So here I come to share a little bit of what happened in the Gent edition. It was a very nice experience.
First of all, it was really challenging organizing an event in a few days and in a place I have never been before. The network I previously had in Gent was basically the same network the organization who is hosting me had. I found some barriers with being fully taken seriously for being a brazilian guy in Belgium trying to organize a local event for alternative education (can you imagine how confusing it was to people?? haha). I contacted many local organizations and people I previously knew, printed flyer, went to schools and universities to announce the event and etc. Luckily, I have by my side Fabula Collective (fabulacollective.org), and amazing organization in Gent run by 4 formidable girls.
I received many “maybes” for the day and we ended up being a group of five participants in the hackathon day. However, surprisingly, it didn’t make our day less exciting! Among our participants we had two amazing women, the manager and principal of a sudbury school in Gent and an independent journalist who writes about education (mainly new forms of education). We shared lots of knowledge, networks and information.
The need to change
Coincidently, all the participants had something very special in common, the feeling that the current mainstream education system is broken and doesn’t fulfill kids, teenagers and adults needs. We also understand that the current education system bring some negative effects that sometimes strongly influence individuals’ life.
Starting from zero – For a non-standardized education we should start with no structures
As we want to build something new we couldn’t afford having set structures, therefore, after some previous brainstorming on how we should run the day, we decided that the hackathon structure would be decided during the process and by all the people who would be present during the event – so we did. The day started with personal presentations which were linked with some intense conversations. We started at 1.11 pm and finished just at past 22pm! In any moment we tried to come up with an output or project that should be done.
The magic of letting it be
But the world and people, when connected, work in a magic way. Our free structure and provided space to people communicate, understand and share, brought a concrete output. Later (around 8 pm), during our conversations – which were not necessarily World Cafés or any famous methodology, it was just human beings communicating in a good and old circle – we started discussing if there is such a necessity of coming with big projects on how education should be, or should be transformed… after all, who are we to say what is better or worse for people? But at the same time we started realizing that the topic education itself is not widely discussed because the mainstream education and the system itself block us and our thoughts to talk about it. Although we have this beautiful community of passionate activist people trying to change education, the masses don’t discuss or talk about it. Maybe many people would find themselves connected to the theme and have many new ideas on how to proceed, but the conversation was never introduced to them. Also, we understand that everyone should be in the discussion, which means, that taking into place orthodox views is extremely important to contribute to a diverse conversation. Saying that we came up with our output: a free space (in bar, café or park) where everybody (literally, whoever feels like) could come and join to talk about education. The goal is very simple, sending an invitation and giving people the chance to start talking about education… When everybody is consciously talking about the topic, real changes can emerge. As we are dreamers and love fairy tales and fun stuff we decided to call it, for now, Alice in Eduland… hahaha. Honestly, if you see such a name you would also be interested to check, what it is, right?? We also started discussing places to host, facilitators, networks that we activate to make it happen!
We also created a facebook group to keep co-creating it
(facebook.com/groups/279924182173455/) . So, keep posted!
I am extremely happy for our day! Thank you all guys from the bottom of my heart…
Lots of love, always, that is the most important thing!
Special thanks to Sandra, Hannah, Maaike and Lien
Contact: Renan on facebook