Saul Alinsky, community organizing and rules for radicals

Saul Alinsky, community organizing and rules for radicals. Saul Alinsky’s work is an important reference point for thinking about community organizing and community development. His books Reveille for Radicals (1946) and Rules for Radicals (1971) were both classic explorations of organizing and remain popular today. Mike Seal examines Alinsky’s continuing relevance to the activities of […]

Henrietta Barnett, social reform and community building

Henrietta Barnett, social reform and community building. Henrietta Barnett is, perhaps, best known for the development of Hampstead Garden suburb, but she – with Samuel Barnett – was an important social reformer. Their most notable innovation was the university settlement – but they were also active in other arenas. contents: introduction and life · toynbee […]

Augusto Boal, animation and education

Augusto Boal at Riverside Church in New York City 2008. Picture by Jonathan McIntosh Augusto Boal, animation and education. Known for his work around forum theatre and the theatre of the oppressed, Boal has interesting things to say about animation and education Temporary page In Boal’s work around forum theatre, invisible theatre and the theatre […]

Mary Carpenter, reformatory schools and education

Mary Carpenter, reformatory schools and education. Mary Carpenter’s path-breaking work on the experiences of children in trouble – and the education that should be offered them was a landmark in nineteenth-century educational and social analysis. Her realism, tolerance, and good humour struck a particularly liberal note. We explore the main principles and methods of her […]

Citizenship, youth work and democratic renewal

Citizenship, youth work and democratic renewal. Tony Jeffs examines current and historic concerns with citizenship within British youth work and the direction of government policy. He argues that informal educators must be wary of pseudo-democracy and work to cultivate small pockets of genuine deliberate democracy wherein citizenship survives and from which it will range forth. […]

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 […]

Charles Dickens and informal education

Charles Dickens and informal education. Already the most famous English novelist when Victoria came to the throne, he continued to chronicle his age and became an important facilitator of self-education. Charles Dickens (1812-70).  Critical success came to Dickens quite early in life. The Pickwick Papers was published in 20 monthly installments beginning in 1836; Oliver […]

Paulo Freire: dialogue, praxis and education

Paulo Freire, dialogue, praxis and education. Perhaps the most influential thinker about education in the late twentieth century, Paulo Freire has been particularly popular with informal educators with his emphasis on dialogue and his concern for the oppressed. contents: introduction · contribution · critique · further reading and references · links Paulo Freire (1921 – […]

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 […]

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 […]

Michael Newman, adult learning, social action and activist education

Michael Newman, adult learning, social action and activist education. Michael Newman’s work and writing has, for many years, offered an important, grounded and refreshing alternative to much of what has passed as the mainstream in adult education and lifelong learning. In this piece we explore his contribution and the possibilities it offers for ‘activist educators’. […]

Julius Nyerere, lifelong learning and education

Julius Nyerere, lifelong learning and education. One of Africa’s most respected figures, Julius Nyerere (1922 – 1999) was a politician of principle and intelligence. Known as Mwalimu or teacher he had a vision of education and social action that was rich with possibility. contents: introduction · ujamma, socialism and self reliance · education for self-reliance […]

Education in Robert Owen’s new society: the New Lanark institute and schools

Education in Robert Owen’s new society: the New Lanark institute and schools. Robert Owen’s educational venture at New Lanark helped to pioneer infant schools and was an early example of what we now recognize as community schooling. Yet education was only a single facet of a more powerful social gospel which already preached community building […]

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 · […]

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 […]

Ellen Ranyard (“LNR”), Bible women and informal education

Ellen Ranyard (“LNR”), Bible women and informal education. Known for using innovative methods, Ellen Raynard brought about the first group of paid social workers in England and pioneered the first district nursing programme in London. Contents: introduction · Bible women · Bible nurses · management and organization · conclusion · further reading and references Let […]

Residential settlements and social change

Residential settlements and social change. Luke Geoghegan explores the importance of the residential concept; its past, present and potential future with reference to Toynbee Hall. contents:  historical context · the residential concept · the relevance today · developments at Toynbee Hall · references · Luke Geoghegan The creation of residential communities to achieve social change […]

Nawal El Saadawi – a creative and dissident life

Nawal El Saadawi – a creative and dissident life. Brian Belton and Clare Dowding explore Nawal El Saadawi’s argument that dissidence is a path to creativity – through which inequalities can be challenged and social and political change can occur. contents:  life · self-government · colonialism and slavery · religion · words · life · conclusion · bibliography · web sites · authors  The […]

Jane Elizabeth Senior and work with girls and young women

Jane Elizabeth Senior and work with girls and young women. Jane Senior (1828-1877) (also known as Mrs Nassau Senior) was the first woman civil servant (the inspector of workhouses). She was also an important social reformer – helping to found the British Red Cross, the Girls’ Friendly Society and the Metropolitan Association for Befriending Young […]

Space for the people

This article by Octavia Hill, included in Homes of the London Poor (1883), outlines her case for the need for all people to be able to access space: places to sit in, places to play in, places to stroll in, and places to spend a day in. Octavia Hill (1838-1912) is remembered, chiefly, for her […]

Frances Herbert Stead, Robert Browning Hall and the fight for old age pensions

Frances Herbert Stead, Robert Browning Hall and the fight for old age pensions. Herbert Stead (1857-1928) – the Congregationalist minister who established and ran Robert Browning Hall (a settlement in Walworth, London) – was a key figure in the fight for old age pensions in Britain. We explore his contribution both to the development of […]

University and social settlements and social action centres

University and social settlements and social action centres: What are settlements and social action centres doing today? How did they develop from university and social settlements, and educational settlements? contents: introduction · Toynbee Hall and early British settlements · developments in the United States · educational settlements · the disappearance of residence and the rise […]

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 […]

George Williams and the YMCA

George Williams and the YMCA. George Williams and the small group of other young men who set up the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) had a great belief in what they were doing – but they probably have been amazed at the scale and scope of the worldwide movement that emerged. Here we examine the […]

Peter Willmott – community, family and public policy

Peter Willmott – community, family and public policy. Peter Willmott (1923-2000) played an important role in deepening appreciation of the experiences of people in families and local communities. As a sociologist, researcher and communicator he was able to speak to some of the most important concerns of his time. We assess his work and contribution. […]

Robert A. Woods: Settlements, neighbourhoods and associations

Robert A. Woods: Settlements, neighbourhoods and associations. Robert Archey Woods played a pivotal role in the introduction and development of university and social settlements in the United States of America. In this brief assessment we outline his contribution. contents: introduction · conclusion · bibliography · how to cite this article Robert Archey Woods (1865-1925) was […]

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 […]

Michael Young: community, change and social innovation

Michael Young: community, change and social innovation. Michael Young made a profound contribution to social reform in Britain during the second half of the twentieth century. The innovative organizations he helped establish in the fields of education, consumer rights and health services have touched the lives of many people. Some of Michael Young’s proposals such […]