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Publication - Ms Helen Bolton

    Learning in the Cat’s Cradle

    Weaving learning ecologies in the city


    Facer, K, Buchczyk, M, Bishop, L, Bolton, H, Haq, Z, Gilbert, J, Thomas, G, Tomico, J & Wang, X, 2018, ‘Learning in the Cat’s Cradle: Weaving learning ecologies in the city’. in: Ronald Barnett, Norman Jackson (eds) Ecologies for Learning and Practice: Emerging Ideas, Sightings, and Possibilities . Routledge


    This paper uses the metaphor of the cat’s cradle to explore how learning in the city can be understood as an entangled meshwork of social, material and discursive practices. Drawing on two years of ethnographic encounters in the city with organisers of adult learning, conveners of protests, leaders of elite city institutions, refugees, longstanding inhabitants, artists, medics, city farmers, older people’s groups, parents, carers and social activists (amongst others), the chapter describes how a city’s learning ecology is deeply shaped by physical infrastructure, planning laws, transport systems and in particular by key local actors actively nurturing rich learning experiences. We conclude by arguing that creating a vibrant learning city will require investing in and supporting these key actors and working across education, planning, transport and land departments if issues of equity and access to learning opportunities are to be fully addressed.

    Full details in the University publications repository