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what is education? picture: Alain Bachellier | flickr ccncnd2 space to explore education, pedagogy, community-building, and change.

New and updated

Marie Paneth – Branch Street, The Windemere Children, art and pedagogy. Paneth was a talented painter, art therapist and pedagogue. Her book, Branch Street (1944) is a classic exploration of community-based work with children during the Second World War – and the healing use she made of art both with young people who had been held in concentration camps  (discussed in Rock the Cradle 2020), and in later practice was pioneering. In this piece, we explore her work – mostly in the 1940s – and its continuing relevance. [updated and extended 2024]

Josephine Macalister Brew, youth work and informal education. One of the most ‘able, wise and sympathetic educationalists of her generation’, Josephine Macalister Brew made a profound contribution to the development of thinking about, and practice of, youth work and informal education. [updated and extended 2024]

What is education? A definition and discussion. Education is the wise, hopeful and respectful cultivation of learning and change undertaken in the belief that we all should have the chance to share in life. We explore the meaning of education and suggest it is a process of being with others and inviting truth and possibility. [updated 2024]

Ruth Kotinsky on adult education and lifelong learning. Ruth Kotinsky made a number of important contributions to thinking about lifelong learning and welfare. Of particular interest was her exploration of education as an aspect of everyday life and working together to build a life in common.


Settlements and education. Will Reason’s overview of educational provision in early university and social settlements (1898).

Henrietta Barnett and Samuel BarnettHenrietta Barnett and Samuel Barnett

Henrietta O. Barnett – What has the Charity Organisation Society to do with social reform? “Might not—may not charitable effort be organised to remove some of the social conditions which stand as barriers to prevent, or anyhow make it painfully difficult for … people to live the highest, fullest, richest life?”

Samuel A. Barnett – Practictable socialism. “Facing, then, the whole position, we see that among the majority of Englishmen life is poor; that among the few life is made rich. The thoughts stored in books, the beauty rescued from nature and preserved in pictures, the intercourse made possible by means of steam loco­motion, stir powers in the few which lie asleep in the many. If it be true, as the poet says, that men live by admiration,’ it is the few who live, for it is they who know that which is worth admiration”.

Acknowledgements: Picture: Dessiner le futur adulte by Alain Bachellier. Sourced from Flickr and reproduced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) licence.

The image of Henrietta Barnett and Samuel Barnett was sourced from Wikipedia and marked as being in the public domain.