Learning in the Cat’s Cradle: Weaving learning ecologies in the city

Keri Facer, Magda Buchczyk, Liz Bishop, Helen Bolton, Zehra Haq, Jackie Gilbert, GIdeon Thomas, Jessica Tomico, Xiujuan Wang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

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This paper uses the metaphor of the cat’s cradle to explore how learning in the city can be understood as an entangled meshwork of social, material and discursive practices. Drawing on two years of ethnographic encounters in the city with organisers of adult learning, conveners of protests, leaders of elite city institutions, refugees, longstanding inhabitants, artists, medics, city farmers, older people’s groups, parents, carers and social activists (amongst others), the chapter describes how a city’s learning ecology is deeply shaped by physical infrastructure, planning laws, transport systems and in particular by key local actors actively nurturing rich learning experiences. We conclude by arguing that creating a vibrant learning city will require investing in and supporting these key actors and working across education, planning, transport and land departments if issues of equity and access to learning opportunities are to be fully addressed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEcologies for Learning and Practice
Subtitle of host publicationEmerging Ideas, Sightings, and Possibilities
EditorsRonald Barnett, Norman Jackson
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781138496859, 9781138496880
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2019

Structured keywords

  • SoE Centre for Knowledge, Culture, and Society
  • SoE Centre for Higher Education Transformations


  • Learning
  • Cities
  • Equity
  • Infrastructure


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