How do activists learn?


How do activists learn their craft, and what might this teach social purpose educators (Mycroft, 2013) about theirs?

How do liberatory systems (social movements?) teach? How is structural oppression entangled with structural liberation?

Can the public pedagogy of social movements teach socially engaged practitioners anything about their personal pedagogy? (Are the structural dynamics (McCabe, 2014) of social and personal emergence self-similar?)

What is Social Action? Is it, as defined by the UK cabinet office ‘practical action in the service of others’ (Cabinet Office, 2015)? What are its other meanings? How do these different meanings impact on the lives & learning of young people engaged in programmes designed to develop social action? How do they inform youth workers’ pedagogy?

“If you just pick one human you can change for the better, with work that might not work — that’s what art [or teaching, or activism] is.” – (Seth Godin, 2014) via @brainpickings

Teaching, activism, art practice are all engagements in the practice of personal and social emergence. By occupying the smooth space (Deleuze, via Kidd, 2015) between the disciplines, what emerges? Anything useful to improve our practice?

Some (sketchy) notes on how… practice-as-research-as-practice
…anything people use to make sense of the world (Snowden, 2012)… visual communication of data (Lima, 2013)… narrative… participatory action research… distributed interpretation: who interprets what? (Snowden, 2012)… diffraction (Kidd, 2015)… feedback… amorphodology (Kidd, 2015)

…& why… to develop a contextualised pedagogy that catalyses emergence of liberatory, socially engaged practice. To get better at what we do.


Cabinet Office (2015) Social action: Harnessing the potential. Available at: (Accessed: 30 January 2016)

Kidd, D. (2015) Becoming Mobius: The complex matter of education. United Kingdom: Independent Thinking Press. ——— @debrakidd

Lima, M. (2013) Visual complexity. Mapping patterns of information. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. ——— @mslima

Louise, M. (2013) About TeachDifferent – social purpose education. Available at: (Accessed: 30 January 2016). ——— @TeachNorthern

McCabe, V. (2014) Coming to our senses: Perceiving complexity to avoid catastrophes. United States: Oxford University Press.

Popova, M. (2014) Seth Godin on vulnerability, creative courage, and how to dance with the fear: A Children’s book for grownups. Available at: (Accessed: 30 January 2016) ——— @brainpickings @ThisIsSethsBlog

Snowden, D. (2012) Keynote speaker: Combining complexity theory with narrative research. Available at: (Accessed: 15 January 2016).  ——— @snowded