Wednesday, 7 December 2011

I predict an education riot

I have told my students about this seminar on the Summer 2011 riots:

I Predict A Riot
Professor Ken Worpole, Cities Institute, LMBS, will be presenting at a seminar on what the riots mean for our city. He will talk on 'Public Space, Public Health and Urban Connectivity' and how the quality of the spaces where people live reflect the lives of the communities they serve.
The seminar followed by a panel discussion will be held on Thursday 8 December from 5pm to 6.30pm at: Unit 4 Union Wharf, 23 Wenlock Road, London N1 7SB.  RSVP

My view is that the riots were also about the learning spaces that we inhabit and that - especially in London - these were the great EDUCATION riots of 2011. 

Research from the child poverty action group in the 1980s indicated that if you wanted more families from non-privileged backgrounds to stay on at school, maintenance grants were necessary and lo in the twinkling of a couple of decades EMA were born. By 2011 you could pass an inner city secondary school and over hear the students talking about university: and not just as an abstract concept - but in terms of which university and what course they were considering. It seems that the very millisecond that this sort of thinking occurred, EMA was scrapped, fees shot up to £9K per year... and riots broke out.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Freire, 'favela', slum clearance and the demonising of the white w/class

This week one of my Educational responses to refugees students delivered a wonderful interactive workshop on second language acquisition drawing on the work of Paolo Freire (  
She illustrated his method by exploring the word FAVELA (slum) - and since then I have watched Unsung Town Re-visited - Gareth Malone going back to South Okhey... There was such a powerful connection in my mind with the work of Freire and Malone - and attitudes towards refugees and the (white) working class.

So - make time to watch this ‘educational response to refugees’ (before Monday 5th December 2011 or find it on the web) 

South Okhey is what you make when you have slum clearance without consultation with and not ‘for’ the people you clear. After the war people from the East End of London were moved to this hidden estate – and rendered silent and invisible in the process. Subsequent re-demonising of the white working class have made people like this the only ‘legitimate’ targets of middle class contempt and derision – which is why I have called these people refugees and this an educational response. 

If the original Choir - Unsung Town is out there - watch that too!