Dougald Hine

Webs of learning and collaboration

In Deschooling Society (1971), Ivan Illich wrote that education should start not with a prescribed curriculum, but with the question, "What kinds of things and people might learners want to be in contact with in order to learn?"

The people, projects and practical guidance linked to from these pages form a map of what I have learned, where and with whom.

I have been lucky in finding a gang of peers, a range of teachers and a few masters: all three are vital in their different ways, echoing the old structure of the craft guild. Whatever you are pursuing in life, finding people who fulfil these roles is about the most important thing you can do.

For some of us, books can go a long way in fulfilling the roles of master and teacher - and the Reading list soon outgrew this section to become the most comprehensive part of this site.

Just as important are the peers and collaborators who make up the People page, while Examples covers practical experiments, projects and places to learn from. Finally, the How To section links to simple guides to making things happen - not recipes to stick to, but rules of thumb for riffing off.

Taken together, this is the context from which my work begins, a web of friendships and conversations for which I'm extremely grateful.

Long after Deschooling Society, Illich described the way of living and learning which he had sought throughout his life. It is one of my favourite passages:

"Learned and leisurely hospitality is the only antidote to the stance of deadly cleverness that is acquired in the professional pursuit of objectively secured knowledge. I remain certain that the quest for truth cannot thrive outside the nourishment of mutual trust flowering into a commitment to friendship."
'The Cultivation of Conspiracy' (1998)