Recent comments

  • Reply to: Voluntary-based study circles and related municipal policies: international best practices   8 months 5 days ago

    Great to see this! At Peer 2 Peer University, we've been using study circles in public libraries and community centers which are guided by free online courses, which we call learning circles. Most of our work is in North America and Eastern Africa, but we're expanding this year with partners in five European countries.

    Feel free to find out more at


  • Reply to: Report on seminar in honour of Lalage Bown - 23 May 2018   2 years 3 months ago

    Drum Beats of Learning: For Lalage


    Imagine yourself on a warm West African evening

    Live horns and saxophones of Nigerian hi life pulsating

    Cold green bottles of Star beer set out

    Mostly young men, some from the army, some traders some journalists


    This is the ‘midnight seminar’ of the University of Ibadan’s

    Extra-mural studies Department

    And opening up the late evening conversation about philosophy, politics and science

    Is our young Extra-Mural Tutor, Lalage Bown


    Cheltenham College and Oxford University is where this part of her story begins

    Not the place one usually thinks of for an African story

    But Lalage, having studied during the Second World War at Oxford,

    Met Thomas Hodgkin, historian and former WEA teacher and then Head of the Oxford Extra-mural Delegacy


    The Oxford Extra-Mural Delegacy was created at the end of the war to create adult education opportunities for post-war Africans and others to gain the skills needed for the new age emerging.

    What Hodgkin really had in mind was the creation of a learning foundation to feed and support the independence movements in post-war Africa. 


    We are not sure how the conversations might have gone, 

    But the radical ideas of Thomas Hodgkin and the 

    Intellectual imagination of his partner Dorothy Hodgkin, 

    (Yes that Dorothy Hodgkin who was awarded a Nobel Prize)

    Must have been exhilarating


    In any case in 1949, at 23, she was selected as the only woman to join the newly created University of Ghana as a resident tutor 

    She was taken to the village where she was to help build her first cottage and to begin offering adult education classes 

    Classes that would add intellectual heat to the growing  fires of the independence.


    And so began a remarkable life of leadership and institutional development

    In adult education and higher education as she worked and led Extra-Mural and Adult Education Departments in Ibadan, Nigeria, Kampala, Uganda, Lusaka, Zambia, Lagos, Nigeria and Zaria, Nigeria 

    Serving as the Secretary of the African Adult Education Association



    Lalage’s contributions to adult education, intellectual and even political life during her years in Africa are hard to capture

    She brought dignity, respectability, professionalism, and a passion for learning and justice

    To each post, each book, each article, each speech and each conversation about adult education that she was involved in


    She served each university that she worked in with a firm belief that that particular university

    At that particular point in history was as good as any in the world

    And she served the leaders, the students and the citizens of each of the places where she worked with full respect, focus and dedication


    Much is known about Lalage Bown, her legendary achievements as a woman academic leader

    Working in the decidedly patriarchal world of 20thCentury African education and politics

    But what we also need to celebrate is her compassion and love

    For her adopted Nigerian daughters

    For her legions of friends in every corner of this vibrant world

    For the music and culture of all parts of the African continent

    And for wonderful late night conversations with an occasional glass of whiskey


    In closing let us say thank you in the five of the languages of the countries where she worked

    Medasse – Akan, Ghana
    Ese gan – Yoruba, Nigeria
    Weebale – Luganda, Uganda
    Zikomo -Nyanja, Zambia
    Na Gode – Hausa, Nigeria


    Budd L Hall

    April 23, 2018

  • Reply to: Muir Houston helps Romania celebrate Lifelong Learning Day   6 years 1 month ago

    Thank you for sharing your presentations Muir, and projects in the area of lifelong learning- they look inspirational indeed. This 'Lifelong Learning Day' sounds like a great event and it is nice to see this agenda preserved in Romania and other parts of Europe. But it seems to me that such an event may be needed in the UK, where lifelong learning seems to have fallen off (or at least down) the agenda, particularly in southern England. Although the UALL conference in April looked very successful.
    - Catherine

  • Reply to: Cities, Universities and Science   6 years 1 month ago

    Thank you for your thoughts Chris, very interesting. It is great that you highlight renewed focus on cities and links with HE, and it is important to note the need for further examination of both inter-city and intra-city inequalities. I would like to highlight the increasing usefulness of big data in trying to pinpoint inequalities linked with place in terms of health, learning, engagement and overall quality of life. I would like to highlight the role of Glasgow's new Urban Big Data Centre (, due to launch 30th Sept, in tackling some of these issues and helping develop interventions to promote learning cities in practical and evidence-based ways. Thank you again for your thoughts.

  • Reply to: CR&DALL Director Responds to Scotland's 'Statement of Ambition' for Adult Learning   6 years 2 months ago

    In welcoming Mike Osborne's comprehensive approach to these matters from a predominantly Scottish perspective, I am reminded that the contribution of adult education participation to better health was noted somewhat further back than his references. The NIACE Special Needs Advisory Committee was already involved in advocacy for stronger links between health providers and community adult learning organisations during the 1980s. Nor was the NHS entirely blind to these possibilities, as a number of jointly financed initiatives at the time bore witness. I imagine that, with powerful advocates in the adult education community of Scotland, there will be opportunities to present a counterpart Statement of Ambition to that of the Cabinet Secretary, drawing attention to the multiple benefits that derive from work from within the Lifelong Learning Sector. Having heard Mike Russell speak during May's 'International Learning Times' event, I would hope that he might be receptive to such further evidence.