How can community networks create empowering learning spaces?

Knowledge empowers people to express themselves. Politically, this gives women the power to demand change to move towards a more equitable society. However, the traditional institutionalisation of learning has developed to control access to knowledge and restrict expression within learning.

By proposing a learning network which connects rural villages across the Eden area of Cumbria, this project subverts an exclusive education system. Having developed feminist learning characteristics, these are applied to adult learning, an area that is under supported in rural areas, such as Eden. The project is supported by my personal interest in learning networks in Cumbria, as I will be training to teach secondary Art and Design there next year.

Three typologies of learning spaces are proposed: new, plugin and mobile. The project develops the plugin learning typology at a cricket pavilion in Threlkeld.

The proposed design balances four unique adult learning spaces. The cricket pavilion is transformed as a space for sport, community and learning. Supervision for children is facilitated through the community space whilst parents attend classes, making life-long learning convenient within the community.

Central to the design are the feminist learning characteristics. These were inspired by nine women, prominent throughout history. The proposed learning spaces encourage messy, active learning that is suppressed in the traditional classroom. Adult learning is proposed as aspirational, a place outside of competition and hierarchy to build confidence, subverting the new proposed spaces. Inspiration and excitement should feature in every learning space. I embed this principle into my own Art classroom.