On Friday, for international women’s day I welcomed ISG colleagues and Friends of the Library to celebrate the naming of the Brenda Moon Board Room in Argyle House. It was a naming, but also a re-instatement. There was previously a Brenda Moon Room in the Main Library, but it got lost, and although Brenda still has an info board on display there, I felt it was important that she should also get her room back. She is, after all, the only woman ever yet to hold the title of ‘University Librarian’ at Edinburgh, and having a room of one’s own is important.
Our ISG celebrations for IWD are growing and and thriving. A fabulous team of colleagues were involved this year. We edited wikipedia, created new art inspired by old collections and made badges for everyone to wear.
At the weekend I worked on our workplace equality and diversity programme, writing a case study for Equate Scotland.
On Monday I went with colleagues to see Helen Pankhurst speak. A woman with a famous name. We had invited her as part of our ‘Vote100′ project in ISG, but on Monday the visit was hosted by Students’ RAG week. When I was a student we called it ‘on the rag’ week, but seems like not so much anymore. At University of Edinburgh it used to be called ‘Settlement Week’.
I am honoured to have been invited to join the Centenary Commission on Adult Education. The membership of the Commission is as follows:
Dame Helen Ghosh DCB (Chair)- Master of Balliol College, Oxford. Previously Chief Executive, The National Trust; Permanent Secretary, Home Office; Permanent Secretary, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.
Sir Alan Tuckett OBE (Vice Chair) -Professor, University of Wolverhampton. Previously Chief Executive, National Institute of Adult Continuing Education; President, International Council for Adult Education.
Melissa Benn- Author, novelist, journalist, broadcaster. Chair, Comprehensive Future; Council member, New Visions for Education Group; founder member, Local Schools Network; Advisory Board member, Oxford Women in the Humanities.
Lord (Karan) Bilimoria CBE – Co-founder & Chairman, Cobra Beer; Chancellor, University of Birmingham.
Dr Sharon Clancy-Chair, Raymond Williams Foundation. Previously Head of Community Partnerships, University of Nottingham; Chief Executive, Mansfield Council for Voluntary Service.
Uzo Iwobi OBE -Chief Executive Officer, Race Council Cymru. Previously Principal Equality Officer, South Wales Police; member of the Commission for Racial Equality.
Melissa Highton -Assistant Principal, Online Learning and Director of Learning, Teaching & Web Services, University of Edinburgh.
Roger McKenzie-Assistant General Secretary, Unison. Previously Vice Chair, West Midlands Assembly; Midlands Regional Secretary, TUC; Race Equality Officer, TUC.
Sir Ken Olisa OBE -Chairman, Shaw Trust; Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London; founder & Chairman, Restoration Partners; Deputy Master, Worshipful Company of Information Technologists.
Sue Pember OBE- Director, Holex (professional body for Adult Community Education and Learning). Previously lead Director for FE, Dept for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) and Dept for Education & Skills (DfES); Principal, Canterbury College of F&HE.
Paul Roberts -Chief Executive Officer, Aspire, Oxford.
Dr Cilla Ross- Vice Principal, Co-operative College, Manchester.
Sir Peter Scott -Emeritus Professor of Higher Education, UCL Institute of Education. Previously Vice Chancellor, Kingston University, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Professor of Education, University of Leeds; Editor, The Times Higher Education Supplement.
Ruth Spellman OBE -General Secretary, Workers’ Educational Association. Previously Chief Executive of Chartered Management Institute, Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and Investors in People UK.
The whole thing is being facilitated by Jonathan Michie, President of Kellogg College.
We hope to provide authoritative, evidence-based, recommendations on how ‘lifewide’ adult education – i.e., for all aspects and stages of people’s lives, and not just for work – should develop over the decades ahead. Our remit is the same as proposed for the 1919 committee: “To consider the provision for, and possibilities of, Adult Education in Great Britain, and to make recommendations.”
The Commission’s report will, attempt to cover the following:
The need for lifewide adult education. Globalisation, technology and the changing world of work; threats to democracy and social cohesion; new social movements; demographic changes.
The state of British adult education today. Who provides; who takes part; who does not provide; who does not take part. What types of provision are made (subjects, approaches, locations, media, etc.), and what are not. The relative importance of different types of provision for different social groups.
The British contribution to adult education. A brief discussion of approaches developed historically in Britain, and of new practices developing today, and their contribution to democracy, civil society and personal growth.
What we can learn from international experience. From UNESCO to the OECD; key reports; the impact of the current ‘output and measurement’ craze; international research.
The structures, institutions and systems we need. Types of provision. Priorities for government: legislation, regulation, fees, public spending. What non-governmental agencies might do: local government, voluntary organisations, FE and HE, schools, private companies, etc. Meeting the needs of communities and social groups. Strengthening democracy in teaching and curriculum development.
Implementing the changes. How can the changes be brought about: overcoming the forces in government, media and society that have inhibited the development of lifewide adult education over recent decades.
University of Edinburgh actually has a long history of widening participation initiatives, but our institutional memory does seem to get lost along the way. Luckily we have splendid university archives.
‘The WOW programme was aimed at women planning to return to work –most often after pregnancy and years of domestic ‘employment’–, and sought to provide training opportunities as well as guidance over how to approach the job market, what type of opportunities might be available, and what obstacles may be encountered.’
Joanna first attended this programme, after having been stuck at home with us lot for many years, and then she became the course leader. I used to visit her in her office in a basement in Buccleuch Place. She’s very pleased to know that in my role in ISG I’ve been able to find places for ‘women returners‘ in our organisation.
After ‘WOW ‘and ‘Second Chance to Learn’, and ‘Return to Work or Study’, she then led for many years the University of Edinburgh Access Programme for part-time adult learners who wished to return to education to study humanities, social sciences or art and design.
Nice to see these things coming around again.
*just a note to say lest you be concerned, that although I found my father in the archives after his death, my mother is still very much alive.