FIFTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE POPULAR EDUCATION NETWORK
ANNOUNCEMENT AND FIRST CALL
The Fifth International Conference of the Popular Education Network (PEN) will take place at the University of Edinburgh, from Friday 23 to Sunday 25 April 2010, hosted by the Department of Higher and Community Education. This conference builds on the success of previous PEN conferences held in Edinburgh (2000), Barcelona (2002), Braga (2004) and Maynooth (2007).
The Popular Education Network now has about 160 members in 60 institutions in 25 countries. Membership of the network is free, and participation in PEN conferences is open to all who subscribe to the broad values and purposes of the network (see below).
The language of the conference will be English, but there will opportunities for informal translation as appropriate. Non-English speakers are welcome to attend and participate fully.
CONFERENCE PROGRAMME The conference is not organised around any particular theme – although certain key concerns may well emerge. For example:
· The effects of globalisation on our work; · Sustaining political commitment and ideological coherence in hard times; · Developing alliances and strategic collaborations; · Radicalising research and making it ‘really useful’; · Contesting managerialism and the culture of the accountant; · Respecting diversity without abandoning solidarity; · Exploiting relative autonomy; · Working with progressive social movements; · Developing curriculum and pedagogy; · Using ICT in subversive and counter-hegemonic ways; · Engaging dialectically with the politics of policy; · Developing more democratic, creative and expressive ways of working.
The conference will be seminar/workshop-based, with the emphasis on discussion, dialogue and debate rather than simply the formal presentation of academic/research papers. In this spirit of collegiality we invite participants to present academic papers, curriculum materials, or accounts of unfinished research in progress. Please respond by completing the return slip at the end of this message and emailing it back to us by 26th February 2010. We would also welcome ideas or suggestions about anything in particular you would like to see in the conference programme - or you would wish to offer.
The conference is an opportunity for university-based teachers and researchers, and others involved in higher education, who share a common interest in popular education – many of whom work in considerable isolation in their own institutions – to meet, exchange ideas, learn from each other and enjoy some much needed solidarity and conviviality.
We hope that PEN members far and wide will be interested in participating in this conference. Please also feel free to pass on information about it to anyone else who might be interested in attending. For further information about the network and previous conferences, see the attached paper. The conference is open to all who work in higher education and who are willing to subscribe in general terms to the Popular Education Network statement of intent:
Popular education is:
• Rooted in the real interests and struggles of ordinary people • Overtly political and critical of the status quo • Committed to progressive social and political change in the interests of a fairer and more egalitarian society.
Popular education has the following characteristics:
• Its curriculum comes out of the concrete experience and material interests of people in communities of resistance and struggle • Its pedagogy is collective, focused primarily on group as distinct from individual learning and development • It attempts to forge a direct connection between education and social change.
If you are interested in a fuller account of this particular view of popular education and its relation to higher education, see Crowther J, Galloway V and Martin I (eds) (2005) Popular Education: Engaging the Academy – International Perspectives Leicester, UK: National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (ISBN 1 86201 209 1), which contains several chapters based on presentations at previous PEN conferences.
NOT-FOR-PROFIT CONFERENCE As in the past, the conference will be organised on a strictly non-commercial basis. No one will make any money out of it! Local costs will therefore be kept to an absolute minimum. The conference fee is £50. This covers room costs, paper work and food/refreshments while the conference is in session. Details about booking accommodation will be sent to those who express interest in participating. Participants are expected to make their own travel arrangements.
We look forward to hearing from you – and to seeing you in Edinburgh this April! RETURN SLIP
This is to confirm that I would like to attend the Fourth International Conference of the Popular Education Network at the University of Edinburgh from 23 to 25 April 2010.
If you would like to lead a seminar discussion, run a workshop or take responsibility for a session for any other purpose, please give brief details:
If you have any ideas/suggestions about what you would like to see in the conference programme, please make them here:
If you can speak a language in addition to English and could help with informal translation, please indicate language(s):
Special requirements (e.g., diet, mobility, access etc)
MARXISM IN CULTURE: PROGRAMME FOR SPRING TERM 2010
Friday 22 January Discussion of the film Venezuela from Below Gail Day (University of Leeds)
Friday 12 Febuary Marxism and Cosmopolitanism Gilbert Achcar (School of Oriental & African Studies)
Friday 5 March Advertising and the Politics of Aesthetics Michael Sayeau (University College London)
Friday 26 March Shaftesbury's Theory of Art: Substance and Identity Richard Checketts (Royal College of Art)
All seminars start at 5.30pm, and are held in the Wolfson Room (unless otherwise indicated) at the Institute of Historical Research in Senate House, Malet Street, London. The seminar closes at 7.30pm and retires to the bar.
Organisers: Matthew Beaumont, Warren Carter, Gail Day, Steve Edwards, Maggie Gray, Owen Hatherley, Andrew Hemingway, Esther Leslie, David Mabb, Antigoni Memou, Nina Power, Pete Smith, & Alberto Toscano.
Dr. Susan George is an internationally known scholar-activist and “alter-globalist”; the author of a dozen widely translated books; honorary president of ATTAC-France, an organisation that campaigns for international taxation and other alternatives to neoliberal globalisation. She is Board President of the Transnational Institute (TNI), an international fellowship of scholar-activists with headquarters in Amsterdam that carries out cutting-edge analysis on critical global issues, builds alliances with grassroots social movements and develops proposals for a more sustainable and just world.
Victor Rikowski – Guitar & Vocals Alex Lowther-Harris – Guitar, Banjo, Accordion & Vocals Louie Ashton-Butler – Vocals Nicholas Frost – Violin Jack Rennie – Bass Guitar William J Roberts – Hand Percussion
In the autumn of 2008, Aaron Ledbury suggested to me that some kind of jam should take place between two musicians; namely, him and me. I knew he played the ukulele and he knew that I played the guitar and bass. A month or two later, Alex Lowther-Harris, who was a banjo, guitar & synthesiser extraordinaire, joined us. We began to do some general jamming, with me on the bass, Alex on banjo and Aaron on ukulele. It was around winter 2008/spring 2009 that we began to make it a regular thing. Sunday was our compulsory weekly jam. For the rest of the year we were trying to figure out what our band/music was about and what we wanted to get out of the whole thing. We recorded quite a few of our jam sessions on Dictaphone. We were working on a big repertoire of songs; songs without lyrics in a band without a singer. Most of the songs were a bunch of chords which Aaron would jam/improvise over occasionally, with Alex and me occasionally having our own time in the spotlight. In one song I played flute and Aaron played harmonica and Alex played guitar. We often swapped, switched and sometimes even modified our instruments. Our style was a kind-of bluegrass, jamming and, predominantly, blues style. But without any singer, lyrics or main melody for all of our songs we were stuck for where to go next. But we didn’t really care. We enjoyed playing music and having fun with it. Alex and Aaron wrote the songs/chords together and I wrote the baselines along with their ideas.
Late at night one day the three of us went down to the beach on the Menai Straight between Bangor and Anglesey. It was a stone beach with huge boulders and calm water. It was very dark and very cold but it was also very beautiful. We played for about half an hour before complaining about how cold our hands were. We carried on playing nonetheless. We then noticed that the moon was quarter full. It was in memory of that magical night that the band then became Cold Hands & Quarter Moon.
The academic year came to a close. Over the summer holidays I began writing songs again. I hadn’t written a song in years and it was nice to start again. I wrote them purely for my own enjoyment but when I came back to university and played a couple of them to Aaron he said he really liked them and that he wanted to work on them for the band. From then on the band had developed a whole new perspective. We were a band that did songs. The style of the songs maintained the original blues ethic, but also added in folk and even a few punk and country influences. The band line up began to change rapidly from then on. At the beginning of the year it was just me and Aaron in the band; me on guitar and vocals and Aaron on bass. Alex didn’t seem to like the new direction of the band, so then it was just me and Aaron.
However, Aaron and I both knew that we needed more musicians/singers in order to get the band to be how we wanted it to be. The next person to join the band was Nicholas Frost, who is a really good violinist and plays for the Bangor University Orchestra. He did a great job with the songs that we had. When Nick came to his first practice he brought along with him a guy known as Louie, who is a very good singer and recently (December 2009) performed a vocal solo in the Bangor University Winter Concert. I had been thinking for a week or two about finding myself another female singer but then suddenly it struck the band as obvious; why didn’t Louie join the band? We had a second singer.
Eventually Alex came back into the band playing banjo, guitar and, very brilliantly, the accordion. It was done: the band line-up was complete. Alex began to write songs too, and writing them very quickly. We began to practice regularly and for long hours of the day, much to our housemates’ annoyance. Just when we were getting pretty tight and ready to tour the pubs and open-mike’s of Bangor, disaster struck. Aaron was being thrown out of university because of his financial difficulties concerning last year’s rent. We had lost our bassist, the bassist who had learnt and written all the bass lines for the new songs by me and Alex along with the couple of cover songs we did.
We had to find a new bassist. Jack Rennie was the next person to join the band in autumn 2009 as the bassist. We began practicing again and re-learning the songs we had already done. Before too long we were performing songs in the pubs and Open-Mike’s in Bangor. First we performed in the ‘Bell Vue’ (which was my personal favourite), and the next one we did was at ‘The Underground’ or ‘The Venue’ on Bangor High Street. The next was Open-Mike at ‘The Greek’. We did a session in the recording studio soon after that, which I was using as coursework for my music degree.
For quite some time I was thinking about having a drummer and Jack Rennie had an electric drum kit. I knew how rare/difficult it is for a band to get a drummer and so this was likely to be the only opportunity of having one but, having realized that it wouldn’t suit the aesthetics of the band, I stuck with what we had. But I still wanted some percussion in the band. I went down to the shop and bought some bongos, a tambourine and an egg shaker. Soon after this William Roberts wanted to join the band as our percussionist. So now we’ve settled for the six of us and look forward to recording more songs in the studio and performing more folk/blues/country songs in pubs and open-mike sessions.
Cold Hands & Quarter Moon
You can hear some of the band’s session on YouTube:
I am a Visiting Fellow in the College of Social Science at the University of Lincoln. I was previously a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Education at Anglia Ruskin University (2014-15). Prior to that, I was previously a Senior Lecturer in Education Studies at the University of Northampton. My interests are in Marxist educational theory, the future of the human and social time. The Rikowski family web site, The Flow of Ideas can be found at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk,
My Wordpress blog, 'All that is Solid for Glenn Rikowski' is at: http://rikowski.wordpress.com,
Glenn Rikowski @ Academia: http://independent.academia.edu/GlennRikowski