What might the Third University be[come]?

24 Mar

The Third University met today upstairs in Coffee Republic, Granby Street. It opened up with a call for “free education with every hot drink!” The attendees asked themselves why they had decided to enter that space. What did they want the Third University to be/do? Some words emerged, which might congeal as: a mission statement; priority action items; critical success factors; workpackages; project initiation plans. Or just stuff.

These words included the following:

  • “value is in the moment, we need knowledge to inform that moment”;
  • “this needs to be the big society in action, against the commodification of our sharing”;
  • “In this space there is no should”;
  • “No one has ever done any learning while I’ve been teaching, except me. I want to change that configuration at The Third University”;
  • “a space for alternative ideas and doing stuff”;
  • “a place where some other configuration of learning might happen”;
  • “about consensus education”;
  • “about what we want to be taught”;
  • “it’s about the knowledge that flows between people”.

From a follow-on discussion the following things emerged.

  • “This needs to be a lovely space for all”.
  • “Our aim is not to party politicise.” In this space we might leave our baggage behind. We are against tribes.
  • Talk. Action. Praxis. An active pedagogy, and not one based on debt.
  • We need an anti-curriculum and flows of knowledge.
  • We need a space for resistance and agitation. And one for sitting down and discussing.
  • We would like to move beyond the tyranny of time.
  • We would like to build classes and a general intellect. We would like to grow our world, and our technologies are a part of that.
  • This might be a space for symposia and critique. It might be a space for group-based critiques realised as live and lived projects.
  • We might begin by defining what are our real problems? What might be done to solve those problems?
  • We do not wish to recreate hegemony. We do not wish to develop truths that we export elsewhere.
  • This might be prosthesis to our regular lives. It might help us to untangle our identities and relationships. It is not an institutionalised project with a set of demands.
  • This space might be a creative response to our situation. An ephemeral, temporary, autonomous zone. It might sit against what teachers are expected to do, and what students are expected to consume.
  • This might be a space of freedom. Against artificial, demeaning constraints.
  • This might be a space that helps in the project to mainstream resistance.

There might be more, as we critique our social factory.

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