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You're welcome to offer any session you would like to over the course of the event - either by proposing it on here, or at the start of the weekend. We'll be using a mixture of informal facilitation techniques, as well as drawing on improvisation and games, to get the best out of our time together. Follow us on Twitter (@UnivProject)


See the main themes below for an outline of some of the things we hope to cover - and please do propose sessions you'd like to offer under these headings.



'Theme harvest' Can't remember it's name, but this game - as much a sorting mechanism as anything, but it's lively and interactive - acts as a collaborative way to establish a priority among a large group of people.

For instance, "what do we think should be the themes of this festival?" It takes under 15 mins, involves meeting and chatting in pairs, reduces the privileging of louder voices, and can provide a sense of the breadth of perspectives as part of the process. I wondered whether this might be something to run at the start of the conference, or an early point where there is likely to be a critical mass.


On top of this, I'd like to run some games to:

* enhance connection between attendees

* encourage a state of acceptance towards and exploration of unfamiliar approaches

* generate unexpected links between disparate approaches

These could fit in a great many places; I'll turn up with a bandolier of games and we can apply as needed!


Pro Action Café (proposed as a Saturday session from 2.30-5.30pm by Liane Fredericks)

Taken from an Art of Hosting handbook (www.artofhosting.org)

  This will be a space for creative and action oriented conversation where participants are invited to bring their call - project - ideas - questions or whatever they feel called by and need help to manifest in the world. The concept is a blend of 'World Café' and 'Open Space' technologies. It was first conceived by Rainer von Leoprechting and Ria Baeck in Brussels, Belgium.


As a conversational process, it hosts conversations about calls, questions and projects that matter to the people that attend. These conversations link and build on each other as people move between café tables, cross-pollinate ideas, and offer each other new insights into the questions or issues that are most important in their life, work, organisation or community. As a process, it can evoke and make visible the collective intelligence of any group, thus increasing people’s capacity for effective, more collectively informed actions.


In short, the process consists of:

  • Check-in: to connect to the purpose of the session
  • The Call: people with a call stand up, speak it and write it on the agenda. They host a table
  • Rounds: 3 rounds of conversation in café style of 20 to 30 minutes - each guided by a few generic questions to help deepen and focus the conversations. Time is also given for the host to reflect on the conversations they've had. 
  • Circle:  Last step is to meet in the circle and invite the callers from each table to share what they are grateful for and what their next step will be.


Number of participants: for example, 40 people means a maximum of 10 callers each with their own project. The principle is first come first serve. 




"What makes something a university?"


I'd like to propose a general discussion on this theme, early in the weekend. (Dougald)


The Democratic Intellect; 2pm Sunday

Pat Kane (@theplayethic) will discuss how the Scottish Enlightenment concept of the Democratic Intellect is informing and invigorating Scottish educational change. Pat gave this talk at the Really Free School in 2011 and is interested in discussing how citizen values can drive educational behaviours.


WikiQuals; 3pm Sunday

Fred Garnett (@fredgarnett) and some of the students who occupied the UCL Jeremy Bentham room in 2011 will discuss their idea of how to make post-hoc accreditation, or WikiQuals, work in an age of post-digital disorder when Everything is Miscellaneous (Weinberger) 


Remixing the Reading List

Alex Fradera is interested in exploring different ways to approach reading lists and the concept of canonical and core texts. What might this look like in a dense, rapid information age? This could include discussing student-led canons, lists altered over time by the passage of previous students through it, non-linear approaches to lists (eg nesting of broader to deeper texts). It's a chance to discuss previous experiments and current thoughts about how this university tradition can be altered or repurposed? 


Towards a Kinder Campus?

Anthony McCann is interested in exploring the issue of desirable emotional climate for an alternative education project. What would a 'kinder campus' feel like? How would we design it? What might the pitfalls be? What might a pedagogy of gentleness look like? Anthony will be around on Sunday until about 5pm.  


The Finance Department

How do we make a living and make our projects viable? How do we place the economic basis of our activities as an object of reflection and experimentation, rather than something which the money people deal with, while we get on with our research? How can we hack existing systems to find ways of making our experiments viable? If John Geraci is right that investment money is likely to pour in to "new learning spaces" that disrupt existing models of higher education, how do we feel about this?


Proposed by Mark Jagdev The Education Commons... Moving from Collaboration to Commoning 

by the School of Commoning in partnership with Kularing.

Hosts/facilitators: Mark Jagdev & Abraham Heinemann


Having followed the write ups of Saturdays sessions on the online workspace we would like to host a session that outlines a commons based society and begins outlining the educational sectors role in getting us closer to that vision. A Commons as a resource management regime that includes and augments the existing market and public sectors, offers an alternative to the market based system that places our creative work under persistent threat. Commoning, in addition to being wholly collaborative, implies an imperative to take the next steps towards the legal recognition of Commons Trusts.


In hosting the session from a commons perspective, this session will follow on from James Wallbank’s 'Getting Real About Resources' and strategize about what to do next in recognition of the growing global movement for systemic change. We would like to harness the collective intelligence of the attendees to co-learn potential next steps, from where we perceive we are, and in recognition of the major threat to funding - the existing market-state model.



Learning from History

The institutions we've inherited were invented (and reinvented) by others before us - what can we learn from these stories? Are there lessons in the kinds of grassroots learning culture documented in Jonathan Rose's 'The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes'? And what about more recent experiments in creating new kinds of university or learning space? Where are the failures we can learn from, as well as the successes? If you've been part of, or studied, some of these previous experiments, please offer a session in which you share what you've learned!


Learning from Home Based Education

There are many  examples of grass roots learning communities that have come from a mixture of ideas about childhood liberation, libertarian ideas of society, theories of what education is and the failure of the free schools in the 60s. I am happy to talk with people about these projects including The Otherwise Club, a community centre for home educating families that provides a space for things to happen in central London.

I would also like to talk about what 'education' is and what it adds, if anything, to the human activity of learning

I am only around after 2 on Sunday.




Projects & Experiments

Are you involved with a current project to reinvent or reimagine what the university is (or could be)? Please offer a session telling the rest of us about it - what you've achieved, what you need help with, what you hope to do next...


The Human Knowledge Project

Proposed by Siva Vaidhyanathan (@sivavaid) as a wide-scale collaborative response to what he calls the 'Googlization of Everything' or Google books as it is better known. Not anti-Google but an international collaborative response, potentially... Fred Garnett willing to lead/chair a discussion; see also Putting Context into Knowledge 


Ambient Learning City

A city-wide project going on in Manchester to develop context-responsive learning. Based on the Emergent Learning Model created both to design emergence into educational systems and to anticipate EU educational policy for i2015 (and i2020) where informal learning could drive formal educational outcomes. Fred Garnett


What role can unconference models play in formal education?

As a proponent of a range of unconference styles, I (Drew Buddie) would like to look at strategies for applying such models in Teaching & Learning as opposed to the way that many are currently used for the sharing of good practice.


What is the What? 

I (Drew Buddie) would like to present the results of a small survey of my School Leavers wherein they were asked to identify what their expectations were of the university that they were chosing to go to, particularly in the light of the financial burden that attending such a place will now place upon them. What do these results tell as about the future of traditional models of post-school education and how can such establishments cope with such a paradigm shift amongst their demographic?


P2P Training Methodology

Francesc Balagué is interested in developing a methodology for life long learning training, teachers training, etc. based on p2p philosophy [Presentation draft].



Anthony McCann is available on Sunday to share some thoughts on the incipient Hedgeschool21  project (hedgeschool21.com). What is the relationship between educational ideals and the pragmatic needs of running a financially sustainable business? What's the best way to market alternative education? Does the funding-saturated educational market in Northern Ireland make alternative education impossible or just more exciting?


Personal Experiences

Let's make room for sharing our own experiences of university - as students, academics, parents, people who never went to university - and of the other places in which we've found a home for our curiosity and company in our learning.


 Pamela McLean - I haven't been to a traditional university. I did an Open University degree which stretched my mind and altered my thinking. It gave me the confidence to continue learning in an independent way. I've "found a home for my curiosity and company in my learning" through the Internet see University-level learning and knowledge-sharing






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