Dear academic hive mind, please help me identify radical education projects in the UK

A few years ago I produced a list of all the radical education projects that sprang up in the wake of the government’s agenda for higher education ‘reform’. I didn’t really have a clear definition of ‘radical education projects’ beyond people “trying to explore different, freer and more autonomous ways of learning”. Looking back at the list now, I’m struck that I’ve forgotten what half of these projects actually were or how I came across them:

  1. Left Overs (podcast)
  2. The Social Science Centre
  3. The Really Open University
  4. The Really Free School
  5. The University for Strategic Optimism
  6. The Third University
  7. The University of Utopia
  8. Campaign for the Public University (podcast)
  9. The Free University of Liverpool
  10. Birmingham Social Centre and Free School
  11. WikiQuals
  12. Student as producer
  13. The University of Incidental Knowledge
  14. The University Project

It seems I saw a family resemblance between a lot of different projects I encountered in a very specific period of change within higher education. However a conversation with Nick Mahoney yesterday has left me wondering if my focus on responses to government policy was overly restrictive: it left me ignoring things that were more recent (the post-occupy education projects) and things that were much more long standing (the Workers Education Association). So I’d like to compile a new list of projects that represent different, freer and more autonomous ways of learning. Any suggestions? Here’s my attempt:

  1. The Social Science Centre
  2. The Ragged University
  3. The Workers Education Association
  4. WikiQuals
  5. New Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies

It’s interesting to look through the previous list and see how many of the projects lapsed within a few months and how many continued for a few years. I’d love to interview people involved in both, as well as those that are still ongoing, in order to understand how these developed over time and how they changed the people involved.


Categories: Higher Education

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