Enhancing learning and teaching about mental health across the disciplines
Ragged University began with four people thinking about how ideas behind the Ragged Schools initiative might be applied in a Higher Education context. It takes learning outside the walls of formal higher education institutions. The project has at its core a belief in the value of creating opportunities for people, who love what they do, to share what moves them. It is founded on the idea that universal education, free of charge, is a basic human right. The Ragged University project draws on many traditions of free education, adapting them to local contexts.
Ragged University events take place in informal spaces - those which belong to, and are anchors for, communities. At the moment it operates in Manchester and Edinburgh, though has the potential to expand. Ragged University events provide a forum for knowledge - of many and varied kinds - to be shared on equal terms. Meeting places are freely and highly accessible, have food and drink available and are relaxed and cheery. They include libraries, cafes, pubs and community centres. Ragged University events are open to all and aim to encourage dialogue, with everyone encouraged to contribute. Learning is all around us and flows through us, throughout our lives. The Ragged University makes such learning visible, proving opportunities for it to be celebrated, shared and built upon.
Ragged University has a website which provides a flavour of its activities and events and hosts resources. Amongst these are a list of other free education projects around the world, and the Mad World Archive - a collection of critical perspectives in the area of Mad Studies. As with many of Ragged's resources, this grew out of a talk - in that case given by Steve Tilley. Formed by Daniel Zambas, Ragged Music takes the Ragged philosophy and applies it to the music industry, with the aim of involving the musical arts in social capital and collaboration.
Recent blog postings on the Ragged University site include one on the forthcoming Asylum conference and party (to be attended by 'Bob Dylan'); a short provocation by Gordon Asher on being and becoming critically academically literate, as part of a recent event on 'the porous university'; and a piece on the importance of music within society. Visit the website to discover more.
How can you or your students get involved?
If you are wondering whether a contribution will be suitable, refer to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which provides the parameters that the project works within.
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