T. R.(Reg) Batten and Madge Batten, non-directivity and community development

T. R.(Reg) Batten and Madge Batten, non-directivity and community development: The Battens, and particularly T. R. or Reg, introduced the revolutionary concept of non-directivity to the newly emerging discipline of community development in the second part of the 20th century. George Lovell describes their work and lives, and explores the origins of the non-directive concept […]

What is community?

Community. What is community and why should educators be concerned with it? We explore the development of theory around community, and the significance of boundaries, social networks and social norms – and why attention to social capital and communion may be important. contents: approaching the theory of community · community and boundary · community and […]

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 […]

Inside out. rethinking inclusive communities

We reprint the executive summary of this (2003) report by Tom Bentley, Helen McCarthy and  Melissa Mean. It argues that community-based organisations (CBOs) could be damaged by attempts to co-opt them as instruments of government policy; and that a ‘new middle ground’ needs to be created which allows CBOs and statutory services to work together […]

Reclaiming the radical agenda: a critical approach to community development

In this piece Margaret Ledwith argues we need to be be vigilant about changes in the political context and to get better at weaving theory into our practice. We need to be able to explain why we are doing what we are doing at any stage of the community development process, and so creating knowledge-in-action […]

James Gustave Speth, green jazz, social jazz and community development

‘Just doing it’  – not waiting upon national governments and international organizations to take action – has led to a remarkable outpouring of initiatives around the global environmental crisis. We explore James Gustave Speth’s vision of unscripted, voluntary initiatives that are decentralized and improvisational – what he calls ‘jazz’ – and the possibilities for community […]

Explore the theory and practice of community education

What actually is community education? How does it differ from education in the community, or education for community? We explore the theory of community education and some examples of practice using resources from The encyclopedia of pedagogy and informal education. In England, and many other countries, ‘community education’ has tended to be wrapped up with […]

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 […]

George Goetschius, community development and detached youth work

Known for his part in establishing the English Stage Company, the American sociologist George W. Goetschius also made a key contribution to deepening the thinking and practice of community development and detached youth work. We explore his work and life. contents: introduction · life ·  working with unattached youth · working with community groups · conclusion ·  further reading and references · […]

Ruth Kotinsky on adult education and lifelong learning

Ruth Kotinsky on adult education and lifelong learning. Ruth Kotinsky made a number of important contributions to educational thought in the United States. Of particular interest was her exploration of adult education as an aspect of the social scene. Ruth Kotinsky (1903-1955) holds a special, but often overlooked, place in the development of thinking around […]

Eduard C. Lindeman and the meaning of adult education

Eduard C. Lindeman and the meaning of adult education. Perhaps best known today for his work in adult education, Eduard C. Lindeman (1885 – 1953) also wrote one of the first books on community development, was an early explorer of groupwork and worked to extend popular education. In this piece, we explore his life and […]

Neighbourhoods and regeneration – theory, practice, issues

For all the talk of changing lifestyles, neighbourhood still plays a fundamental role in many people’s lives. We explore the nature of neighbourhood, some current issues associated with ‘disadvantaged’ neighbourhoods; and what can be done to regenerate them. Coopers Road Estate, London SE1 – walls removed to deter squatters contents: introduction · growing disquiet about neighbourhoods […]

Poverty and opportunity: 100 years of the Birmingham Settlement

Poverty and opportunity: 100 years of the Birmingham Settlement. John Glasby explores the development of the settlement’s work Established on 29th September 1899 by a group of wealthy female philanthropists, the Birmingham Settlement was initially a women’s settlement, staffed by female residents and working primarily with women and children. Based in one of the most […]

what is praxis?

Few educators speak of praxis. Those that do tend to link it to the work of Freire. Yet while praxis may not be part of many workers overt vocabulary, practice, a pale derivative, is. So what is praxis and why should educators be concerned with it? contents: · theory and practice · practical reasoning · […]

Walking for real

Walk 1: Exploring informal education. The development of thinking and practice through a walk in central London The next guided walk is to be arranged. The walk is free and takes about two and a half hours. The walk will be led by Mark K. Smith. We start at the bandstand in Victoria Embankment Gardens […]

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 • […]