Tuesday, March 6, 2012

BIG CHANGES at Ann Arbor Free Skool

For a little while now, we have been discussing Free Skool’s place and relevance in our community as well as our current capacities as organizers to support the Free Skool. We have decided to make some changes based on the interests of our community and the best management of our resources. We believe these changes will better support and engage our teachers, students, organizers, and the greater Free Skool network.

We’re excited about this new shift – we hope you’ll be too!

We're going to be taking a curriculum in a slightly different direction. We will no longer be printing calendars or doing extensive organizational support for ongoing classes (finding locations, promotions, gathering supplies). We will continue to maintain an online calendar of existing classes, workshops, learning groups and events that are free and fit in with our mission statement. We'll still be meeting on a regular basis as organizers to hash out the logistics of our projects.

This scaling back on regular classes will allow us to focus our energy in two directions:

DIY Fests

Being that DIY Fests are freaking awesome and well attended, we're going to start consolidating our classes and workshops into day long events that will take place every month or every other month.  This means TEACHERS will have more students in every class, STUDENTS only have to clear their schedules once to attend a bunch of workshops, ORGANIZERS will be able to focus our energy & resources on creating one amazing event and EVERYONE will be able to experience unique community skill-share events on a regular basis.

We're also going to start exploring the world of themed DIY Fests:

Drawings from our Figure Drawing class at the most recent DIY Fest
Think about it – a day of DIY art classes for example – with painting, poetry, figure drawing, photography and more where you can get your creative juices flowing for an entire day with other artists. Or a day on DIY Food – starting with gardening workshops and classes on buying local, and ending with cooking classes and a community potluck FEAST.

There’s a lot of opportunities here for collaboration with other groups and creating unique learning experiences. Get Excited! Because we are.

Research projects and knowledge record-keeping

Katy sharing her zine for A Queer History of Ann Arbor - at our most recent DIY Fest
With the recent success of two workshop-spawned zines, we're going to direct some of our energy (and funds) toward archiving the knowledge we are sharing with each other. This can include physical copies of zines and other literature to accompany workshops at DIY Fests, as well as an online archive project where we scan in Free Skool documents of past and present, creating a freely accessible online database of sweet, sweet knowledge.

We’ll also be continuing our monthly Zine-making workshops and be thinking of other unique ways to support these projects. This is a great new opportunity to share your knowledge with the Free Skool and the community.

What this means...

More of this!

...For teachers:

If you're interested in teaching a class, sharing a skill, or facilitating a workshop, we want to hear from you! We'll still need folks to teach and share at DIY Fests. If you know of an ongoing class or learning group that already has a location and aligns with our mission statement, send us the deets! Tell us the date, time, location and address of the class, and give us a brief description, and we'll add it to our online calendar. We are not currently able to find locations, flier, or purchase supplies for ongoing classes, but we do want to continue to support a community of learning.

...For you:

Less facebook invites. MORE DIY Fests. MORE zines. No printed calendars. An online archive of zines and literature from past workshops and classes, documenting our work together and creating a freely accessed database of knowledge – coming soon! Plus, you'll be able to check out our online calendar anytime for info on free, ongoing classes.

Thoughts or questions about the changes? Can't bear to see printed calendars go?

Pick up the slack and churn them out yourself! We'd be happy to show you everything we know about making calendars and supporting ongoing classes. Remember, Free Skool is a non-hierarchical, volunteer-based collective. We would love to have you join us in imagining, shaping and facilitating this project. We’re still meeting Sundays at 7pm at CafĂ© Ambrosia. If you can't make it to organizing meetings but want to get more involved or have your opinion heard, shoot us an e-mail and we'll help make it happen!

No comments:

Post a Comment