Learn to Act Workshop@SSoA


Learn to Act is a one-day, international workshop to explore the growing movement of alternative education projects taking root across our communities. We’re bringing together a group of practitioners and teachers from across Europe, to ask:

How do you set up an alternative school to engage communities? What’s the value of informal learning and teaching? Can we understand these practices in terms of a civic pedagogy? How can we teach each other if we don’t speak the same language, if we have different cultural and social backgrounds? How such pedagogy can gain recognition?

We’ll be showcasing projects as diverse as container universities, refugee classrooms and rural peer-to-peer learning networks. And we’ll be talking about our experiences running one such project: the Eco-Nomadic School, a trans-European network of local projects, across 7 countries, during which we have been teaching and learning from each other since 2007.



11.00 – 11.45

Doina Petrescu (University of Sheffield School of Architecture/AAA Paris) and Kathrin Böhm (MyVillages/Company Drinks) introduce the day and the Eco-Nomadic School.

11.45 – 12.30

Keynote from Ruth Morrow (Queens University Belfast) on learning outside the formal school environment.


1.30 – 3.30

Short talks on civic pedagogy including:

  • Lise Autogena (Sheffield Hallam University/Christiana Research in Residence, Copenhagen) on setting up an education programme in a self organised community. (TBC)
  • Martin Parker (School of Organisation, University of Leicester) on ‘What’s wrong with the business school?’
  • Julia Udall (Studio Polpo/Sheffield Hallam University) on solidarity economies and ecologies
  • Viviana Checchia, Public Engagement Curator at the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow


4.00 – 5.30

Hands-on workshops on the wider context of alternative education in our communities. 10 minute presentation, 40 minutes discussion, 10 minutes summary.

  • Meike Schalk, KTH School of Architecture, Stockholm, asks ‘How can we develop civic skills for strengthening democratic values?’
  • Paul Stewart, Alternative Art College, Middlesborough, asks ‘Are alternative art schools just a proliferation of the neoliberal single market?’
  • Valeria Graziano, Middlesex University, London, & Janna Graham Goldsmiths, University of London, ask ‘What would the post-capitalist university feel like?’
  • Matt Weston, Spacemakers/The Brighton School, Brighton, asks ‘Are Universities Doomed?’
  • Silviu Medesan & Laura Panait, La Terenuri, Cluj, ask ‘Can informal education create civic groups able to advocate for their right to build the city?’
  • Katharina Moebus, Designer/Researcher, Berlin, asks ‘How can we engage a truly diverse audience in alternative learning spaces?’
  • Steyn Bergs, formerly of Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory.
  • Olivier Leclerq, Actes & Cités, Paris
  • Jörg Stollman, Institute for Architecture, Technical University of Berlin,
  • Bence Komlósi, Swiss Federal Institute of Architecture, Zurich

You are invited to actively take part in peer-to-peer workshops we will be running during this day.

5.30 – 6.00

Reconvene for summaries of workshops and closing remarks.

6.15 – 8.00

Communal dinner in Foodhall, a local social space and food-waste kitchen. All welcome.




Professor Doina Petrescu
Kathrin Bohm
Tom James

The event is supported by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union and SSoA – University of Sheffield

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