Autonomous pedagogical experiments by social movements in Brazil and the UK

From 13–17 October, two researchers will be in Lincoln to talk about new educational experiments in England and Brazil. They have invited members of the Social Science Centre to collaborate on a project in which we can share our experiences, knowledges and questions about this movement, which is becoming important for many social movements and educators across the world. They are interested in issues of self-organization, self-management, the creation of informal education projects, and the development of self-determined knowledges and pedagogies (ways of organising learning). This is also a rare opportunity to learn first-hand about the work of a school run by the Movement of Rural Landless Workers in Brazil, the Escola Nacional Florestan Fernandez, and to explore possibilities for future collaborations. The title of the project is ‘Autonomous pedagogical experiments by social movements in Brazil and the UK’.
  • October 14th, 6-9pm, Croft Street Community Centre: Join Ana Dinerstein and Paolo Vittoria for a conversation to share experiences and ideas (SSC members only)
  • October 15th, 1:30-4pm, University of Lincoln, Joseph Banks Laboratories, 2C04: Public lecture by Paolo Vittoria on ‘Social movements, popular education and universities: a proposal for an international network’ (public seminar open to all)

Notes from SSC meeting 16 July 2015

Attending: Cassie, Martha (opening and closing), Mike, Sarah, Wendy
Apologies: Andrea, Andrew, Graham, Joss, Laura, Lucy, Paul

Matters arising from minutes (of 4 July 2015)

The curriculum planning day has been rescheduled for two meetings on September 5th and 12th. The first will start with a general discussion about the aims of the curriculum for the term, responsibilities and etc.

Sarah will put a call out for new courses and set up Loomio discussion(s) for preliminary discussions.

Courses and activities will start in October 2015 – Wendy’s must be as early as possible.

Report from ISRF/SSC project

There is a new report on the first workshop. It will be out soon after participants have seen the transcript.

All SSC members have been invited to take part in a funded workshop in US; details to follow from Mike.

The second workshop on ‘governance’ is to take [took] place on 17 July 2015.

Trips and visits

There is a trip planned to London to the London Metropolitan University archives and MayDay Rooms on 10 September; we will take train, Mike to buy tickets. Contact Mike N. if you want to go.

We have been invited to visit the New Anarchist Research group – Cassie and Sarah to follow up

Members of the SSC with an interest in alternative forms of higher education are invited to a ‘Gathering of Kindred Spirits for Re-imagining Higher Education’ in Portugal, 20-26 August; Sarah and Mike are going; contact Kelly Teamey for details.


We will have a break over the summer and come back in the fall, to regroup about the aims of SSC work and make plans for new courses and activities; also to organise a new campaign to let people know what we do and make connections with other people and groups: who we are, what we are doing, where we are going?

Children and the Annual General Meeting

Kids hands sun

Getting to events at the Social Science Centre can be challenging if you’ve got to juggle this with looking after children or helping them with their own activities. Taking part in events can also be tricky if you are being pulled between playing and participating all the time, or if there are no spaces for children’s voices, energies and contributions. The SSC childcare working group is looking for ways to make learning and self-organising easier and more fun for everyone.

This month, we would like to offer support with childcare during the upcoming Annual General Meeting (May 16th, 11am-4pm at Croft Street Community Centre), and to have activities for older children who might be attending.

If you are planning to come with children or would like to talk to us about ways of organising childcare during the meeting, please contact


Public Seminar (21 May): ‘Place-based education and decolonizing universities’

Place-based education in the Canadian Arctic: Decolonizing universities, decolonizing politics

Darcy Leigh, University of Edinburgh

21 May 2015 | 7:00–9:00pm
Mint Lane Involvement Centre, Lincoln (LN1 1UD)

In Canada, formal education has been a central tool of colonial assimilation. Today, education remains a key site of anti-colonial and Indigenous struggles and of interventions. Understanding what is happening in these struggles and in projects to develop alternative forms of higher education thus offers insight into the meaning of politics itself and into the role of higher education in decolonizing society.

In this discussion, Darcy Leigh will share her experiences of working with two anti-colonial higher education projects in the Canadian Arctic. Both are using ‘place-based pedagogy’ and both are combining different forms of knowledge and politics in an Arctic setting, to rework existing possibilities and develop and practice alternatives. This discussion offers space to learn how these projects are using place-based education to navigate these tensions and to decolonize both politics and education in the Canadian Arctic, and for participants to consider connections to their own lives and work.

More about Darcy: Darcy Leigh is a Fellow at the Academy of Government at the University of Edinburgh, where she co-teaches the course ‘Political Work’. Her work is about how people inhabit and contest neo and late liberal narratives of political agency. She is especially concerned with the possibilities for agency that are closing and opening in universities. She recently completed her PhD, titled ‘Post-liberal agency: Decolonizing politics and universities in the Canadian Arctic’, for which she worked with Indigenous and Northern actors in a struggle for/over an Arctic university. In the past five years she has also been a Research Assistant and/or instructor with Dechinta Bush University (, Northern Governance and Economy (, and the Akitsiraq Law School ( She teaches political, critical, feminist, queer and anti-colonial theory and action across the social sciences at the University of Edinburgh and specializes in collaborative, affective and inclusive pedagogy. 

Contact to talk about childcare support for the seminar.

Notes from April 5th meeting

Held at Vida Vintage (108 Monks Road, Lincoln)

Present: David, Lucy, Sarah, Andrew, Paul, Gary, Mike, Joss, Peaceful, Wendy

Apologies: Laura, Alan


1. Discussion of SSI course

Peaceful Warrior: ‘It’s bloody amazing’ – one of the greatest learning experiences I’ve had.

Leading next week’s class – Paul and Joss to send something by tomorrow

How are we going to organise the evaluation? Gary, Sarah, Wendy – leave time to plan for next term (original idea – break + workshops for doing independent work; possibility of people creating other classes, activities, etc.)

2. Discussion of Our Place, Our Priorities

12 images are now finished and displayed at Pathways, bid now in for duplicate set of prints that can be exhibited around the city (first in the community exhibition space in the central Library) to raise awareness of the work being done by framework. Andrew Wingell and David are now working on ‘Inflection Point’ as a project on transition from being homeless to present life.

Vernon Goddard produced a collection of Poetry (Word in Edgeways) with Development Plus; there were six workshops that led to this body of work.

Lucy and Ollie are now working on an art project, running an arts award for clients to run some workshops to work with people, and looking for creative workers and artists to help.

The Ritual Significance exhibition is going up at The Collection, on an evolutionary perspective on contemporary art; David has been invited to Liverpool to speak about this in connection with the Social Science Centre. Materials on David’s learning blog under PhD research.

Projects – Charlotte Lee (PhD from Durham University who is interested in doing some research around activist work, has submitted a bid to Antipode journal; using what we have learnt in the SSC in order to set something up in Durham, e.g. ‘transitions university’; if bid was accepted, Transitions Durham and SSC would both receive £5000. David said similar sorts of conversations were happening with Liverpool University and Pro-Social Place conference.

3. Anti-oppressive practice

Sarah and Gary to send email around to others – part of summer activities (e.g. in commons, in orchard, Arboretum; mapping, chairs)

4. SSC conference – ‘Co-operation and Higher Education’

April 26, 2014

32 people are registered; about half are coming on Friday, will arrange to meet at Café Portico near The Collection

Venue is booked, we have a timetable for the day, Laura is organising food (evening meal at Café Portico will be voluntary contributions with the SSC picking up anything outside of that, and lunch on Saturday is going to be provided but people will have to buy it if they want it)

Need to make sure there is veggie and wheat-free at dinner and lunch – email Laura

We have offered a guided tour prior to the conference starting on Saturday – 9:30–11:00 tour or lecture with Alan Lincoln (historian) around Lincoln; David and Joss will meet next week to plan this.

10:30–11:00 Arrival in foyer at The Collection; Mike and Peaceful on the desk for registration
11:00–11:30 Conference welcome; Paul
11:30–12:00 Papers and presentations (15 minutes each; Joss will organise)
12:30–1:00 Lunch
1:00–2:30 ‘Reflecting on three years of the SSC’
2:00–2:40 Existing work, projects and practices (retrospective)
2:40–3:00 Tea
3:00–3:40 Aspirations and objectives
3:40–4:30 Discussion, conclusions, next steps


• Developing, pushing on, supporting people who want to do it?

• National co-operative university, not making much progress, how to push on?

• Where people are, whether co-operative education and principles means anything; tease out a state of things – what does what we learned about what people are doing say about the possibilities or limitations of a co-operative movement in higher education?

Will be a further meeting of the conference committee with Lucy, Laura, Mike and Joss

5. SirenFM

Richard Keeble has been recording 15-minutes podcasts where 2 SSC scholars talk about a theme, and has offered to record another. Lucy and Wendy will do the next one, and Vernon and David will do another.

6. Paper for Royal Geographic Society conference (end of August)

A paper has been accepted under a strand around alternative education projects. We now need to think about writing a paper from the current SSI course and decide how we should present it. Gary submitted another paper and is going to the conference anyway, but it would be a good experience for someone who hasn’t done it before.

Will check funds after the conference and then discuss who will write and present.

7. Accommodation – Big Wok – ‘Lincolnshare’

There is a possibility to be part of a new space being taken over by seven groups including Revival, Hackspace, Abundant Earth, General Practice (arts group), a therapist group and others. It may be possible to occupy the Big Wok (next to Pathways) for no/low rent and make a contribution towards the rates. Peaceful now has keys to use the space for storage, but we wouldn’t be able to go in and clean it up until contracts are arranged. Landlords would have to give one month’s notice to vacate.

This could be a home for an SSC reading room? Agreed that we should explore further, with some caution as it would be a shame to invest a lot of time, energy and money into a space that will be taken away. Is having a ‘squatter’s mentality’ enough?

8. Date for AGM

May 24th, 12–3pm, venue to be confirmed

Check how many children might be coming along – ask for people to confirm via email; Wendy will then be able to organise care and activities if they are needed.

9. Mobile Seminar Room – chair decorating

At David’s house, decorating 14 donated chairs. David has begun discussing spaces for mobile seminars with groups.

Sunday, May 11th?

10. Other Business

a. Money

In David’s case, money received for work with SSC has not come into SSC accounts, so has not raised issues. If we consider receiving grants or accepting money into the account (e.g., philanthropic, state funding, etc.), what principles do we have for these relationships, what ethical and political checks do we have in place? At what point would we become liable for tax?

David – relationship with Framework is reciprocal; if we could foster those sorts of non-monetarised exchanges, this would be good.

Perhaps ‘money’ is another activity for the summer – have a seminar combining some reading around money (e.g. Mike Neary and Graham Taylor’s book or parts thereof), to inform a discussion about how the SSC makes judgments about money (that we contribute/use and that we may receive from or exchange with others).

b. Possible summer activities (will discuss further at the final SSI class)

Anti-oppressive practice
Money and co-operative education/research
Open access, including academic journals