Frequently Asked Questions

There is a lot to say about Ragged University, and still yet a lot to be discovered through it as a free and open education project. The website is a public record of what has been done in terms of events, an archive of material written, a tool to help identify other free projects and events, and also an open notebook on thoughts about topics and issues which are relevant.

As ever, a frequently asked question page is helpful, so here it is… Hopefully straight forward answers to the questions have been asked about what the ‘Ragged University’ project is.  These simple answers have deeper conversations behind them, so we hope you will read more about the project on the website.

The website is the public workbook for coordinating and advertising free and informal learning events. It is also created for the purposes of linking people with helpful knowledge resources and learning communities all over the world, as well as being a platform in which people can share what they have created. If you have a question which is not answered below, please drop in an email on the contact page.


What is the history of the Ragged University ?

This project is simply an extension of all free traditions of community education and knowledge building. You can read more about these on the website History Page and also read about the Ragged University on the Project Page


Who is Ragged University for ?

Everyone who believes they CAN benefit.  CAN represents key criteria for healthy, happy living. Curious, Active and Networked ! (Thanks Ray 😉


How is the Ragged University able to encourage adults with caring responsibilities to get involved ?

What we do is defined by how many people offer to pitch in. Start by having a conversation and see what we can do. Certainly the website is a means of sharing which is open to everyone; certainly caring needs need to be met with a real rather than percieved understanding; help us have these conversations and build from there


Where do events happen ?

At the moment in 2016 the project is organised in Edinburgh and Manchester, in pubs, cafes, art galleries and libraries (social spaces); anywhere which can be used for free and which is non-institutional


Does it cost to come to events ?

No all events are always free – this is definitive of a Ragged University event


Who can attend the events ?

Anyone can; they are open to everyone on a nice-to-be-nice basis


Who can do a talk ?

Everyone can, you just have to love what you are talking about


There is food at events; do I have to bring something ?

No, you dont have to bring food to share but you are welcome to as it adds to the party


What kind of food contribution should I bring to share ?

Bring the food you enjoy eating; this way we can all discover new things or enjoy old favourites


Does Ragged University ask for donations ?

Contribute what you feel comfortable to the project so more events can take place. No money is involved at all, in any events; but if you want to donate equipment or anything which enables the community to do more it is gratefully received


How do you deal with eroneous or misinformation being disseminated ?

This is about engaging in the opportunity to listen and learn, and through conversation compare thoughts. This is an open community of peers where we share and discuss, developing our creative and constructive critical thinking rather than setting our selves up as authorities


Does Ragged University record any findings of things learned or use outcomes and measurements ?

Outcomes and measurements are invasive and impose on the private and personal spaces we create – so no, we dont put people under a microscope. The project is based on what people choose to create and share


Are the talks and events recorded and made available afterwards ?

Yes, they are audio recorded and some filmed; these are made available according to how much time and volunteer support there is to process them as online media


Is it only talks that Ragged University does or are there other events or opportunities ?

No, events like walks, filmscreenings, and music events happen. It depends if someone offers to do something


Are bigger events planned like festivals, concerts or the like ?

We collectively do what we can with what we have when we can; with more people and resources yes !


Do you do film talks ?

Yes, we have done many and in 2016 filmscreenings and conversations about them are planned


Who can blog on the website ?

Anyone is free to share what you know by publishing on the website


Is the project funded ?

No, it is based on people volunteering to make things happen and since its beginnings it has been done without funding on a volunteer basis and collaboration. Donations of equipment, time, enthusiasm and good company are the practical foundations


Will the project go for funding ?

Yes, happy to go for funding as long as it does not compromise the personal and intimate spaces in which the project operates. We have to think carefully about what formalities are introduced so that how we ensure the future of the project keeps true to the informal and interpersonal community which is the creative soul of the activities


How long has it been going ?

The first events happened in 2010


Who can organise events ?

Everyone is welcome to become organisers in a step by step process


Do you have to volunteer ?

No, everyone is free to choose what level of involvement they have


How do we need people to volunteer ?

Organising events, doing talks, social media, writing for the website, press releases, podcasting, filming, music, raising awareness; largely, whatever you think you can bring to the party


Do we need people to volunteer ?

Yes, the more people who get involved, the more we can do, the more we can learn, the more fun we have


How do you find people who want to do a talk ?

Easy, people ask to do talks and we ask people to do talks.  All it involves is dropping us an email, filling out a speakers information sheet, and coming along on the day


Why free social learning ?

We learn in social ways – simply put. This is about valuing and acknowledging all the ways we learn, not just the formal


Is Ragged education an complete alternative or is it a complement to formal institutional studies ?

Ragged University is a concept of learning and knowledge which is with us all. The informal is an essential complement to the formal, and vice versa. This project is about people creating the opportunities they want to gain from by sharing in an open community


Does Ragged University have a corpus of findings as with other universities ?

The website serves as a platform for people to share what they have created, and the project definitely does encourage people creating knowledge artefacts for the public domain. As a concept though, Ragged University is about appreciating knowledge in all its forms wherever it lay


What is the Ragged University project trying to achieve ?

The Ragged project aspires to bring people together in an open community which is interested in everybody sharing, learning and being supported in achieving what they are interested to achieve; a community which values the knowledge people have and appreciates the perspective people can lend. The project aspires to rekindle the constructive history of the Ragged Schools in the context of higher education, drawing from every social history of free education across cultures and times. In short – Value Knowledgeable People and bring them together


Where does Alex see himself and the project going ?

Well, I see myself as one of the janitors of the project which must not be mistaken as the endeavour of a single person but understood as a community. What the Ragged University for me has meant is the greatest learning journey that I have ever been on. I get to meet and work with so many people who teach me so many things which improves my life in immeasurable ways. I am going to dedicate my life to making sure that other people get the same opportunities and joys that this has afforded me, put my life work into the public domain, and support similar projects and people doing the same things