Everybody is a Ragged University; the idea cannot be owned by just one person, it is shared by each person. Anyone can create their own free education events or develop a local learning community by putting on simple events for free. It is not very complicated and highly rewarding finding people to talk about what people love and what people have invested their time in.
Independently owned pubs and cafes are often very supportive, also libraries; and in my experience they offer the spaces for free. Ragged University events dont carry corporate branding, nor happen in institutional spaces. They are informal and each person might bring an item of food to share so that breaking bread is at the centre of the night.
Develop a curiosity in people’s stories and what they have to share on all matters. Ragged events avoid the institutional spaces of Politics, Religion and Corporacy. As a guideline, as long as the content of the talk sits within the boundaries of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is suitable content.
The events should be organised as a friendly social events rather than regimented lectures – although the speaker may do what they like within about an hour. Take two speakers – an hour a piece including questions and answers, conversation, and food in between.
Arranged more like a rolling house party than a conference, because the space is private to that informal community, so no scrutinizing of the room for measurement or collecting data of who is attending takes place. The room is private to the people in that room. The events are always free and open to everyone.
Use available infrastructure and common technology to build the infrastructures to support informal learning communities which shape and define themselves. It can be as simple as running a WordPress blog
Here Are Nine Steps to Creating Events
- Location: Identify a geographic area which has a cluster of independently owned businesses capable of screening a lecture from the internet.
- Investigation: Canvas venues in the area to create a list of interested venues.
- Selection: Decide on an enthusiastic, well-equipped starting venue willing to stage the first event.
- Subject: Find people keen to give a talk on the Subject that they are passionate about.
- Speakers: Identify two people who are keen to give a talk on their subject, to be billed speakers on a specific date. As a rolling event, people will sometimes want follow-up events. Over a certain size of response, more dates/ venues can be opened out to suit everyone involved.
- Resource: Approach billed speakers to choose an online lecture or resource which fits with their selected topic. From this they might present an excerpt to introduce their talk.
- Structure: Ask billed speakers to create bullet points and talk through their presentation. A handout on the talk ideally will be produced and put on the website archive and in the annual publication – if possible.
- WordPress or Brochure: With a venue, date and speakers decided and planned, a brochure or wordpress is to be published as a flyer-catalogue of information to hand out as resources, promoters or independent venues and posters.
- Marketing: A website like a free Brochures are to be printed and distributed in the venues. Target marketing will be focused upon students, teachers, educationalists and enthusiasts
There are lots of similar projects and ideas out there. If you want to do one yourself in your own locale, you can get a guide to creating your own free university from Melbourne Free University here: