Emergent Learning – Tuesday 10th April 2018

This week, we’ll be recalling the year’s learning – housing & homelessness; the built environment & pro-sociality; Marxism, neo-liberalism, the growth economy, and other things besides: what have been the most pertinent, interesting, challenging things that have emerged out of this year’s work? what threads and patterns emerge? and what questions and problems have arisen?
Part two: to feed into the chapter we are writing about the SSC, we wanted to include a range of scholars’ voices about what the SSC is, and does. Why do you come to SSC? What does the SSC do that’s valuable or important to you?
If you’d like to prepare, we invite you to write a paragraph about why you joined SSC, and what you have got out of it so far.
Reading: return to notes and readings from this year –
Notes from session:
  • Six scholars present and one apology for not attending due to ill health.
  • Reviewed presentations/talks covered this year.
  • Discussed the relevance of these events to the topic of Housing and the Built Environment. David Hughes presentation ‘War and the media’ was quite removed from the above topic. However, it was stated that this talk at the beginning of the year did provide inspiration and confidence to one of the scholars present, who was embarking on his first year as an undergraduate student.
  • Links between individual events?
  • Individual experience/learning. Scholars talked of the enjoyment and freedom of the SSC space changing the way in which they learnt and taught.
  • One scholar expressed her unease at the non-hierarchical/structure less set up of the SSC.
  • The instrumental aim of the SSC was to create the space for all scholars to teach and learn. It was explained by one scholar how she had difficulty engaging with some events when the subject matter was something she was knowledgeable of. This feeling was mirrored by another scholar. There was a feeling that some presentations came to a bit of dead end and that there could be more concrete achievements to aim for.
  • It was mentioned that the SSC was originally a political project to provide an alternative to mass higher education.
  • Unlearning the neo-liberal norm/model of education.
  • It was stated that there had been a fear of money and lectures amongst some scholars at the SSC.
  • There was an agreement between several scholars of the need to preserve the space/idea at the SSC.
  • Engaging and learning on different levels and in different spaces. Varying and changing expectations of scholars.
  • Competing needs of fluidity and adaptability and the needs of some sort of structure and achievable goals.

Different contributions to the book chapter were read out.

Spider diagrams

  • Why we come/do not come
  • Who is the SSC / Who does not come?
    • Younger people – next generation of organisers
    • People of colour
    • Other languages

Other topics

  • Accessibility of reading and academic terminology. One scholar commented on the use of buzzwords such as neo-liberal, which fortunately, was explained in a recent talk at the SSC.
  • Gender inequality of speakers. Suggested that the male speakers had invited themselves.

Not discussed at the SSC

  • Dis/Ability, impairment (language of difference)
  • Sexuality
  • Physical and mental health

EarthCARE Global Justice Framework – Sarah Amsler

Notes from session – Tuesday 3rd April, 2018 7-9pm

EarthCARE Global Justice framework – https://blogs.ubc.ca/earthcare/

  • emerged out of an international R&D network of eco-social learning initiatives that seek to integrate ecological, cognitive, affective, relational, and economic approaches to justice.
  • intended to push the boundaries of prevailing approaches to global change beyond problematic patterns of simplistic analyses and engagements
  • aims to support the design of deep learning processes

practical doing (together),

building of trust (in one another),

deepening analyses (of self, systems, and social and ecological complexity),

dismantling walls (between peoples, knowledges, and cultures).

  • Moves beyond the search for universal models/problem-solving and towards preparing people to work together with and through the complexities, uncertainties, paradoxes, and complicities that characterize our efforts

 

Welcome Aim
Sarah is involved with Earthcare project and wanted to bring it here to talk about and see if it is relevant for us and how.
Who’s here & Why
quite a big mix – SSC members, university students & academics, family, educators.
People are specifically interested in alternative education, justice, and alternative ways of being. Others feeling “intellectually bereft” and thought it looked interesting.
Presentation
– context

Title= Gesturing towards deep learning for another world

        we need to sit with the messiness of trying to move forward, and not always getting it right.

This is an international network, many different people/projects hae all converged, and specifically through an interest in an alternative Higher Education – thinking about what it can look different/be understood differently.  

  • Film Enlivened learning  – project interviewing and learning from alternative HE projects. Contemporary/dominant form is unsustainable. Actually there is a lot happening (a “silent revolution”) of alternatives
  • movements/networks involved with decolonisation, care and indigenous knowledge in reimagining HE.

This session= What/how can learn from this and for Lincoln SSC?

For Sarah- these projects give hope and perspective about what’s going on in the world and they have been sites of her own transformative learning.

……………………………………………

EarthCARE

Based on/in environmental justice
-not just about information about the world but rethinking what, how and who we are in it- this is relational – This relational/value learning is not in the curriculum or seen as important.

Involves

  1. Practical doing things together
  2. Building relationships and trust -(value itself- not a means to get somewhere).
  3. Deepening analysis – (& live with the complexity/messiness of things
  4. Dismantling walls and separations: – includes body work

Why

To ignore these injustices we reproduce problems/status quo. “Solutions” often reproduce the same assumptions. Even if we don’t accept these things (i.e. capitalist/ethnocentric/individualist/positivist bias) we live within them and so we DO have to deal with this deep stuff.

I.e. Problems are not the uni itself but hierarchies and assumptions within them – these could all be present in “alternative” spaces.
need to think beyond critical/radical reform and to really “change the rules of the game” at the root level

5 types of justice  – interconnected in learning.

Earth is alive/dying/in crisis- we are all part of it.

Cognitive- brainwork-ways we think (not just what but how – monoculture of thought in west about the “rational” not about emotional, spiritual, embodied way of knowing – not seen as real knowledge and valuable knowledge)

Affective- how we are affected – not in cognitive way, also emotional how we learn to sit with failure, how to relate, to feel love, to feel radical love, love the other etc.

Relational- transactional? Do we have deep friendship? Deal with difference, trauma – through generation

Economics – and the violence of economic systems,

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

Crisis
Video from Shikshantar (in India)- critique of modern schooling -Manish Jain  
4 Cs- compulsion, Competition, consumerism, compartmentalisation –
This is taken really seriously in India -something that needs urgent action.


We “walk by them here” – crisis in UK schools reproduced in “teaching and learning toolkit” (“problems” are addressed through competitive/positivist/individualist/compartmentalist and capitalist framework). Sarah asks: If this is an urgent problem in other places, why are we funding it by the state? Wants to know where and how we can we reconnect with learning/relationships.

Discussion,

Discussion includes questions, comments and stories, and is open as full group.
What is the goal of education?
Facilitate deep reflection? A deep goal for the movement that can sustain beyond smaller concrete issues.

how to make a case of affective forms of knowledge?

– we need a new subjectivity.

How do you practicalise EarthCARE? –
Members concerned that people are so closed off, and so are institutions – so wondering about how this works in practice.
One member shares her experience – son started school seven (for 2 yrs, now homeschooled), he had the ability to see/question schooling and couldn’t deal with the compartmentalisation (i.e. between subjects and between learning and playing time). She wants to know what she can do now to develop create holistic and alternative education in her family (some discussion of Steiner, Montessori & Forest schools, but not ideal or accessible to all).

– Sarah gives example of programs with uni management in US organised around meditation and rethinking policy and separability – “it is in practice but it does involve translation and compromise .. you can’t start from nowhere”.

– As educators we can use this framework in designing a space. Use it to check whether the learning we facilitates allows all of these justices to speak. Thinking that SSC is a great space but doesn’t meet all of these.

– can look different for different contexts and priorities, and there is some question about the relation between these justices and how each are prioritised. The time, space, opportunity impact which are prioritised and this links to power and investment. Sarah shares challenges of different ideas were being practiced at the same time; discussion, action and ceremony/ritual were all understood as the “work” of fixing things – different people understand and value processes differently. – what is “the work?”

A SSC scholar shares an example of working with appreciative inquiry – and reflecting on consciousness to be “facilitator” over “liberator”. They had felt the language (of dream and destiny) couldn’t be used in the context as it could offend or alienate people. A minute to think and actively not jump in to response gave space to speak to other people to have conversations. Now they wished they’d used the words dream and destiny and collectively explored what they meant, the scholar considers whether the example illustrates their conforming and complying to norms and their (then) preference not to show emotion.

In existing institutions
Difficult to practice – roles and relations informed by institutional norms and employment/contract conditions.

Thinking about students’ role and agency in creating more holistic/democratic learning experiences.
Create spaces for dialogue

EarthCARE is pragmatic given the problems we are seeing.

       – our system not working & lack of interdisciplinary knowledge, mental health problems etc.

We need to think about what is the education that we want? We don’t often have that discussion. – What do we dream?

A lot of this is about messiness, at your home, in the institutions, open it up, uncomfortable,

It’s about unlearning, taking the risk/personal responsibility to unlearn – Painful and discomforting –
Forcing people to look into the mirror that they don’t want to look into

EarthCARE presentation– why does it look corporate? Fluidity is incompatible with these diagrams, frameworks etc.
– It is packaged– presented for potential funders, and to legitimise in order to put forward ideas that are radical.

– Reflected that this is the same for SSC website.

Small groups We broke into small groups to quickly talk about how we felt about EarthCARE.
(I spoke with Mahmood and Adiza about our own hopes and fears about the project and our contexts).
Next week Next week is same time on Tuesday and is about emergent learning.
SSC have been asked to contribute chapter to a book. Please send 100-200 words about why you come to SSC.

 

Creating curricula for new alternatives: the EarthCare project

Tuesday 3rd March, 7pm, Mint Lane

In this session I will share about ongoing work in a project called the ‘EarthCARE Global Justice Framework’ and invite reflection on the kinds of alternative world-making that it offers.

 

https://blogs.ubc.ca/earthcare/

The EarthCARE Global Justice framework emerged out of an international R&D network of eco-social learning initiatives that seek to integrate ecological, cognitive, affective, relational, and economic (EarthCARE) approaches to local and global justice. This framework is intended to push the boundaries of prevailing approaches to global change and related definitions of ‘global citizenship’, ‘development’, ‘success’, and ‘sustainability’ beyond problematic patters of simplistic analyses and engagements well documented in research (see ‘HEADS UP’ tool). The framework aims to support the design of deep learning processes that can enable CARE-ful learners to think, relate and work together differently to alleviate the effects and transform root causes of unprecedented global challenges.

The EarthCARE framework proposes a vision of deep transformational learning processes that combine practical doing (together), the building of trust (in one another), deepening analyses (of self, systems, and social and ecological complexity), and dismantling walls (between peoples, knowledges, and cultures). In this vision, intellectual engagements, the arts, ethics, cosmovisions, the environment, and embodied practices are all understood as important conduits for learning.

The EarthCARE global justice framework is unique as it combines six complementary approaches to justice that encourage ‘alternative approaches to engagement with alternatives’, moving beyond the search for universal models and problem-solving approaches towards preparing people to work together with and through the complexities, uncertainties, paradoxes, and complicities that characterize efforts to address unprecedented global challenges collaboratively today.

 

Spring term dates and readings

Tuesday 3rd March

Creating curricula for new alternatives: the EarthCare project

In this session I will share about ongoing work in a project called the ‘EarthCARE Global Justice Framework’ and invite reflection on the kinds of alternative world-making that it offers.

https://blogs.ubc.ca/earthcare/

“The EarthCARE Global Justice framework emerged out of an international R&D network of eco-social learning initiatives that seek to integrate ecological, cognitive, affective, relational, and economic (EarthCARE) approaches to local and global justice. This framework is intended to push the boundaries of prevailing approaches to global change and related definitions of ‘global citizenship’, ‘development’, ‘success’, and ‘sustainability’ beyond problematic patters of simplistic analyses and engagements well documented in research (see ‘HEADS UP’ tool). The framework aims to support the design of deep learning processes that can enable CARE-ful learners to think, relate and work together differently to alleviate the effects and transform root causes of unprecedented global challenges.

[…]

“The EarthCARE framework proposes a vision of deep transformational learning processes that combine practical doing (together), the building of trust (in one another), deepening analyses (of self, systems, and social and ecological complexity), and dismantling walls (between peoples, knowledges, and cultures). In this vision, intellectual engagements, the arts, ethics, cosmovisions, the environment, and embodied practices are all understood as important conduits for learning.”

[…]

“The EarthCARE global justice framework is unique as it combines six complementary approaches to justice that encourage ‘alternative approaches to engagement with alternatives’, moving beyond the search for universal models and problem-solving approaches towards preparing people to work together with and through the complexities, uncertainties, paradoxes, and complicities that characterize efforts to address unprecedented global challenges collaboratively today.”

Tuesday 10th April

Emergent Learning

Tuesday 24th April

The Greatest Threat to the Internal Security of the USA: The Black Panther Free Breakfast for Children Program with Sunny Dhillon

This paper seeks to explore the legacy of The Black Panther Party amidst the contemporary, neo-liberal context in which we find ourselves, here in the UK. In particular, the paper will focus on the Panthers’ Free Breakfast for Children Program, and the response in 1969 by the then former FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover, responding to it as ‘the greatest threat to the internal security of the USA’. The reasons for this response will be examined through a critical theorist lens; namely, Herbert Marcuse. The legacy of this program will be explored, before a group work task to attempt a synthesis with what the Panthers accomplished, and the challenges facing those disenfranchised here in Lincolnshire. It is hoped that the paper rekindles interest in the Panthers, and how they serve as an example of the power of community organisation and activism in the face of state and corporate injustice.

Reading: https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/workers/black-panthers/index.htm

This link to to a brief overview of the Panthers on the open access Marxists.org., as well as their Ten-Point Program: https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/workers/black-panthers/1966/10/15.htm.

Free, co-operative higher education

What does it mean to be a co-operative? A look at the inspiration, vision and cooperative structures of the Social Science Centre, with Lucy, Laura, Sarah, Bradley and Joss.
Suggested reading:

Recent events at SSC

Tuesday 30th January

Money, Wealth and a Society of Abundance with Mike Neary

In this talk, based on Karl Marx’s theory of Capital, Mike Neary explored the social life of money and how it has come to establish itself as the predominant social force. A part of this exploration is to reveal its real nature: as capitalist money, through an account of the significance of labour for capitalist society. Mike suggested another from of society where money and labour are not dominant, grounded in the satisfaction of needs and capacities: a society of abundance.

Reading:
http://www.grundrisse.net/english-articles/Read_Capital_The_First_Sentence.htm

 

Tuesday 13th February

What is neoliberalism, and why does it matter? with Bradley Allsop

Neoliberalism- we’ve all heard it used, often with contempt, but what does it actually mean? How is it different to that other often-used, rarely-understood word: liberalism? And why does it matter, anyway?

We talked about the neoliberal project, how, from the 70’s onwards, it has radically changed society, economics and politics, with its full-frontal assault on the ideas of collectivism, social solidarity and state provision, what this means for our own lived experiences and what we can do about it. Issues raised included mental health, schools and education, and democracy.

The Landlord’s Game & Prosperity

28th November, 7pm at Mint Lane

Next session will be a practical look at land value tax, via The Landlord’s Game & Prosperity, games designed by the feisty and fascinating Elizabeth Magie.

Take a listen to this super-short reading – Kate Raworth giving a brief history of monopoly – read or listen here: https://aeon.co/ideas/monopoly-was-invented-to-demonstrate-the-evils-of-capitalism

Intrigued? More recommended reading:

Kate Raworth – Doughnut Economics (currently available from Lincoln Central Library, who helpfully bought this book for us!) http://www.kateraworth.com/doughnut/

You’ll find a variety of boards and rules for early versions here: http://landlordsgame.info/

Social housing & homelessness in Lincoln

Social Housing and Homelessness in Lincoln (Lucy)

Discussion Notes: 14 November 2017 at Mint Lane, Lincoln

Reading: chapter 1 of Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paolo Friere

Click to access 1335344125freire_pedagogy_of_the_oppresed.pdf

Scholars present: Lucy, Phil, Mike, Louise, Eddie, Laura, Meredith, Sarah, Fen

Lucy offered to guide a facilitated discussion on Homelessness in relation to Chapter 1 of Paulo Friere’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1972), and with honesty, explained that when working as a Homelessness Support Worker was often frustrated that the role made her feel part of the problem rather than the solution. Unfortunately, this was because when trying to assist the homeless she also felt like an oppressor through ensuring they ‘complied’ with the defined (and punitive) supported housing rules, thus clearly identifying with Friere’s proposition of false charity. This unlocked a much
wider and diverse dialogue. Some of the key points and perspectives freely presented by scholars are summarised below:

Are we all part of the system anyway?

 We can only be engaged with the reality that we are in… we can work and live within/without the system… we have choice, we are privileged to choose – we acknowledge that others do not have choice
 There is always the possibility of hope… our frustration should not stop our perseverance to change the system
 How we are educated (inculcated) via the system reinforces the system. Ditto being ‘treated’ by the NHS
 There is alternative education – Freire’s purpose in educating peasants (Mike kindly gave useful insight in to Freire’s background and his lifelong determination to educate the oppressed, and ultimately the oppressors).
 The current system constrains our abilities to offer help: employees “up against the wall”, “gagged by funders”
 Oppression of workers in UK – are trade unions part of the problem? Are they bullies?
 Elsewhere (non-UK) appears to have better cooperation between trade unions and employers
 UK is poor relation – lack of labour, skills, worker’s right, zero hours contracts adds to causation of homelessness
 Important to recognise the principle of trade unions – what brings them together = collective purpose
 Identification of Squatting/Travelling movement as real self-organisation/help – creative pooling of resources
 What is the definition of ‘Homelessness’? Does it have meaning? – defined by government (system)
 Homeless/homelessness demonised; abetted by media perception: serves the system’s purpose?
 Statistics report significant rise in homelessness – Universal Credit (UC) will make it worse
 UC is a deliberately designed sanction to create forced employment – made to work therefore conform
 Leads back to Freire’s perspective of Dehumanisation – work is part of the system = prostitution
 Work equals humiliation, and is further entrenched and measured through work based appraisals
 Creating temporary autonomous zones (i.e. alternative free festivals) offers fresh perspectives for the oppressed
 Exilic Communities – mutual aid/liberation. See ‘Living on the Edges of Capitalism’ (Grubacic & O’Hearn, 2016)
 See ‘Riot. Strike. Riot. The New Era of Uprisings’ (Clover, 2016). Undoing professionalism: hierarchical arrogance
 Solution: our refusal to work – value comes from human labour – system requires surplus value to survive
 Growth is essential for the system. When growth can not be met, it begins to asset strip, moves production out
 Counteract by right to strike – withdrawal of labour; system would react by enforcing war to recreate status quo
 We need to make a leap of faith. Consider occupation and cooperation to find alternative solutions
 Work with the system to influence new housing projects which do not put property in landlord ownership
 Better tenancy rights. More social housing. There should not be limitations who can access housing
 Housing not allocated through the lens of the deserving and undeserving. ‘Ownership’ should be communal
 Can we occupy the commons? There are alternative ways of living/being. Home ownership creates divisions
 Follow Freire’s proposition – strive to make a difference through educating and learning – seek objectivity
 Who is really homeless? Should we give money to the homeless/beggars? Opinions divided

 

Notes by Fen

Public Lecture by Prof. Linden West

Tuesday 5th December, 7pm Involve Centre, Mint Lane

Distress in a city: racism, fundamentalism and a psychosocial imagination

Professor Linden West, Canterbury Christ Church University

The lecture draws on my recent book to explore the diverse problems of a post-industrial city – Stoke, where I was born – taken as representative of many similar communities across the Western world (West, 2016). Using auto/biographical narrative research, I have chronicled the diverse stories people tell, in different ethnic communities, including the stories of those attracted to racist organisations and religious fundamentalism, and even to Jihad. There is also widespread resentment among the white working class at the failures and judgementalism of political, economic and cultural elites, which found expression in support for the BNP, EDL, UKIP, and the vote for Brexit.

The rise of racism in white working class communities, and of Islamophobia, is mirrored by pockets of Islamic fundamentalism in predominantly Muslim communities. Processes of social, cultural and intergenerational fragmentation, and the crisis of multiculturalism, connect with rapid economic decline, a malfunctioning representative democracy, an epidemic of mental illness and the decline of public space, all located within a more individualised, social Darwinist culture. To understand these dynamics requires, I suggest, an interdisciplinary psychosocial imagination, reaching back to the Chicago School of Sociology and forward to a more holistic appreciation of the importance of recognition in human well-being, encompassing intimate, psychological and socio-cultural worlds, and drawing on the insights of psychoanalysis and critical theory.
I will also refer to historical as well as contemporary research (West, 2017) to illuminate where resources of hope lie, which includes the past and potential role of universities in building a more democratised, inclusive and cooperative learning culture.

Readings
West L (2016) Distress in the city: racism, fundamentalism and democratic education.
London: Trentham
West, L. (2017) Resisting the enormous condescension of posterity: Richard Henry Tawney, Raymond Williams and the long struggle for a democratic education. International Journal of Lifelong Education. Special issue, The Learning Adult. 36, 1 &2, 129-144.

Other references
Honneth, A. (2009) Pathologies of reason: on the legacy of critical theory. New York: Columbia University Press.
Rose, J. (2010) The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes. 2nd Edn. New York: Yale University Press.

Professor Linden West works at Canterbury Christ Church University, and is a Visiting Professor at the University of Milano-Bicocca. He is the author of many books and articles, derived from auto/biographical narrative enquiry, and using an interdisciplinary psychosocial theoretical framing. The books include Distress in the city: racism, fundamentalism and a democratic education; Doctors on the edge: healing and learning in the inner city; and Beyond Fragments, adults, motivation and higher education, a biographical analysis. He co-authored Using biographical methods in social research with Barbara Merrill and co-edited Psychoanalysis and Education, Minding a Gap, with Alan Bainbridge. He jointly co-ordinates a European Life History and Biography Research Network and is a registered psychoanalytical psychotherapist.

Reading: Community Perception

OBrien-Wilson-2011-Community-Perception-The-ability-to-assess-the-safety-of-unfamiliar-neighborhoods-and-respond-adaptively

Here’s the reading for our next session in our new course on Housing & the Built Environment: Building Pro-sociality, with David McAleavey and Karolina Szynalska. 7pm at Mint Lane.