Sunday, November 27, 2005

'Full Moon' DIY Distilling and Dumpstering/Food Not Bombs Workshops Nov 27 2005

Today was great, so great that it seems very likely we will be offering these workshops again during the coming months.

Adam's distilling workshop began the day. He brought into the Spartacus space his own still which he uses at home and showed us how it worked. Among other things, he presented a history of moonshining, as well as moonshine recipes, resources and even the chemical composition of ethanol.

He had a typed handout with diagrams and pictures which I hope to post asap.

Look to this Webspace to see when he will be offering this workshop again. There will probably be 'samples' of the finished product the next time this is offered.

Andy's Dumpstering/Food Not Bombs presentation involved many visual aids, interesting strategies, locations, a discussion of class and ethics surrounding found food. The workshop was also attended by other people involved in the Food Not Bombs chapter in vancouver: this meant that the workshop became a good discussion group/networking group as well.

Alternative Education Workshop Sat 26 2005

The first FreeSchool Workshops were very successful. Many people who came out to attend were very supportive and offered their encouragement, ideas, expertise and access to resources. We feel very optimistic.

Here are some notes on the discussion cards the people filled out at the beginning of this workshop:

Problems people have had in mainstream education:

-Sleepy disengagement
-emotional concerns not addressed
-extreme monetary sacrifice
-isolation from community/insular nature of conventional schooling (SFU Burnaby on a Mountain, UBC an hour from the city centre)
-the systemic patriarchal power relations
-people are to easily able to 'fall through the cracks'
-invisibility of the student (unless they are one of the 1% who manage to 'stand out')

Suggested FreeSchool ideals/goals/possibilities:

-an environment facilitating a strong sense of trust and acceptance
-collaborative/community-based learning
-critical study
-local histories
-developing profound respect
-direct communication

Positive experiences that some people have had in mainstream schooling:

-substantial feedback/comments on a submitted work
-learning presentation skills
-students learn to take criticism
-high expectations motivate students to rise to the occasion.
-access to quality resources (library, media etc.)

---Posted by: Adrian

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Freeschool: Vancouver BC

The FreeSchool, an alternative education project in Vancouver, Canada, is a collective-run project whose purpose is to provide the community with a space for dialogue and learning outside of the mainstream education and economic systems. A freeschool can be (and has historically been) any number of things within the alternative education movement. In the case of this particular free school project, it is a radical learning environment in which the roles of teachers, administrators and students are questioned in an attempt to re-invent education.

November 26
1pm-***Adrian and Laura: Alternative Education Workshop***
Details: Will serve as an introduction to the philosophy, practice, and goals of the Freeschool in Vancouver. Expect discussions and repercussions.

12PM-***Adam Carmichael: Full Moon DIY Home Brewing Demo***
Details: A full A-Z demonstration on how to make your own alcohol filled beverages in the comfort of your own basement.

4PM-***Andy Blum and Anne Lomas: Vancouver Dumpstering Map and Food Not Bombs***
Details: Find out why food is free, where it can be found and how to make it free for others.

4pm: ***Nathaniel K. Wolfe: Crochet Workshop***

5pm:***General Meeting I: Learning Group proposal review night***
Details: Have your idea for starting a learning group in January ready for today or the 13th. While you may present your idea/proposal in anyway you find effective. A very brief written description of what you want to do is required.

8pm:***General Meeting II: Learning Group proposal review night***
Details: (Re: 11th)

5pm:***Juls and Nathan: DIY Publishing: Zine Making Workshop***
Details: How to to be a publisher, author, graphics design engineer,
and distributer on a tight budget.

Winter Learning Groups begin


You can find us at the new Spartacus Books: 319 W. Hastings, 2nd Floor.

What sort of programming does the Freeschool offer?

We will first be offering a mix of short, one session workshops and in the new year multiple session learning groups. The learning groups will start at the beginning of each regular scholastic semester (September, January and May) and run for 6 to 8 weeks. Following these session the Freeschool will program a series workshops (one each weekend) until the recommencement of learning groups the following semester.

How do I find out what workshops/learning groups are offered?

Workshop and learning group descriptions and schedules are posted on the Freeschool website which can be accessed through the Spartacus Books website ( There is free internet access at Spartacus Books.

How do I register for a workshop/learning group?

You may pre-register for a workshop or learning group by emailing your name, contact information and the name of the group to the Finalization of your participation happens when you show up for your first day of learning.

Can I offer a workshop/learning group?

Yes! But first, in order to be fair, we have a transparent selection process. You need to write/present a proposal explaining your workshop or learning group to the collective. The collective (an open membership group of volunteers) holds monthly general meetings during which we review the proposals and decide by consensus which will be offered by the Freeschool.

To offer a course for the January/February 2006 session, please bring your proposals to one of our next general meetings: Sunday December 11th @ 5pm or Tuesday December 13th @ 8pm. Both meetings will be held at Spartacus Books.

How do I get involved with the organizing collective?

Monthly meetings are open to anyone who wishes to bring their ideas, opinions and motivation to the table. The next general meetings are on December 11th and 13th.

What is the Freeschool's approach to alternative education?

Mainstream education leaves many of us behind. Financial inaccessibility and pedagogical practice often alienate students from their own learning process. The Freeschool encourages a departure from these limitations and pursues educational practices that emerge from our own community in order to better serve those who partake in it. The volunteers and community members who have come together to organize, teach and learn are all interested in non-hierarchical, anti-oppressive and holistic education where not only the academic is addressed, but the social, political, creative and personal as well. We stress the importance of smaller learning groups that function as self-determining collectives of equals. Students have the power to pursue their learning in independent, individual and creative ways. Facilitators are resources for the group, rather group, rather than authority figures. The Freeschool is in its infancy and therefore we anticipate much of its philosophy will change and develop organically as students, collective members and facilitators work/learn together.

For more information about this project and to find our frequently updated schedule of events, please visit us at the Spartacus Books website
To contact the Freeschool, please email

Special thanks to the Spartacus Books Collective for their cooperation and for use of their space.