Universities – there is another way

At this time of year, these ubiquitous clusters of yellow remind me not only to be optimistic that spring will come but also of the power of re-emergence

One of the joys of this project has been to find the work of other academics and practitioners who are working in the creative and alternative education space. I just discovered the research of Keri Facer, who has the fascinating title of Professor of Educational and Social Futures at Bristol University. In this post from her own blog, Educated Optimism, Facer writes about several alternative educational initiatives, ranging from Unitierra, an autonomous university in Oaxaca, Mexico, to the Red Crow College in Canada, that are showing how universities could be transformed. Although having grown up in East Germany I slightly disagree with her about the alternatives provided by the Soviet Union, the initiatives she writes about are important sources of inspiration. I would also add the Enlivened Learning project, where two former academics working in anthropology and international development, my home disciplines, spent a year traveling the world to learn about alternative higher education initiatives and places. I hope you enjoy reading these kindred posts as much as I do.

Educated Optimism

Growing up in the UK in the 80s under Thatcherism, an era of strikes, hostility, growing inequality and racism – not to mention stone washed denim and dodgy perms – the Soviet Union played an important role in the imagination. It was a land where things were different, it was a whole chunk of the world where society, economy, culture were organised in a completely different way.  It opened up an imaginative space, a little crack in the perception of the world that encouraged you to think that what you were living with wasn’t necessarily what you were stuck with.

We need that crack in the imagination today in relation to our universities. We need to know that there are other foundations upon which education can be built, and other forms that it might take. Such a crack exists and is growing.

A couple of years ago, the Ecoversities network…

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