunity-based learning, inclusive of all, regardless of educational experience. An alternative, non-hierarchical, cooperative learning model which integrates practical skills and personal experience into education. Classes are FREE
Ithaca FreeskoolIthaca, NY, United StatesA platform for free classes, discussion groups, skill shares, projects, and events hosted in a non-intimidating, informal, radical, creative, and fun environment.
KW FreeSkoolKitchener, Waterloo Regional Municipality, ON, CanadaPeople learn in different ways, traditional classroom learning isn’t for everyone. We aim to create an inclusive, safe space where people can share their skills and learn from each other with an open mind
Leicester People's University50 Rutland St, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE1 1RDReclaiming higher education, moving away from the idea of a university as a business that delivers learning to students as customers
Local Futures Economics of Happiness ConferenceByron Bay Community Centre, Byron Bay, AustraliaAn ongoing series of international conferences where internationally-recognized leaders from the localization movement come together with local thinkers and activists for several days of plenary talks, panel discussions and workshops on the global-to-local theme
London School of Philosophy25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL, United KingdomThe London School of Philosophy was founded in 2010 by a group of seven friendly and experienced lecturers formerly employed by Birkbeck College, following the reduction of the Birkbeck Philosophy Certificate programme.
Longmont Free University505 Main St, Longmont, CO 80501, USAAn adult-eduction program that fosters and hosts self-directed learning. We offer a wide range of highly interactive courses that you can take entirely over the Internet
Lyon Zero University6 rue des Fossés de Trion, LyonThe idea of Lyon Zero is not to reform the traditional university model, but to offer a choice between this model and an university where learning can be built on sharing skills.
Lyttleton Whakaraupo Carving School30 Godley Quay, Lyttelton, 8082, New ZealandCain is a master Maori carver and opened up this carving school 3 years ago. It is the first on the South Island. He learned the South Island stories and designs by spending time in prisons. He now teaches all ages the techniques and stories of localized carving.
Maklab GlasgowCharing Cross Mansions, 30 St George's Road, Glasgow, G3 6UJAn innovative Scottish charity focused on providing resources for people from all backgrounds, of all ages and all abilities to use physical making as a tool for social empowerment, regeneration, economic growth and social capital
Manchester Ragged UniversityManchester, United KingdomInspired to do what the Ragged Schools did. Everyone is a Ragged University, a unique and distinct body of knowledge, accredited by their life experience, and with a membership of one
Melbourne Free University134 Lygon St, Brunswick East, VIC, 3057, AustraliaThe Melbourne Free University provides a platform for learning, discussion and debate which is open to everyone
Mendo Free Skool1003 W Clay St, Ukiah, CA 95482, United StatesA collaborative, volunteer project in community-generated learning, founded in 2012 by people committed to and passionate about community, self-reliance, and sanity.
Mercer Free SchoolMercer County, NJ, United StatesWe share our self-motivated learning experience without worrying about money. Activities include traditional classes/workshops, forums, club-like activities, and self-guided projects
Minor CompositionsWandsworth Road, London, United KingdomMain aim is to bring together, develop, and mutate forms of autonomist thought and practice, avant-garde aesthetics, and an everyday approach to politics.
Mondragon UniversityGoiru Kalea, 20500 Arrasate, Gipuzkoa, SpainThe University was created by the association of three educational cooperatives, with the guarantee of an extensive career and experience in the world of education
Mpambo Afrikan MultiversityKampala, Central Region, UgandaA village-based institution of higher education and research for the support of mother-tongue scholars of Afrikan Indigenous knowledge
MuteLondon, N1While Mute was born out of a culture that celebrated the democratising potential of new media, we critically engage with the ways in which new media reproduce and extend capitalist social relations
New Orleans Free SchoolNew Orleans, LA, United StatesQuality, no-cost, volunteer-run, community-based educational opportunities for people of all ages throughout the city of New Orleans
New University Co-operativeDesmarais Building, 55 Laurier Avenue East, 3rd floor Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 6N5, CanadaCo-operative education is the answer when you are working towards your future. Here is how it works. Study terms and paid work terms alternate. You end up with a degree and a year or more of practical work experience.
Observatorio MetropolitanoMadrid, SpainA space for communication between members, technicians, and stakeholders, and especially among small projects (or project embryos) of militant research already exist in cities and social movements.
Open School East43 De Beauvoir Rd, London N1 5SQ, United KingdomA unique space that brings together free study programme for emerging artists and a multifaceted programme of events and activities open to all.
People's Free University of SaskatchewanSaskatoon, SK, CanadaEmerged from a series of "bag lunch" public meetings organized at the University of Saskatchewan within the Educational Foundations department. The topic was how the wholesale adoption of the federal government's current innovation policy agenda for universities shapes priority setting and planning for the reallocation of resources on campus
People's Political Economy GroupOxford, UKA group of academics and activists based in Oxford and London. We are establishing a network of learning groups designed to promote political-economic literacy
People’s Arts Collective of New HavenNew Haven, CT, United StatesTo celebrate and create connections between persons and/or groups in our community, and to address a perceived lack of such connections.
Philly Free Skool2001 Christian Street, Phila, PA 19146, United StatesA democratic school operated by its students, staff, parents, and community members. Each individual in the school community, ages 4-19, has one vote in decision making
Popular University of Social MovementsSete de Setembro Street, 1020 – Alfândega Square, City Center, Porto Alegre, RSA space for meetings and exchanges among social movements from different parts of the world, UPMS is a means for linking diverse forms of knowledge, strengthening new forms of resistance and contributing towards the reinvention of social emancipation
Providence Free School280 Broadway, Providence, RI, United StatesA framework for grassroots, community self-education. We facilitate the sharing and expansion of skills and knowledge, and our emphasis is on empowerment and mutual support, rather than professional or institutional development
Provisional UniversityDublin, IrelandAn autonomous research project that emerges in response to the precarious conditions we find ourselves living and working in and a desire to transform them
Purple Thistle Centre975 Vernon Dr, Vancouver, BC V6A 3P2, CanadaAn alternative-to-school community institution for youth to start a new kind of place – not a school or youth centre or college or studio, but something else entirely.
Seattle Free SchoolSeattle, WA, United StatesFor the community by the community. All are welcome. No money ever exchanges hands. All we exchange are skills, knowledge and experiences.
SF Free School100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA, United StatesOffers free classes to anyone and everyone who wants to learn, have fun and meet new people. Classes on many subjects. All classes are free and donations are welcome
Social Science CentreLincoln, UKThe Social Science Centre offers opportunities to engage in a co-operative experience of higher education. Run as a not-for-profit co-operative
Sphere College ProjectP.O. Box 1024 Phoenixville, PA 19460An environment for each student to discover and pursue their passion and vocation for enrichment of the human experience. A project to create an institution of higher education for adults of all ages who are not a good fit for the traditional model of higher education
St. Petersburg Free SkoolSt. Petersburg, FL, United StatesEverybody has something to teach and something to learn. A free skool is a decentralized network in which skills, information, and knowledge are shared without hierarchy or the institutional environment of formal schooling
Summerhill SchoolLeiston, Suffolk IP16 4HY, United KingdomFounded in 1921 by A.S Neill, it continues to be an influential model for progressive, democratic education around the world
Swaraj University21 Fatehpura, Udaipur - 313 004 Rajasthan, IndiaSelf-designed learning on green entrepreneurship, including exploration of business skills in the context of ecological sustainability and social justice. No degree or certificate required to join, and we do not give any degrees.
Te Puia: Māori Arts and Crafts InstituteHemo Rd PO Box 334, Rotorua 3040, New ZealandFocused on the development of a diverse range of Māori treasures and progressing our cultural capital, with students connecting the past and future of our culture through Māori arts and crafts
Te Wānanga o Raukawa144 Tasman Rd Ōtaki Aotearoa, New Zealand 5512A special and unique place of learning, Te Wānanga o Raukawa is an opportunity for all to learn within a tikanga Māori community under the principles of the iwi development strategy.
The Adivasi AcademyMandaar, At and Post. Tejgadh, Taluka: Chhota Udepur, Tejgadh, Gujarat 391156, IndiaEstablished to create a unique educational environment for the study of tribal communities focusing on a multidisciplinary approach and related interventional measures to create a new approach of academic activism
The Experimental College of the Twin Cities1600 Grand Ave, St Paul, MN, United StatesA collective dedicated to supporting community initiated educational opportunities as a means for social change. Classes are spaces of learning where people share their talents in an inclusive, open, non-hierarchical, and non-coercive setting
The Free University of LiverpoolLiverpool, United KingdomTHIS IS A PROTEST! Higher Education is a right for all not a privilege for the few. It is on this basis the Free University of Liverpool is committed to FREE education for any student who wants to study with us.
The Public School951 Chung King Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90012, United StatesA school with no curriculum. It is not accredited, it does not give out degrees, and it has no affiliation with the public school system. It is a framework that supports autodidactic activities, operating under the assumption that everything is in everything.
The Really Open UniversityLeeds, United KingdomAn ongoing process of transformation by those with a desire to challenge the higher education system and its role in society
ThinkARKCardiff, United KingdomA group of volunteers who are always looking for new people to join in. We are a social club and a network for people interested in making our communities better through fun, engaging & collaborative projects
Trade SchoolBrooklyn, NY, United StatesWorks on the basis of learning through barter. There are Trade Schools around the world - especially in the USA and Europe (including the UK). None of the teaching is online. Trade School is an alternative, self-organized school that runs on barter
Universidad de la TierraOaxaca, MexicoWe are a community of learning, study, reflection and action. We understand learning as an aspect of daily life and study as an autonomous exercise of free people. The research we do applies to our reality as reflection exercises in action.
Universite Populaire de CaenLe Chateau, 14000 Caen, FranceGratuity is the basic principle: no age requirements, no titles or levels required, no markings or control knowledge, no examinations or diplomas.
University of Strategic OptimismLondon, UK A university based on the principle of free and open education, a return of politics to the public, and the politicisation of public space
West Marin FreeschoolMarin Street, San Francisco, CA, United StatesLifelong learning through a collaborative network of individuals sharing skills and knowledge. It is our aim within this community web to provide resources for living bountifully, joyfully, mindfully; and within our natural means and resources
Yirrkala Arts Centre and Mulka ProjectPO BOX 570 Nhulunbuy 0881 NT, AustraliaLocated in the Arnhem Aboriginal controlled-lands, the Project is a knowledges resource and media base for repatriated film, video and photography from the area. It trains Aboriginal people to record current ceremonies and cultural practices where footage is televised.


It is a matter of time until higher education and the valuing of autonomous learners comes about as a universal and free part of every person’s life.

Particularly with the rise of the internet, ‘knowledge as a commons’ is understood all over the world, and each ‘project’, group or individual is carefully “negotiating the terms under which they can thrive” [Susan Brown]. This is interesting to take note of how people are reacting to the needs they have in their lives.  Part of the Ragged project is to reflect and document something of the actual conditions under which people exist.

Creating Capabilities The Human Development Approach by Martha C Nussbaum

It is a matter of time until what is referred to as ‘higher education’ is realised as a part of inalienable human rights and responsibilities; a chance to participate in a primary opportunity without endentureship attached.

Equal accessing knowledge and the right to participate in determining what is meaningful.  We live in times similar to the Victorian era which saw the Ragged Schools grow up; such wealth mixed with such poverty.

Much of the data for the map is constituted of the work carefully collated by Gary Saunders at the Lincoln Social Science Centre with a few other additions and an interface which links out to the various websites.