Finding different voices

In an OLDaily post this week, Stephen Downes has encouraged the authors of a recent publication ‘Open at the Margins’ to redouble their efforts to find the voices not being heard. I interpret this as a call by Stephen for greater diversity in the people who are being recognised as speaking for open education. I think all groups could and should aspire to this.

I’m not sure how I would go about finding voices not being heard. Perhaps it’s a question of being aware of the direction of our attention, and that what we choose to attend to determines not only what we see, but also what we don’t see. Rather than trying to find voices not being heard it might be easier to find different voices; this might require a cross or multi-disciplinary approach to seek different perspectives, which may or may not include minority voices.

On reflection I realise that I have spent most of this year seeking and listening to different voices. A positive outcome of the Covid-19 pandemic for me (and I realise how privileged I am to be in this position) has been to discover a wide range of different people who have made their work and thoughts available online (either freely or at minimum cost). Many organisations have supported this opening up of access to different voices. These are some that I have found interesting and enjoyed over the past few months, offering me new avenues for thought and/or exploration.

Channel McGilchrist

This is a new platform, which I joined in June. Membership requires paying a fee, but there is also access to some materials for non-paying members. Since Iain McGilchrist is a polymath, which is very evident from his book, The Master and His Emissary. The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World, this channel has attracted a wide diversity of thinkers from different disciplines, which has generated very varied discussion. Lots of different voices here.

The London School of Economics and Political Science

Being Human Festival of Humanities

How to Academy

I’m looking forward to:

The Weekend University

Philosophy of Education Reading Network on Twitter @PhilofEd

  • 18-08-20 Discussion of Iris Murdoch’s The Sovereignty of Good

I’m looking forward to next month’s meeting of the network:

  • 15-09-20 Discussion of Gert Biesta’s The Beautiful Risk of Education

I have only just discovered (by chance, and most of these events/groups were discovered by chance) the Philosophy of Education Reading Network. Last night’s discussion was the first for this newly established group and was open to anyone. A few people in the zoom call clearly knew each other, but many, like me, were new to the network, and some were new to the philosophy of education. 17 people attended, a good mix of men and women, and of different ages, and the atmosphere was very inclusive without putting pressure on people to contribute. All contributions were welcomed and considered.

Returning to the point made at the beginning of this post about the need to encourage different voices to contribute to a group or collaborative endeavour, and in the light of my experience last night of a newly formed group, I wonder at what point does it become difficult for a group to recognise that some voices are not heard, or that critical perspectives are being narrowed and limited through group think and a lack of diversity? Is it inevitable that this happens in groups that share and enjoy a common interest?

This has reminded me of Stephen Downes work in 2007 on the difference between groups and networks, and his post Groups Vs Networks:The Class Struggle Continues, which I think speaks for itself and speaks to this topic of finding different voices.

Source of image:   https://www.flickr.com/photos/stephen_downes/252157734/

One thought on “Finding different voices

  1. Lisa M Lane August 20, 2020 / 1:15 am

    Hi Jenny – what a great way to wrap up what many of us have been working on into an opportunity in the present. And thanks for a great list of learning for me to explore!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s