The University of Melbourne
SaCH International Conference Presentation_ Martin Brennan.mp4 (114.57 MB)

Rear Vision: Lessons from Community Education in the '80s - Melbourne, Victoria and Flint, Michigan

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posted on 2020-11-30, 19:47 authored by MARTIN BRENNAN
This paper presents an historical framework of community education concepts with roots in Flint, Michigan (USA) and an early Melbourne, Victoria (Australia) example of a school as a community hub: the Princes Hill School Park Centre. The writer’s reflective narrative reveals experience of a rich history of interaction between schools, communities, and local government, all fostering place-based neighbourhood decision making. It demonstrates the radical moves that were made to expand the concept of community education, from community use of school facilities to community empowerment and resilience. In the context of reviewing the current largely untapped potential of schools as community hubs, the term ‘Rear Vision’ emerged, reflecting a sense of ‘looking back to look forward’. The experience of community education in the 1980s in Michigan and Melbourne, Victoria, can inform how ‘schools as community hubs’ embraced the building of new connections. In the 1980s, the Princes Hill School Park Centre adopted a community empowerment model reflecting the need to move beyond the use of school facilities and instead radically engage the school, local community and the local government in a range of activities that promoted and facilitated participatory decision-making. The history of the community education movement provides evidence that broadening the role of schools beyond the use of their facilities can build connections, resilience and participatory decision-making in a post pandemic and increasingly fractured world.


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