Association, democracy and civil society

A set of pages exploring civil society, civic participation, the development of community and association, and the activities of educators and animateurs. ‘The strength of free peoples resides in the local community. Local institutions are to liberty what primary schools are to science; they put it within the people’s reach; they teach people to appreciate […]

Tom Bryan: association, education and the making of Fircroft College

Tom Bryan pioneered the adaptation of Folk High Schools to English adult education at Fircroft College and argued that solidarity and the facility for association lay at the heart of educational endeavour. contents: introduction · early career · woodbrooke and fircroft · conclusion · bibliography · how to cite this article Tom Bryan (1865-1917) was […]

Henry Caldwell Cook

Henry Caldwell Cook. Pioneering teacher and advocate of natural education in self-governing communities. Henry Caldwell Cook (1885-1939) taught at Perse School, Cambridge and was best known for his (1917) book The Play Way. He had a vision of ‘natural education in self-governing communities’ but argued for a transition involving a ‘partial liberation from the classroom’. […]

Community centres (centers) and associations: their history, theory, development and practice

Community centres (centers) and associations: their history, theory, development and practice. Community centers (centres) and associations have played a significant part in the life of many local communities and networks. Yet relatively little has been written about their history theory and practice. In this piece we examine a little of their development and the ideas […]

What is community work?

What is community work? How has it developed in the UK? What is it’s current state? We review thinking and practice in the field of community work, and question the direction it is currently taking. contents: introduction · the emergence of community work · the gulbenkian report: community work and social change · the community […]

Grace Coyle and group work

Grace Coyle and group work. Grace Coyle made an extraordinary contribution to our understanding of group work. She was also an important advocate for the work within US social work and an innovatory trainer. Contents: introduction · on group work · conclusion · bibliography · how to cite this article. Grace Longwell Coyle (1892-1962) made […]

Mary Parker Follett: community, creative experience and education

Mary Parker Follett graduation picture 1891 Mary Parker Follett: community, creative experience and education. With her concern for creative experience, democracy and for developing local community organizations, Mary Parker Follett is an often forgotten, but still deeply instructive thinker for educators, pedagogues and social animateurs. contents: introduction · Mary Parker Follett – life · The […]

Ivan Illich: deschooling, conviviality and lifelong learning

Ivan Illich: deschooling, conviviality and  lifelong learning. Known for his critique of modernization and the corrupting impact of institutions, Ivan Illich’s concern with deschooling, learning webs and the disabling effect of professions has struck a chord among many informal educators. We explore key aspects of his theory and his continuing relevance for informal education and […]

Lily Montagu, girl’s work and youth work

Lily Montagu, girl’s work and youth work. Lily Montagu (1873-1963) was one of the founders of the National Organization of Girls Clubs (now Youth Clubs UK) and a key figure in the development of Jewish youth work. A short biography prepared by Jean Spence. Lily Montagu, (1873-1963), belonged to a wealthy and well connected Anglo-Jewish […]

Henry Morris, village colleges and community schools

Henry Morris, village colleges and community schools.His vision of the village college – and his capacity to realize his ideal – have made a profound impact on our understanding of what is possible in schooling Temporary piece Life: (outline prepared by Tony Jeffs) 1889 Born Southport, Lancashire 1903 Office boy then reporter – The Southport […]

Robert Putnam, social capital and civic community

Robert Putnam, social capital and civic community. Robert Putnam has been described as the most influential academic in the world today. His book Bowling Alone seems to have struck a chord with many concerned with the state of public life. Is the hype justified? We explore Putnam’s contribution and its significance for informal educators and […]

Henry Solly and the Working Men’s Club and Institute Union

Founder of the Working Men’s Club and Institute Union and a great propagandist for clubs, Henry Solly provided a much needed conceptual clarity to the notion of club work. He also was an important advocate for the extension of working-class political rights and helped to set up the Charity Organization Society. contents: introduction · involvement […]

Richard Henry Tawney, fellowship and adult education

Richard Henry Tawney was a noted economic historian, democratic socialist and educator. Here we make a brief assessment of his contribution as an adult educationalist – and his strong belief in fellowship. contents: introduction and life · equality· association and the dispersion of power · social function · democratic citizenship · fellowship · adult education […]

Walking informal education – exploring developments in central London

Walking informal education. Walking in central London we can find many places associated with key figures and moments in the making of informal education. Explore them through a virtual (or real) walk. The walk: Embankment • The Strand • Covent Garden • Trafalgar Square • St Martin’s Lane and Five Dials • Soho and Chinatown • […]

Colin Ward: the ‘gentle’ anarchist and informal education

Colin Ward: the ‘gentle’ anarchist and informal education. Often described as ‘Britain’s most famous anarchist’, Colin Ward’s political beliefs provoked and inspired his publications, as well as his long-held concern with place and social justice. Here, Sarah Mills explores the contribution of Colin Ward and the significance of his work for those involved in informal […]

Basil Yeaxlee, lifelong learning and informal education

A key, but overlooked figure, Basil Yeaxlee wrote the first book on lifelong education; argued that informal education was as significant as formal; and explored the spiritual nature of education contents: introduction and life · the YMCA and the huts · the 1919 report · spiritual values in adult education · Basil Yeaxlee, lifelong education and […]

Young people, informal education and association

Young people, informal education and association. In this paper, compiled for the Young People and Informal Education Conference held at the University of Strathclyde in September 2001, Mark K. Smith argues for the recovery of association as a central theme in work with young people, and the need to re-embrace the notion of the club. […]