Learning Together is now in its fourth year and our community has grown, and continues to grow, quickly and in many varied and exciting directions.
Thanks to some generous financial support, the Learning Together team in Cambridge has grown and Amy and Ruth have been joined by Gareth, Izzie, Jack and Lisa. Under Jack’s leadership, and with encouragement from former Grendon students, in 2017-18 we are forging a new partnership with HMP Warren Hill. Gareth is leading on the publication of our new biannual newsletter (the first issue was published in November), the accreditation of our mentoring training and the development of our broader programme of learning and progression opportunities outside of individual courses. Izzie is keeping everything in order in our office, and Lisa has taken the reins on administering all the courses.
We are also delivering two new courses, one in partnership with Jesus College, Cambridge, and we are piloting the introduction of a new Learning Together app, as well as an option for our students to accredit their studies with the Open University towards an undergraduate degree. Many of you will know Rebecca who initially worked for us as an administrator – since then she has gone on to lead a brilliant creative arts project in HMP Springhill, inspired by Learning Together and funded by the Arts Council called ‘Drawing Connections’. We are a busy and happy team.
Beyond Cambridge, we continue to actively support our criminal justice and university colleagues in partnership building, sharing experiences, ideas and looking for projects around which to collaborate, inspired by a common vision of ‘Education as the practice of freedom’, grounded in Paolo Freire’s philosophies of teaching and learning. The Learning Network’s first annual report was published earlier this year. With support from the ESRC, we have been able to travel recently to Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico and New York to learn about the long histories and many varied forms of co-produced partnership learning communities that have formed across walls in these countries. We are especially excited by the emerging potential for collaboration in South America, and plans are afoot for an international anthology that celebrates and deepens learning across our communities.
We hope this blog will give you a flavour of some of the ways we are learning together as a community, and the exciting things that are happening as a result. From the early beginnings of Learning Together in HMP Grendon in 2016, our community has grown because of the commitment and talents of all involved so please do get in touch with us if you’d like to share your ideas, or contribute to this blog. We love hearing from you, and learning more together.