This is a page for everyone who's been to one of the events and who is happy to be affiliated with the network/coalition/loose alliance. Please drop in some words and some links here to what you are doing - ideally enough so that other people can connect with you and so that people can recommend you to speak at events or offer workshops in your areas.

Lucy Johnson
I am a freelance trainer and independent support broker-I work mainly with people with learning difficulties at present. I taught Media Studies in an inner city school in London for ten years. I studied for an MA in Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths and wrote my dissertation about technology, democracy and education, I am also a film and video maker and a blogger. I would like to talk about how we can engage mainstream education with these issues as I am seriously contemplating going back into a school to lead a Media Department. I am also very interested in training teachers in Social Media, at present attitudes to this technology mainly concern safety in schools-how might this discourse be developed? I should add that I did a lot of work at the school where I worked to do with sustainability working in close conjunction with Rhiannon Scutt who was appointed Head of Sustainability-a post that she pushed SMT to create. I created a social network for the school eco committee using the Ning platform and blogged about the school's sustainability journey. It is unlikely that this work will be sustained at the school due to a change in Executive Director and the new appointee's unfortunate attitudes to the work that the staff had carried out under her predecessor. I am given to understand that this attitude and approach is 'normal' in terms of managing a school and taking up a new role but it seems tragic to me.

Parmjit Sagoo

I am freelance drama practitioner, artist educator, Creative Advisor and consultant. I have worked within the creative and education sectors for over 10 years, collaborating closely with primary and secondary schools, universities, theatres, galleries, museums and community organisations.

My work aims to set up ‘creative spaces’ where individuals and communities can unlock their imaginations, explore possibilities, be playful, be curious, be reflective, and gently push themselves beyond their own boundaries. Within these spaces, Big Questions about the world we live in are posed and explored. These questions encourage philosophical, spiritual, environmental and scientific enquiry and dialogues.

I have been an artist in residence at Dunkirk Primary for over 8 years and my work has focussed upon creating learning experiences that nurture and develop the qualities we need within us to become positive agents of change within our world. The work aims to create rich dialogues, asking Big Questions which inspire children and teachers to be curious about the world, to discuss, debate, imagine possibilities and investigate the issues that matter to them. Many communities and individuals, including young people, often feel disempowered, believing that that are 'unheard' and that their actions will not make a difference. Our work at Dunkirk Primary aims to empower young people in particular, encouraging them to become active citizens, take risks and believe that they can make a positive difference to their local and global communities.

This work involves looking at difficult issues and going beyond the superficial and token gestures. It can often expose the differences that exist between us and highlight how our beliefs and perspectives are incredibly diverse as well as connected. I am interested in how we can go 'into the shadows' and collectively explore some of the difficult global issues that affect our communities. How can we sensitively explore these issues with young people and still inspire them with hope of creating a better future? How can we explore the difficult Big Questions within a safe and creative 'space'?

Asima Qureshi

I have been teaching for 20 years and was Deputy Head at Dunkirk Primary School for 13 years until January 2011. Since resigning this post I have been working as a Consultant/Project Manager for the school two days a week. My main passion throughout my career has been to promote equality of opportunity and to develop a curriculum that is relevant to all pupils, which inspires and motivates them in innovative and risk taking ways. I have been responsible for establishing and maintaining international links with schools overseas. Our school's long standing link with Pakistan has seen 8 members of staff visit the country and come back with positive perceptions and inspiration to engage all pupils at Dunkirk. Another passion has been working alongside creative practitioners to find ways of nurturing and developing the skills and qualities all members of the school community need to become active and responsible global citizens who are agents of change. Dunkirk is a School of Creativity and this has enabled us to examine this in depth over the last 10 years. Asking Big Questions to provoke discussion and develop unique lines of enquiry across all areas of the curriculum is something we are working on currently at Dunkirk and are sharing this with our link school in Pakistan. Being a British Muslim with Pakistani origin has presented me a challenging outlook on society! So many 'issues' that were around when I was growing up seem to be re-emerging all around again...the rhetoric of community cohesion ignores the reality that many communities face on a daily basis. .....the education system and educators have a huge sense of responsibility to both raise awareness as well as change attitudes.

James Sevitt
I am a community organiser, educator, campaigner and writer with over 10 years experience in the UK, Canada, France, Israel/Palestine, and the US.
I have been active with Occupy London since its inception at St. Paul’s Cathedral on 15 October 2012. I am one of the co-creators and facilitators there of Tent City University (TCU), a space in which an incredible range of people have delivered over 200 workshops on a range of topics related to social, economic and political equality - a space for collective thinking and wisdom to broaden public discourse and discuss alternatives to the current system we live within. We have also organized several ‘teach-outs’ (e.g. outside the Bank of England, at Canary Wharf, at Bloomsbury, at post-eviction St. Paul’s), which bring together unlikely combinations of people to discuss pressing and timely issues in relevant and unexpected places. You can see more videos here.
We have had some great press coverage of TCU and Occupy educational initiatives:

Over the past few years, I have increasingly focused on developing and delivering educational resources (videos, curricula, workshops) – driven by participant involvement and input - that challenge multiple audiences to think critically about timely and controversial issues and take action for social change. One example is a short documentary and educational resource called ‘Solidarity Comlex’, which I co-directed and produced, which examines the forms of public protest that emerged in Britain in response to the Gaza crisis of 2009, and challenges the audience to think anew about how to create more effective and focused public action.

Currently, I am working on two trans-media projects: one is about the social protests that took place in Israel last summer, which is mainly drawing on five weeks of video footage that I took with an Israeli filmmaker; the second, in its formative stages, is provisionally titled ‘Making Sense of 2011 and 2012’, which seeks to ‘make sense’ of the unprecedented grass roots mobilization and democratic awakening of 2011 and what continues to unfold by bringing together video footage, stills, audio and commentary from sites of struggle and resistance across the world (ie. Spain, Greece, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Chile, the US, UK and elsewhere).

Richard King
I work in the Oxfam Youth and Schools team currently as School Engagement Officer but soon to be managing the development of a School Engagement Package. This stems from some thinking I was able to do for the organisation about the new schools environment around Dec-Jan time. Oxfam has a 40 year history of promoting global citizenship education through resource support and CPD, but thanks to this work we are now moving towards supporting schools to embrace new opportunities to redefine what the meaning of education is, to incorporate a more holistic and open view of its purpose. This should inspire school to create spaces to engage young people in facing future challenges through their curriculum, ethos and values engagement with young people. Key to this for us is incorporating a global aspect to this work.

We have started to engage with other organisations to explore ways to do this effectively, including the Coop, RSA, Social Spaces and working with Keri on ideas about local curriculum co-design, potentially in Bristol. Over the next 6 months we intend to develop and define what we want to offer schools. I am interested in how the many threads of what so many organisations are doing can be woven together into an effective and accessible way for more schools.
Philip Woods
I am Professor of Educational Policy, Democracy and Leadership at the University of Hertfordshire, UK, as well as Vice-Chair of the British Educational Leadership Management and Administration Society (BELMAS) and an Expert Adviser to the European Policy Network on School Leadership, funded by the European Union. My experience includes research and evaluations undertaken for a range of organisations, such as the UK government, National College for Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services (formerly NCSL), Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, Learning and Teaching Scotland, Economic and Social Research Council and the British Academy. My latest book - Transforming Education Policy: Shaping a democratic future - was published by Policy Press in 2011. The book is about transforming education in ways that make it more democratic and meaningful. It argues that there are compelling trends towards more democratic forms of organisation generally and, based on the concept of holistic democracy, examines signs and signals of progressive change.
I have designed with Glenys Woods a research-based degrees of democracy framework which is discussed in the book and is designed as a supportive instrument for use by organisational members and stakeholders, as well as anyone doing research. It is being continually developed and used in a variety of ways in the UK, US and elsewhere - for example in research and with professionals as a tool to reflect on their professional and organisational context. Data and feedback on the ‘degrees of democracy’ framework are being collected.

Dave Hicks
Am Visiting Professor, School of Education, Bath Spa University, where I helped develop and taught on the undergraduate Education Studies degree. Now a free-lance educator with a particular interest in the global dimension, a futures perspective, and education for sustainability in schools and initial teacher education. My teaching, writing and research over the last twenty years have focused on ways of helping students and teachers think more critically and creatively about the future. See ~ Teaching for a Better World My paper 'The long transition: educating for optimism and hope in troubled times' encapsulates many of my current concerns. I guess my question is 'What can a group like this do that is not already going on in education?'

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Helen Manchester
I am an educator and educational researcher who has always been motivated by concerns of social justice. I am currently working at Manchester Met on a variety of research projects, exploring learning throghout the life course and the use of digital technologies in learning. I also work closely with Radio Regen a community media charity that enables people from disadvantaged communities across the UK to make and broadcast media.

Recently completed projects include two research projects funded by Creative Partnerships; Creativity, School ethos and the Creative Partnerships Programme and Youth Voice in Creative Partnerships. These projects helped me to see more clearly how the school a child attends can affect their experience of the world and their oreintation to the future. In other words that there are things that educators can do, working in partnership with their students (whatever age and stage of learning they are currently working in), to affect how the future pans out at both a local and a global level. I guess that's why I'm interested in being involved with this association - to work with like minded people who have similar aims.

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Keri Facer

For the last decade I've been working on the question: how do we think about the future of education and how do we ensure that that future is equitable, democratic and sustainable. One large chunk of this work was carried out as Research Director at Futurelab, an independent R&D lab that brought together educators, tecchies, creative artists, practitioners, to try to design new curricula, tools and institutions that framed education in a very different way from the current mainstream education design. Then, more recently I've been working as Prof of Education at Manchester Met and (from March 2012) at Bristol Uni. In the meantime, I ran the UK government Beyond Current Horizons project, pulling together the evidence from social science, computing, and wider environmental analyses about the futures that education needs to confront - including the challenging ones. I was very influenced by the Global Scenario Group's 'Great Transition' scenarios and more recently, have been influenced by groups like Dark Mountain, Occupy, Transition and also by the 150 year old Co-operative movement. Some of this work fed into the book Learning Futures, I published last year. Now, I work with students, schools, universities, and policy organisations to explore the range of possible futures that the 21st century might bring, and to develop strategies for educational change in response to them. The talk at this link showcases pretty much where my thinking is at the moment.

I wanted to start the Education for the Crisis network because there are so many people out there working independently to address these challenges, in universities, schools, in communities and in activist movements and social enterprises, and it struck me that we might have strength in numbers, and in our diverse skills, if we are able to use them wisely together. I'm hoping we can combine our skills and insight from research and practice, from technology and environmental change, from reflection and activism, to create the large scale sea change that is needed.

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Louise Thomas

I am Senior Researcher in Education at the RSA, and lead on the Area Based Curriculum, which looks at ways to involve local stakeholders with curriculum design in schools. Through this work I'm interested in the participation of local communities in education and schooling, how schools can be made more responsive and better tethered to their localities, how local governance and accountability can be strengthened in an era of fragmentation, and how parents and education professionals might better relate to young people and to one another, in the interests of forging more resilient communities. I believe that in the face of a crisis, schools could be positive, generative, connected institutions for whole communities. Government policy is currently moving away from this.

In a previous life I was involved in refugee, asylum and statelessness issues, and so have a particular concern over how environmental and resource shocks will impact on migration patterns; and how well our society is equipped attitudinally and politically to deal with these. I'd like to find ways to link these two ideas, perhaps looking at an asset based model of immigration and its impact on education. Ideas, anyone? Groups working with migration and education together, beyond a 'tolerance and diversity' frame?

Doug Belshaw
I'm a Researcher/Analyst at JISC infoNet currently working on projects around Open Educational Resources, mobile learning, and digital literacies. Outside of this I'm co-kickstarter of Purpos/ed, a Co-operative CIC aiming at provoking and sustaining public debate around the question, What's the purpose of education?

My main interest is at the interface of digital literacies and open education. I've just finished (and successfully defended) my doctoral thesis, having published it online as I wrote it. As a former school teacher and senior leader, I'm interested in how academic research makes its way into educational practice.

In the past couple of years I've been drawn into the orbit of progressive, left-leaning educators and I've realised just how much our planning for the future is based upon the status quo. I supposed what I want to achieve through Purpos/ed and work around Education for the Crisis is to upset the apple cart a bit and get people to think through the long-term impact of their actions.

David Jennings
I’ve been working as a self-employed consultant and writer for nearly 20 years, mostly on projects that mix up technology, people, culture and, especially, learning. The professional disciplines I apply in this work are occupational psychology, human-computer interaction and learning technology (more about me).

Recently I’ve been interested in how people find things out when they have to ‘make do’ i.e. how to learn without the support and structure provided by learning institutions. I wrote a book about how people discover music online -- a field where there's no formal tuition or structure -- drawing on user-generated media, social networks, and recommender systems.

My hunch is that, as we get better at learning by making do, many of us will come to prefer this approach -- and it will become more effective than traditional schooling methods, if it isn’t already. The skill is in marshalling the abundance of resources for learning and tools for organising that we now have within easy reach (as long as the servers stay on).

I call this approach agile learning: self-managed but not tuition-free, social by affiliation and aggregation rather than collective enforcement, open and flexible so that learners can quickly and easily improvise new directions.

Along with being more agile, I think this approach is also more resilient in the face of potential crisis scenarios, when making do will be the order of the day. I’d like to test that claim through this association.

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Richard Hall
I work at De Montfort University in Leicester, UK, where I am the Head of Enhancing Learning through Technology (ELT). I am also a Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellow and a Reader in Education and Technology. I am a Research Associate in the Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility at DMU.

Since 2010 I have been involved in a range of oppositional or more radical education projects. I am an original member of the Social Science Centre in Lincoln, an unincorporated co-operative of scholars developing a new form of higher education based upon the social sciences. I have been involved in sessions at the Really Free School and Tent City University in London, and was at the inaugural discusson about the London Free University. I am also involved in Leicester’s Third University and its development of an unemployability curriculum.

My research interests include:
  • the idea of the University and radical alternatives to it;
  • technology and critical social theory;
  • resilient education and the place of co-operative practice in overcoming disruption in higher education, including peak oil and the impact of technology on climate change and energy sufficiency;
  • the place of social media in the idea of the twenty-first century University, including issues of production, agency and participation.

I'm not sure I know what any of this means.

Mike Neary

I am the Dean of Teaching and Learning at the University of Lincoln. I have been at Lincoln since 2007. Before that I did a PhD ( part-time) with Simon Clarke ( 1990 - 1994) and taught Political Sociology at Warwick ( 1994 - 2007) before that I was in community education in South London (1980 - 1994). A feature of all of my work has been setting up 'counter-projects' ( Lefebvre 2008) within the organisations within which I am working. During my time in South London, in the 1980s, I set up enterprise projects with the 'young dispossessed' to support the 'informal economy', and crime prevention programmes in the 1990s which identified Money as 'the offender' ( Neary 1998). During my time at Warwick I was the Director of the Reinvention Centre for Undergraduate Research, which had as its ambition the reinvention of higher education on the principles of critical pedagogy and critical social theory. I have carried on this work at the University of Lincoln with Student as Producer and the Social Science Centre . All of my work is based in and against the concept of crisis, or better still apocalypse, and the need to create a future where humanity is the project rather than the resource. I am currently trying to finish a book to be published by Zero Books with the title 'Student as Producer - How Do Revolutionary Teachers Teach?'

Phil Wood. I'm a lecturer at the School of Education, Univ of Leicester. I'm really interested in learning innovation, particularly with respect to innovative pedagogies and learning spaces. I'm also doing some work on creating open educational resources with my PGCE students. I'm particularly interested in complexity theory and Deleuzean Geophilosophy. It's this last area that I'm working on quite a lot at the moment, using Societies of Control as a way of critiquing the avalanche of privatisation in schools by recent governments (have been sketching out ideas on my blog, and using rhizomatics and nomadic thought as a way of conceptualising positive resistance, particularly through teacher networks making use of web 2.0.

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Louise Thomas

I am Senior Researcher in Education at the RSA, and lead on the Area Based Curriculum, which looks at ways to involve local stakeholders with curriculum design in schools. Through this work I'm interested in the participation of local communities in education and schooling, how schools can be made more responsive and better tethered to their localities, how local governance and accountability can be strengthened in an era of fragmentation, and how parents and education professionals might better relate to young people and to one another, in the interests of forging more resilient communities. I believe that in the face of a crisis, schools could be positive, generative, connected institutions for whole communities. Government policy is currently moving away from this.

In a previous life I was involved in refugee, asylum and statelessness issues, and so have a particular concern over how environmental and resource shocks will impact on migration patterns; and how well our society is equipped attitudinally and politically to deal with these. I'd like to find ways to link these two ideas, perhaps looking at an asset based model of immigration and its impact on education. Ideas, anyone? Groups working with migration and education together, beyond a 'tolerance and diversity' frame?

**John Schostak**

Currently I work at the Education and Social Research Institute at Manchester Metropolitan University. Although I’ve spent the vast majority of the last 30 years hunting funding and doing projects, for the next few years I want only to do projects that matter to me. Mostly that involves writing about the contemporary scenes of crisis and peoples’ responses to them. (You can get an idea of the range of stuff I've been interested in over the years on my Enquiry Learning site).

Recently Routledge asked if they could republish my first book that came out in 1983 and was called Maladjusted Schooling (2012). I recall writing that book fast, in one go with little revision, feeling extremely angry. It described a school and a community where most of the young people rarely met people who actually had jobs. The title sums up what I believed: schools are maladjusted to the needs, interests, and hopes of people. During March I shall be writing a kind of update on it for a journal. It’s not so much anger I feel now but a sadness. What the hell has changed over the years? Just before I did the research that led to the book I was teaching A level economics and for ‘fun’ with my students I did an analysis of the likely implications of Thatcher’s economic policies of the time. We speculated there would be a year on year rise in unemployment of a million. That proved to be pretty much correct. Each year the formulae upon which the official statistics were constructed I recall were changed in order to revise down the rate of unemployment increase. So, today, what’s different?

And that’s the question I want to explore.

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Terry Wassall
My interests in the topic of education in crisis are related to my current position as a semi-retired academic, a sociologist. I have been concerned with the marketisation, managerialism and consumerism that has been imposed on the HE sector by the last 2 governments and am interested in the various ideas and discourses that have developed in the face of these changes around alternative conceptions of what education is and could be. As a result I have been peripherally involved in a number of practical initiatives including the Really Open Universityand the Space Project at Leeds and the Social Science Centre at Lincoln. I have increasingly become interested in what might loosely be called public education. This may involve linking in practical and politically effective ways academics and students with groups, organisations, movements, etc. beyond the University. I'm interested in connecting a critique of HE (both its internal culture and organisation) with wider publics and public issues, and using that critique as a basis for practical public and political engagement beyond the university and beyond narrowly academic concerns and definitions of education and educational procedures and processes. I have particular interests around capitalism, globalisation and the environment. Staff page at Leeds University. Blog.

Marius Frank
I am CEO of ASDAN Education, an educational charity committed to improving learning, particularly in the domain of 21st century skills for learning, skills for employment and skills for life. We work with over 6,000 schools, colleges, PRUs, independent provision and training providers in the UK and around the world. We find ourselves in a rather odd position: at a time when education jurisdictions around the world are working hard to address the future employability needs and imperatives by improving the skill set of rising generations, the coalition has removed all our qualifications from counting in future school performance measures! Prior to my current post, I have thirty years experience in a wide range of schools, from high performing to those at the bottom of the performance heap. My last school, Bedminster Down in south Bristol, served an area in the bottom 1% in the country in terms of education deprivation. Nevertheless, we moved from 8% to 40% five A*-C including En and Ma in ten short years... and eight HMI/Ofsted visits (never ever placed in special measures or given notice to improve... but always satisfactory!)

I have particular interests in helping schools address the conflicting demands of satisfying government targets, but at the same time fully
equipping young people for work and life in the 21st century... sadly, two completely different things!

Diary of an Ofsted Inspection MariusatASDAN

James Duggan


I’m very excited about this project!

At the moment I’m thinking around Michael Apple’s (2006) chapter ‘Interrupting the Right: On Doing Critical Educational Work in Conservative Times’. The basic idea is that the right wasn’t always so dominant and so those committed to a just and sustainable future should articulate an alternative to build a counter-hegemonic bloc to make that future a reality. This project raises a number of challenges and changes, especially in relation to higher education. One issue will be going beyond evidence to develop new narratives and alternatives. Significantly, Apple (2006) suggests that the new narratives need to resonate with the layperson and so our job is not to influence government but to change public perceptions and values relating to the purpose of a good education. I think Michael Apple’s paper could provide a strategy for ‘Education for the Crisis’.

I’m currently finishing my PhD at the University of Manchester. My research looks at collaboration in children’s services. I’m interested in collaboration, public sector reform, co-production and social innovation.

I convened Coprodnet (@coprodnet) an interdisciplinary academic and practitioner network interested in co-production. I am also one of the organisers of CityCampMCR (@CityCampMCR), a community unconference event that brings people together to develop innovative problems to local social and environmental issues.

Bridget McKenzie

I'm also very excited about this project. I'm director of Flow Associates, a consultant working on learning and digital strategies for cultural organisations, especially museums, arts orgs, policy bodies and science/environment educational orgs. With my business partner, Mark Stevenson, we're forming a new offer to help organisations turn towards eco-social repair, eco-innovation, commons creation and future-building. We focus on creating 'the people the future needs': open, resilient, creative, bioempathetic, agile etc. I'm developing research and a book called The Learning Planet, telling stories about different communities that learn rapidly, collaboratively and towards the biosphere. I share ongoing thoughts about this, and other related topics, on my blog The Learning Planet. I also do a lot of creative projects exploring issues about childhood and ecology, using photography and words: I'm involved in a new visual arts strand to the Dark Mountain project. I'm also a home educator, doing creative projects with my family.

Tony Hall

Setting up a darkroom in a youth club and running it for a year was my first learning project. In retrospect I learnt the basics of my own practice during that period. I helped organise and facilitate more darkroom and photography projects while studying at the Polytechnic of Central London, and later in youth clubs and day centres.

Working with Cockpit Cultural Studies in the 1980s, I began to use an Apple Mac to make learning materials, posters and exhibitions. This lead onto an interest in multimedia and I started the Hyperspace User Group to learn how computers could become part of an interactive educational environment. I organised various computer-based projects and events, such as CyberSeed in Covent Garden and CineMac, a digital video event. I also became involved with the London Film Makers Co-op and the planning of its new building, the LUX in Hoxton Square, researching and setting up a computer system and education space for learning about interactive media and digital film making.

During this period I had been working with computers and photography at City Lit and a number of charities. One project with homeless people has continued over a number of years and become known as The Nomads - a self-organised group using Flickr as a place of involvement and organising.

Recently I have become more interested in self-organising and using public space. In 2009 I started School of Everything Unplugged with Dougald Hine, to meet each week and talk about learning and education. It's still going and now called Everything Unplugged: Learning Conversations. I also regularly go along to Tuttle at the Centre for Creative Collaboration and am using some wall space there to explore ideas for a book about photography as a social practice.

Over the next year I hope to be working on a project called Public, a reflexive 'learning' space at the Hub Westminster or/and Centre for Creative Collaboration, and just started a Saturday afternoon Dark Mountain Photowalk and Talk.

Claire Simpson

Hi, I'm also really excited about this project and looking forward to conversations with you all. I'm a freelance artist, educator, photographer, trainer and forest school leader. I work predominantly through collaboration with schools, community groups and many different organisations and people. I’m based in Derbyshire and have worked all over the UK in schools, woodlands, festivals, day centres, pre-school groups, community centres, museums, galleries, theatres... lots of places. I’ve worked with people of all ages and particularly undertake a lot of work with pre-school children, primary-school aged children and their families.

Having spent many years travelling around the UK working with groups I’m now working on long-term residencies which enable me to delve deeply into issues with the groups that I work with. I relish being able to work in this way and am resident artist with Dunkirk Primary and Nursery School (Nottingham), where I work closely with Parmjit and Asima who are also part of this group. We've been exploring issues around global citizenship, community, connections with the natural world and sustainability; we base our work around asking Big Questions.
I’ve run many training sessions for teachers, early years practitioners and others and given presentations / led workshops at several conferences exploring issues around education, play, learning and creativity. I’ve recently written a big chunk of a chapter for the book: “Creative Approaches to Participation” edited by Helen Manchester and published by Routledge, 2011. I draw much of my inspiration from the Reggio Emilia ethos and the approach of educators in Scandinavia and have undertaken study visits to Reggio, Sweden and Denmark. I believe that we all use our imaginations and creative instincts to play, to explore and to make sense of our surroundings and ourselves. I'm really interested in how children learn and play (which go totally hand in hand) and in the ways that spaces and people can be conducive to learning or can become barriers. Exploring ways to engage children with the natural world is central to my work and I try to work outside and with natural materials as much as possible. I’m really passionate about documenting the adventures and discoveries that take place during projects and much of my work centres around this too.
My blog Stories Under Stones and website Some Curious Finds both have lots more info, images and links etc.

Michael Bassey
I am interested in developing ideas expressed in my recent book, Education for the Inevitable.

Education should be about young people living, and learning to live, worthwhile lives. It embraces nurture, culture and survival. Who should decide what is worthwhile? Working together collegially in schools, discussing education with local communities, walking tall in society, discovering the educational needs of their pupils – it is teachers who should decide what happens in schools. The educational function of government should be to fund schools from taxation: control through inspection, testing, league tables, micro-management, and national curriculum should be abandoned. Accountability should be bottom-up (starting from school self-evaluation) not top-down.

The future of young people today will be beset by global warming, peak oil, economic chaos, etc. To prepare schools and society for such times there are prior needs:
  1. an ethos in which wealth creation is replaced by conviviality: meaning harmony with environment, society and self as basis for social justice and human joy;
  2. reform of the media as an adult educative force in which truth talks to the people and the people talk to power;
  3. reduction of inequality and redistribution of wealth through a minimum living wage and a maximum take-home pay;
  4. recognition that unemployment is endemic: hence citizen’s income paid to all as a right;
  5. promotion of community life: hence local schooling, teachers taking prominent role;
  6. teachers trained beyond practical and theoretical pedagogy with learning about environmental futures and survival schooling.


Helen Beetham
I am a writer and consultant in higher eduction with a special interest in digital literacy. I also manage a project in this area at the University of Exeter and consult at a number of other universities. In various advisory roles in the field of e-learning I have taken a principled stance against the centralising, supervising and standardising tendencies of digital technology at an organisational scale, and looked for ways to amplify the radical and disruptive tendencies of technologies in the hands of learners and teachers. I am interested in how digital technologies can help overcome inequalities of access to learning but increasingly worried about the inequalities that are perpetuated through having or not having digital capital.

I was lucky enough to work (with Keri Facer) on the Beyond Current Horizons programme where I helped to shape the final six future scenarios that I still feel have value in exploring what a resilient education would look like. I am involved in the transition movement for which I have spoken on educational issues. Through my involvement in open education I am interested in the potential of open systems and emerging open practices to democratise participation in learning. I am also interested in the role of the public or citizen intellectual, within and outside the walls of traditional institutions.

I'd like to work with others to think about the role of technology in democratising participation in learning, which is essential for all our future resilience to crisis. And I am also interested in how we help young people develop a critical, political stance towards the technologies we are offered as users, which shape our thinking and acting in ways that are less obvious if you have been born into them.

Ian McGimpsey
I studied youth and community work as an undergraduate, and then spent the first part of my career working at Toynbee Hall, a provider of education, advice and volunteering opportunities in East London for both young people and adults. I subsequently moved to the RSA where I led the education programme for a couple of years.

Currently, I am doing a PhD about the relationship between policy and the practice of youth work in youth services in England. I understand youth work as an educative tradition of practice. My work centres on what youth workers do, and on how what youth workers do varies in different settings. I am interested in exploring the operation of marketising and commodifying pressures in youth work, and in general I see these as restricting workers’ ability to work collectively with young people with respect to the social justice issues that effect them. Therefore, I’m also interested what in identifying the resources that seem to be available for the resistance of these regulatory and reforming pressures.

It seems to me that where concern is expressed with the adequacy of institutional educational endeavours, often hope for more equitable or democratic alternatives is to some degree placed in provision that is in or through community or public spaces. So, at this meeting I am interested to discuss the implications, if there are any, of the regulation of such spaces that I see with respect to youth work.

Sarah Amsler

As a mother, I spend a lot of time wondering about what it means to critically educate and learn from children as they learn to be in the world with us and others in everyday life. In my academic role, I work at the Centre for Educational Research and Development at the University of Lincoln, where I am a Senior Lecturer in Education and teach primarily on postgraduate courses, both in educational research and educating the educators (PGCE). I previously held a Lectureship in Sociology at Aston University, where I was dedicated to teaching undergraduate and MA students. Essentially, I'm a critical sociologist skulking in education departments and an educationalist trolling sociology and philosophy. It's all important for informing what I want to be doing in the world - facilitating forms of knowledge and pedagogical practice that maximise critical consciousness, imagination, autonomy and collectivity in the service of both struggles for justice and human flourishing - and I try to find or help create ways of making this possible. Conversely, most of my research has been a response to situations that mitigate against it - racist curriculum in primary schools, sanitised social history in public museums, neo-colonial social science education in post-Soviet societies, bureaucratic everything, repressive forms of (even the most declaredly democratic) political practice, and diminished experiences of everyday life and subjectivity.

I have always been an ambivalent academic, convinced by the radical promise of the utopian idea of the university, and angry about its actually-existing professionalised forms, exclusions, silences and stupidities. As the institutionalised University has tolerated fewer critical and experimental cracks, I have spent my time trying prise them open within while working outside the formal academy in autonomous projects that offer breathing space and the possibility for critical work. The most substantive of these is the Social Science Centre in Lincoln, where we are working to create an alternative and cooperative space for critical theorising, education and research. For me, this is an exciting, fascinating and frightening project.

My academic research is in the critical theory of knowledge, the politics of cultural work, the politics of education, theories of transformation, and the relationship between critical philosophy, radical politics, pedagogy and everyday life. I am concerned that a lot of what passes for education, thinking and 'progressive' political work contributes to rather than brakes the rapid foreclosure of possibility in social life today. I'm also inspired that there are so many serious projects now working against this, and to educate capacities for resistance, humanisation and courageous visions of ecological and cosmological justice. I am interested in talking with others about how the latter can be made effective, robust and sustainable, not only in economic and ecological terms, but affectively, politically and socially as well. In particular, following James above, how can we make these resonant and meaningful, as widely as possible?

Warren Pearce


How lovely to be invited to this event. I claim no expertise whatsoever in pedagogy, and just a little in environmental matters. I am in the final year of my PhD at University of Nottingham, using interpretive analysis to examine the local implementation of climate change policy in England and lecture in these and other aspects of public policy. I am on the board of ENQUIRE, the postgraduate open access journal and conference run entirely by UoN School of Sociology students. I also train people in presentation skills (ideas and data) and how to resist the PowerPoint zombie apocalypse.

Some thorny issues :

1. a tradition of energy usage ingrained over 200 years which is now coming up against the end of cheap, abundant supplies;
2. what does 'climate change' (or any other crises for that matter) mean to people;
3. in the face of numerous crises, how do we best use our time? We may need to pick and choose our battles.

All three of these have a common thread running through them: that we all need to accept that we should be consuming, and perhaps doing, *less*. There's a short piece on my blog about this which doesn't say so much about education, but says more about our goals and traditions, and how they might (should?) be diverging. Looking very much to seeing you all later in the month...

Denise Proctor, CEO, NOISE Festival Ltd


The national NOISE charity increases the social-mobility of young, disadvantaged, talented people. Established in 2005, the award-winning partners with industry professionals and media platforms UK-wide, to endorse the work of young creative talent to new audiences; providing routes into the creative industries.

Our vision is to break-down barriers to employment, to enable new talent to reach their full potential. In July 2012, NOISE launches a revolutionary new platform for social learning, through an online, networked, learning environment via NOISE E-Learning is tailored to diverse cognitive needs and compatible with existing FE/HE curriculum. We guide talented young people nationally through modules with a professional and peer mentor exchange network and open-source, interactive, online learning resources; increasing their employability and/or business start-up ability, by accrediting their informal creative activities. Our resources feature rich digital content (video, audio, text, etc).

This year we continue to manifest our strategy to develop and deliver curriculum-led projects that are distributed as teaching packs to schools, colleges, universities and community arts groups nationally, with partner organisations (TATE 2006, European Commission 2011). In response to the 2011 street riots NOISE launched the “Art of Protest” project as a touring exhibition and teacher’s pack, download at The best submissions will be handpicked by the project’s curator, Joshua Blackburn, founder of ethical design agency Provokateur and showcased as a two-month exhibition at The People’s History Museum in Spring 2013. To date, the BBC, Guardian G2 and Dazed and Confused have featured the project prominently.

Will Curtis
I'm a Principal Lecturer in Education at De Montfort University and I'm currently seconded on a 0.4 basis as Discipline Lead for Education at the Higher Education Academy. I've had a longstanding interest in the kinds of issues this group is seeking to explore. My MA dissertation explored youth and symbols of resistance post-9/11 and my PhD developed notions of hopeful and fearful learning cultures in post-'incorporation' further education. I developed a module on the BA Education Studies titled 'Radical Educations', which introduces students to radical theory and alternative educational visions. Recently, I've undertaken a few projects engaging with students as co-researchers - exploring different aspects of HE. I've also been developing a conception of 'democratic assessment' and I'm co-presenting a paper at DPR next week on transformatory hope and democratic education. I guess I'm interested in talking about how we might challenge current discourses of education - that reduce 'value' to economic benefit and result in narrow and impoverished curriculum/assessment. And how do we stop Gove from privatising our schools, colleges and universities - another article in the paper today about the first profit-making FE college! Looking forward to Thursday....

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Jennifer Jones
I'm completing my PhD at the University of the West of Scotland where I have spent a marvellous couple of years hanging out with community and activist media groups who are organising critical responses to mega events such as the Olympic Games - including being the coordinator of one of the London 2012 citizen media collective, #media2012. I tend to exist within the cracks of the academic systems in terms of meaningful employment (Oxford University call it a 'portfolio career' but it's more to do with hunger than anything else), but I will probably end up working in something that spans social media, education and event-related research in the longrun. I'm a bit feral when it comes to teaching and research - probably because I am one of those folk who had to be talked into doing a PhD, only because I had no idea what it was and I can't *stand* not acting on things, even if it isn't the more popular opinion.

I'm honoured to be invited to this, I've been involved in several 'free education' projects (including Scotland, where I'm fae) that have attempted to open up spaces to challenge and critique the current state of play in the higher education system. This includes the Really Free School, Third University, Tent City Uni, that uncivilisation festival thing and the recent Free University discussions, Thing is, I joined the social science centre quite early on, and was incredibly inspired by it as an idea and the energy behind it - but I've recently withdrew from it because I'm having problems with some of the governance structures that tend to accompany such ideas - consensus, wavey-hands, sitting in circles. I feel really uncomfortable in large groups of people and it brings me out in a sheer panic (probably why I love the internet so much and take to things like twitter like a fish in water), and I'm not convinced by some of the alternative methods being seen as being truly democratic solutions - the politics is still there. Instead, I've been focusing these concerns into my teaching and research, trying to change/challenge things from within whilst trying to see the value of the institution in a new light rather than seeking an alternative system that could in turn hurt me in the longer run. So perhaps I might bring that to the table on Thursday, hard to say until we all get there. Might not say anything.

Paul Richardson
I am an adviser at the JISC Regional Support Centre in Wales, and an Associate Lecturer with the Open University. Prior to my direct involvement in education, I was a research biologist, with a strong interest in plants, agriculture, and wider environmental issues.

I have spent the last fifteen years working with educators and organisations who are negotiating through changes resulting from technology, pedagogy and systems. These changes are clearly not independent of economic, social and political contexts, and I am interested in (and not a little concerned about) the impact of these developments on social justice. I would like to see more people empowered to make conscious and informed choices about their futures, and engaged in collective processes which enable this. I am particularly concerned about the processes which seem to lead to isolation of the various sectors in education, and from global developments. I suspect (and hope) that much positive change can be brought about simply by opening up new channels of communication, and perhaps (as Doug puts it) upsetting the odd apple cart. I blog (occasionally) at

Michael Fielding

Particularly concerned with the Dehumanisation and Accountability crises.

How we can we learn from the Occupy / Uncut movement and how they relate to similar movements from the 1960s / 70s and the earlier emergence of Guild Socialism at the beginning of the 20th century? Keen to learn from other countries / contexts e.g. the agrarian Landless Movement and their urban equivalents in Porto Alegre, both in Brazil.

What I’m up to
I come at these issues from the standpoint of human-centred, participatory democracy. Interested in rearticulating democratic accountability as shared responsibility and the centrality of intergenerational learning in shaping a better future. Have developed a framework – Patterns of Partnership - intended to encourage that process within schools and name democracy as a realistic and worthy aspiration: ‘Democracy is not only something to fight for, it is something to fight with’ (Francis Williams 1941). Part of the argument is that changing power relations cannot work in the ways we would wish unless it is informed by changes in the ways we regard each other as persons (not just as citizens).

In a recent book co-authored with Peter Moss - Radical Education and the Common School: a democratic alternative - I have argued for a framework for radical democratic education and also a new account of prefigurative practice - i.e. how we can develop future ways of working now - that, I hope has resonance outside the field of education as well as within it.

john traxler
My work over the last ten years has focused on the capacity of mobile and other popular digital technologies to extend and enhance learning in distant, disadvantaged, developing and different communities. I am increasingly concerned about the complex global role of technology in learning, and in knowing, especially in relation to language, culture and identity and about the relationships between research, scholarship and activism, on the one hand, and policy, delivery and implementation, on the other.

These technologies have the capacity to access universal power languages, the global knowledge economy, the information superhighway and national educational opportunities. They also threaten the identity, epistemology and culture of some small fragile communities, whilst creating, preserving or transforming those of others. Larger and more robust cultures have depicted them as the trojan horses of liberal and western ideas.

The growing interest of international agencies and global corporations in educating the next billion subscribers amplifies concerns about both these issues.

Mobiles in learning can represent another step in the industrialisation of education, mass production without even mass customisation and without the constraints of buildings and computers. They also represent one of the mechanisms by which states manage and control marginal and nomadic communities, enrolling them into the mainstream polity. They are also used to create more transparent and responsive governance.

Addressing these concerns in different countries and contexts through small-scale bottom-up community activity preserves intellectual integrity, produces noticeable impact but little scale or sustainability, whilst working with corporations and ministries can do the very opposite.

Reasoning about such work under pressure from ministries, agencies and funders to generalise and extrapolate is flawed at every step but describing reality as merely contingent helps no-one.

A preoccupation with the duty to educate at the expense of questioning the nature of the right to educate is problematic.

These are some of the daily issues when we try and make a difference.

Cormac Lawler


I'd like to see and be part of an educational system that is equitable, empowering, creative, critical, engaged and connected.

I've recently completed a PhD in the University of Manchester (where I continue to teach on a Masters programme, which I've been teaching on for a number of years). My PHD was about my and others' experience of setting up an online open educational space, Wikiversity - a sister project of Wikipedia. Wikiversity is an ambitious project (I still think it's one of the most radical educational initiatives out there; and I feel that many Open Educational Resources (OER) initiatives are, in fact, too conservative). Developing Wikiversity as an open space for learning was a real challenge, however - and I don't feel it has reached its potential. My thesis (which Keri Facer examined) is largely about the implosion of the Wikiversity community around a series of conflicts which were not resolved, and which speaks to the challenges that anyone involved in truly open education will face.

We need stories and initiatives to inspire us. I like how Keri Facer frames the challenges and opportunities facing us in education - and I think I'm 'thoughtfully optimistic' about the future. I've been inspired by initiatives like 826 Valencia, and, of course, Ken Robinson's now classic talk on creativity.

I co-organised CityCamp Manchester with James Duggan (above), which was an attempt to move beyond a talking shop, and to build a network in Greater Manchester to develop practical solutions to local problems. I'm very interested in local community - I live in a community in Manchester which has a strong community spirit, but which needs much more energy and investment and thinking and action to really show its full potential. (Noticing a theme here?)

I'm currently looking for something to inspire me, and which I can work on to inspire others. I regard this conference as a potentially key step in that quest - I'm very much looking forward to it, meeting you all, and putting our heads together. (Please say hello!)

Josie Fraser

I'm a social and educational technologist, currently working for Leicester City Council as ICT Strategy Lead, in Children's Capital. I work as ICT lead on the city's Building Schools for the Future Programme, where we are rebuilding or refurbishing all 25 schools in the city that provide secondary education. My role is to ensure the investment made in ICT is deployed to support our aspirations for learning, learners and learning communities. My priorities are broad - I'm looking at infrastructure and connectivity, Green ICT, as well as ICT to support teaching and learning, the running of the schools, and to facilitate engagement with communities - immediate communities which include students, staff members, parents, governors and local residents, and wider community networks across the city, country and internationally.

I’m interested in developing digital literacies in practice.

Along with digital literacy, my main interests are in organisational change processes, social identity and identification, what community means and how technology can support community led development, decision making and problem solving.

I'm also very interested in the relationship between theory and practice/activism.

Anthony McCann

I'm coming to the end of my employment at the University of Ulster, where I've been for 6 years, and will shortly be setting out on a freelance career. I'm a rampant interdisciplinarian, which has always left me being perceived by some as somewhat inappropriate for the university jobs I have taken up over the last 15 years. In a bid to find more joy in my work as an educationalist I recently started a community interest company called Hedgeschool21, which is still to find its feet and its identity, but the core idea was to try experiments in learning in Northern Ireland and see how people respond to them. Hedgeschools were an historical form of local education in Ireland for 150 years, and while they arose from very specific historic conditions, they provide us with a lot of lessons, I think, for developing mobile, adaptable, and personalised approaches to education. I'll be working on Hedgeschool21 more actively after my university job finishes in July. I'm interested in the affectual dimensions of learning - emotional climate, quality of relationship, generosity, trust ... I've been working for the last 15 years on developing, on the one hand, a systematic model of the dynamics of personal and sociological enclosure, and, on the other, a systematic political theory based around the notion of gentleness. Some of my research (and songs) can be found at

John Graves

PhD Student, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand
Founder of SlideSpeech
Goal: a wikipedia-like resource of learning materials
Tool: a collaborative text-to-speech-based presentation platform which includes interactivity like this (more links at end of presentation).