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  • Writer's pictureThe RYSE Team

Launching our new project intention and celebrating a 100th birthday

“The more we become able to become a child again, to keep ourselves childlike, the more we can understand that because we love the world and we are open to understanding, to comprehension, that when we kill the child in us, we are no longer.”

Very closely coinciding with the birthdays of 3 of our team members in Radical Restart, the 19th September 2021 would have been the 100th Birthday of one of our inspirations, Paulo Friere. We are taking this opportunity to express solidarity with the ‘Latin American and Caribbean Campaign in Defense of the Legacy of Paulo Freire’ to launch our new education project (and hopefully make a birthday cake)

During September we will be hosting an event in Stroud where we be setting up a base to work from, and open an invitation for friends and colleagues around the country to join a learning circle hosted online for us to learn together how we can work with ‘Popular Education’ tools and techniques

We have a longer term vision and intention for this, we want to create a physical space for learning together between groups and organisations, connected to a movement-wide learning community, and making space to learn from movement elders and resistance histories. Broadly this means to us that we want to:

  • Learn together with different groups, organizations and movements

  • Not tell anyone what to do but learn together from our experiences and find solutions together

  • Support the learning already happening in day-to-day activism and organising

Stay tuned for more updates on how to participate, we are in the process of deciding a name and defining long term structures.

Our ideas for this is nothing new, its all been inspired by what others have been and are doing around the world and this is what they have been saying about education in social movements

  • The Florestan Fernandes National School in Brazil was initiated by the landless workers movement (MST):

    • “We are learning with peasants leagues, with other organizations preceding the MST in, for example, this question of the study of the movement in itself, … , in the question of work, of the direction towards not being an individual but towards being a collective. Then there is a series of things which the movement were developing, were learning with other organisations which are present in our activities”

  • The Highlander Folk School was started in the early 1930’s in Tennessee and played a big role in the trade union and civil rights movement, with an ethos of:

    • “Highlander is our base, but if you try to do something and need some help, we will respond to your request for help. We won't go into anybody's community or organization as an expert, but we will come in and try to help you with your problem” - Myles Horton

  • From the book Learning from the ground up, global perspectives on social movements and knowledge production we found these quotes:

    • “Thus, popular education needs to be seen as not only involving formal educational events, but also a part of much bigger processes, which, though appearing informal and arbitrary, is very deliberate. In this definition, both popular education events and the actual practice of strategy development and protest actions can be seen as examples of popular education, whereby the school (the social movement) learns”

    • “There are enough unpleasant facts and human squalor that if information transfer was the only thing required (the “banking” model, as Freire put it), we should already have reached a point of widespread rebellion. But in our experience, participants who become mere receivers of unpleasant facts can become disempowered or feel more hopeless about prospects for change than to begin with. Workers not permitted to be participants in critical reflection on their reality are not likely to be agents for change. Resistance is personal and social, and requires slipping outside the “quantitative box” into which we so easily, unconsciously, and compliantly fit. … What is the purpose of workers' education if not to assist people to act on their collective wisdom and experience?” -

If this sounds like something you and people you work with would be interested in supporting, relating to, or just have a cup of tea and a zoom call to chat about, then do get in touch with us at, we are always happy to have some good conversations with people who have similar inspirations!

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