How to print an Autonomous University in Peckham – or somewhere like it

This is our first talk in a series about creating an Autonomous University. It’s an open discussion kicked of by a round table presentation of projects, that together we believe can be parts of a whole.

"The University of the Future is a network, and not a place" - Prof James Data

Autonomous University
We take as our model projects like Edufactory, Dougald Hine’s University Project, the temporary occupy schools, and this weekends Autonomous University as part of the Occupied Berlin Biennale.

Source: via David on Pinterest


We aim to build our own nomadic institution, focussing on bootstrapping a new aNational institution that can self organise courses, and learning experiences in real space and online.

Invitation for Speakers
Speakers or tutors – everyone is both. We are looking for people who want to learn, and people can help others learn through practical projects. Through a series of pop-up events we will be running bootstrapping classes on how to make: how to build structures, and workshops, how to create furniture and objects to record debates, how to create democratic membership organisations, and how to use social media and mobile technology to promote, and construct new froms of course material.

Our focus is on a series of talks this summer, which aim to take place in the New Library, which is currently struggling to be built in the heart of Peckham, London – on the roof of a disused multistory car park. If you are in London this summer, you can take part by giving a talk, or workshop, or helping construct the space. If you are elsewhere but online, you can take part virtually – in the classes, and by working with teams that need your technical input.

Our Themes
The Autonomous University is imagined as a place, a place of workshops and projects embedded in the community. The themes will emerge from our members, the organisation will be run and managed by students. Everyone is a student and teacher, and our focus is practical projects.

Currently our members are interested in:

    • Permaculture and urban growing
    • Media, documentary, and mobile technology
    • Making: deliberative spaces, buildings, and interactive furniture
    • Law, copyright, patents, currencies and systemic change

Our Courses
Around these themes, we intend to build practical courses – how to build legal innovative legal structures, and deal with copyright, how to build structures for lessons, libraries, and growing, how to document projects and use social media to make a difference, and how to grow food in a sustainable way.

As part of bootstrapping our university, we will teach ourselves how to use, and modify existing platforms to build the systems we need. We will use blogs, and make mobile apps, we will use Better Means to organise and project manage teams around projects that form the heart of each course.

Another focus is on books, and other physical resources. Learning technology requires access to that technology, learning making requires access to tools, and everyone needs access to books. An Autonomous University can use local resources that we hold in common – we can use Book Crossing and Amazon Wish Lists to build new forms of “library” embedded in the caf├ęs and community centres of the neighbourhood, we can explore tool and technology sharing, and we can use crowd funding for projects and courses. Rather than weight for maybe’s, and systems, our approach is to learn through doing. No resource sharing platform, or crowd funding infrastructure yet? Well let’s run a course on how to build one. We want to learn how to do these things and we invite you to join us.

Learning Rhyzomes
Each course is conceived as an independent rhizome, that can come and go as it pleases. People are free to join or leave as many courses as they wish, and each course is also a practical project to make or achieve a distinct outcome. To ensure it’s independence, courses will be structured as not-for-profit voluntary organisations, free to crowd-source their own activities, and engage in activities of benefit to the wider community. They can leave the University and take on a life of their own.

Courses are formed out of the free discussion of all members, posting and suggesting ideas online and in real space meetings. Once a subject or project has been sufficiently defined, adn an interdisciplinary team formed around it, we will use One Click Orgs to set up a democratic Voluntary Association for the course, and give members the opportunity to vote, and come and leave as they please from anywhere in the world.