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The Next Ragged University Events...

Live Music In Edinburgh Throughout July: Ragged University has teamed up with Edinburgh Fringe Live to bring you 26 live music acts over the month of July on the Peartree Garden Stage. Come Along, enjoy the sun with some music....

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12th August Edinburgh Ragged University: Come along to the Central Library in the George Washington Browne room, one floor down on the Mezzanine level at 5pm to hear ‘Plebs’: the Ruskin College Strike of 1909 by Colin Waugh - plus - 'Left for the Rising Sun. Right for Swan Hunter. The Plebs League in the North East of England 1908/1926' by Robert Clive Turnbull....

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11th September Edinburgh Ragged University: Come along to the Counting House at 7pm to hear ‘A Different Kind Of Revolution' by Ciaran Healy - plus - ‘How Accents Work’ By Lauren Hall-Lew....

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The Mythology of Greek Monsters’ by Heather Rae


Mythology is used to make sense of the world, to explain why things are as they are, from natural phenomena like volcanoes and the weather to human behaviour and society. Greek myths describe the lives of gods and heroes, their loves, interactions with other gods and mortals, and their battles with monsters. Monsters make up a fair amount of the Greek mythical corpus – there are harpies, gorgons, giants, centaurs, satyrs, sirens, the minotaur, the chimera, werewolves, vampiric phantoms, the many-headed hydra, the sphinx, and other beings who threaten the society which the gods and heroes protect. Monsters may walk among the people, but they tend to be found on the borders of the known world, acting as warnings or fantasies about the sort of people who may be encountered on a journey into the unknown, as well as being a way to explore the limits of human behaviour. Their excessive, immoral, or threatening behaviour makes them monsters, but so do their bodies.

Today I’m going to show you the changes in representation of the bodies of two female monsters: the gorgon Medusa and the dog-woman Scylla, and a race of male monsters: the Gigantes, Giants who attack the gods. I’m going to look at literature and art together because I think this a good way to get a comprehensive idea of how the monster is represented in Greek culture.

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Will Bentinck: Helping Kick Start An Educational Revolution

An old friend was talking on television the other day about where he is at and what he has been up to.  Will Bentinck, along with two other friends – Jes Haley and Grant Crozier – were sitting in the Rochester Castle pub in Stoke Newington many years ago when the idea of Ragged University crystallised….

Jes Haley, had catalyzed my going to London to help out a small community organisation called Street Performers Community Organisation ( She got volunteers for ecologically oriented projects as, at the time, she worked at British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (

James Tonner, who started this community organisation, regularly organised litter pick ups and other activities in the area of Hackney Marshes.  Jes had said that they needed someone to help organise the office and so I pitched in to help organise 5 years of back accounts and helping file paperwork. I also helped do some environmental clean up along the River Lee… Continue reading “Will Bentinck: Helping Kick Start An Educational Revolution” »

Citizenship Education: The Value of Dialogue by Eileen Francis


The purpose of the Values Education Council UK is to help individuals to develop as responsible and caring persons and to live as participating members of a pluralist society.

The aim is to promote the study of values in education and develop the practice of values education. VEC UK seeks to achieve this aim by promoting dialogue about, and awareness of, values and their application in education and society. The VEC Executive encourages member organisations to work in partnership to achieve mutually-shared aims and objectives.

In 1999, two member organisations – Antidote, the campaign for emotional literacy, and SAPERE, an organisation which promotes philosophical thinking with children – developed the Value of Dialogue project in co-operation with the VEC Executive. The project team organised conferences in London, Belfast, Manchester, Rugby, Bristol and Edinburgh, attended by over 500 participants who came together to explore dialogical principles and to share their own practice.

This report provides an insight into some of the ideas explored at the meetings on the value of dialogue which began in London in October 2000 and concluded in Edinburgh in October 2001. The title of the Edinburgh conference was Citizenship Education – Information or Transformation? We know that each country in the United Kingdom has a particular perspective on education for citizenship in the 21st century. Citizenship education becomes a subject in the English National curriculum in 2002. Scotland has produced a discussion document on education for citizenship. Northern Ireland regards active citizenship as an outcome of values education.

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The Root of Expertise by Alex Dunedin

charles dickens
charles dickens

Here is the address at the beginning of the Ragged year in Edinburgh where I deal with the issue of expertise and how we are all a part of it.  It recaps the project and what it’s ambitions are and set the scene for the first two talks of the Ragged University year…


Welcome to the beginning of the Edinburgh Ragged University year. There will be a break between the two talks when we can eat, refresh our glasses and get to know who is in the room.  This room is a space private to you, and like any personal space, it is not monitored with forms, questionnaires or number counting.  It is a space sacred to getting to know other people on your own terms and learning something new.

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Music: Joolz


From as young as I can remember I have had troubles with my hearing. I had 3 separate operations on my ears as a child and eventually my hearing improved enough that I was able to hear music properly for the first time.

From then I started to appreciate every single note. I couldn’t stop singing to my Dads records such as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Peter Frampton, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones etc.

I picked up a guitar for the first time when I was 14. It was an old beaten-up 12 String Echo Ranger, I played that guitar until my fingers bled and even then I kept going. I loved the sounds that I could create and quickly learned chord shapes and worked my way around the massive fret board.

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Harvard University


Harvard University is an American private Ivy League research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Its history, quality of education, academic influence, and wealth have made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Harvard was established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature, being the oldest institution of higher learning and the first corporation (officially The President and Fellows of Harvard College) chartered in the country. It was named after its first benefactor, John Harvard.

Although never formally affiliated with a church, the college primarily trained Congregationalist and Unitarian clergy. Harvard’s curriculum and students became secular throughout the 18th century and by the 19th century had emerged as the central cultural establishment among Boston elites. Following the American Civil War, President Charles W. Eliot’s forty-year tenure (1869–1909) transformed the college and affiliated professional schools into a centralized research university, and Harvard became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900.

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