OffMarket FreeSchool

Posted in Uncategorized on October 24, 2011 by lemondrizzlecake

Some friend have opened up a building and will be hosting various skill-sharing sessions over the next 2 weeks. See their blurb below for information and how to get involved. Also see here for a timetable of workshops…

We, the OffMarket collective, take disused buildings and turn them into open resources. We have just moved in to 68 Dalston Lanes E8 3AH.  It is a larger space than we’ve had before, with a shop front consisting of a large back room, smaller rooms to the front and a good sized yard out back. We have lots of ideas about what to do with this space and look forward to hearing yours!

Free School: To launch the new space we will be holding a two week Free School packed with workshops and skill-shares. If you would like to propose a workshop or otherwise get involved with the running of the space you can come to our meetings every Monday at 7pm, email us on or just show up and get stuck in.

Workshops confirmed; Life Drawing, Sewing Curtains, Sign Writing/Flyer Making, Lock Changing, Shelf Making, Basic Electricity and Plumbing, Using and maintaining Power Tools, Insulation for Winter, Ecological Cleaning, Wireless Internet Security, 12V Music Making, Home Brew

And those whose times are already scheduled…
Tuesday 25th: Building Accessible Barricades 12-3
Wednesday 26th: Furniture Building and Carpentry 12-4 / Basic Tools
Skillshare for Women/Trans/Queer Folk 5-7pm
Saturday 29th: Vegan Cooking 12-5 / Café from 7pm
Tuesday 1st : Practical Squatting Evening 7-9pm
Thursday 3rd : Legal Workshop on Squatting from ASS 7-9pm
Saturday 5th : Self Defence 10-6

Open meetings are on monday at 7pm if you want to meet us, check the space out, or have any proposal to use the space!

Accessiblity: As of yet the space is not very accessible, we will be working on this as a priority and will have detailed info available in the next few days.


Really FreeSchool

Posted in Uncategorized on January 25, 2011 by lemondrizzlecake

So some folks were opening up spaces around central London for some freeschool fun… see below for their first communique and check out their website for updates:

They are now having a well deserved break!! so check this space for new adventures in the near future


Surrounded by institutions and universities, there is newly occupied space where education can be re-imagined. Amidst the rising fees and mounting pressure for ‘success’, we value knowledge in a different currency; one that everyone can afford to trade. In this school, skills are swapped and information shared, culture cannot be bought or sold. Here is an autonomous space to find each other, to gain momentum, to cross-pollinate ideas and actions.

If learning amounts to little more than preparation for the world of work, then this school is the antithesis of education. There is more to life than wage slavery.

This is a part of the latest chapter in a long history of resistance. It is an open book, a pop-up space with no fixed agenda, unlimited in scope, This space aims to cultivate equality through collaboration and horizontal participation. A synthesis of workshops, talks, games, discussions, lessons, skill shares, debates, film screenings. Our time in this building is short, we have the next couple of weeks to zhumba, zhumba, zhumba.

Lets take education into our own hands. Propose a session, share your knowledge, extend your skillz…

Resistance Freeschool, July 25th, 2010, 1pm

Posted in Uncategorized on July 15, 2010 by therampart

The 6th London Freeschool will be held as part of a weekend celebrating the past, present and future of the 195 Mare Street Social Centre. Sunday 25th July will be devoted to a day of workshops looking to the future and how we can resist evictions, oppression, exploitation by private property management companies and the rhetoric of electoral politics. Come along and discuss your experience of building barricades, learn about your legal status after eviction, know your rights and take part in legal observation role play, watch a film about what it means to be a Camelot property ‘guardian’ and debate the current government’s appropriation of the language of autonomous politics. The day will finish with the ever surprising Workshop of Nothing (with extra nothingness), vegetarian food and a Lounge Lizard set from DJs Steene and Andy. Other distractions will include kiln building in the garden and How to be Abusive in Spanish. All workshops between 1 and 8pm. Music and food after.

1-2:00pm Advisory Service for Squatters workshop on legal issues in resisting eviction
2-3:30pm Legal Observer training
2-3:30pm We are not the ‘Big Society’ seminar

During the election (as well as immediately afterward) we’ve noticed how the Conservative Party has been appropriating the imagery and symbols normally associated with anarchist politics, in order to capitalise on the reaction against New Labour’s obsession with audit regimes, box-ticking managerialism and the destruction of civil liberties. For example, academies are being called ‘free schools’, and one Tory campaign poster read ‘social revolution not state control’. This poses particular challenges. How do we make sure that our opposition to state control doesn’t get conflated with the Con/Dem ideology of ‘small government’?

The new Conservative ideology is based almost entirely on a book by Phillip Blond called Red Tory: How Left and Right Have Broken Britain and How We can Fix It. Blond wants to provide conditions for ‘autonomous organisation’ and re-invigorate the power of the working class. Sound familiar?

Join us to discuss how we can promote activism and autonomous social structures without sounding as if we’ve sold out to electoral politics. The seminar will be followed by a ritual book burning.

3:30-4pm tea break
4-5:30pm screening of Carefree Vacant Property on Camelot anti-squatting service

In this documentary Abel Heijkamp follows 7 tenants from the 2 largest anti-squat companies Camelot and Ad Hoc, to reveal the consequences for tenants who have no protection under the law. Who uses the services of anti-squat agencies? And how do politicians, housing experts, lawyers and others judge this rising phenomenon?

6-8:00pm Workshop of Nothing –  with extra nothingness
TBA Barricade workshop

Check the website for more information on workshops and POSSIBLE CHANGES to time of events!
of 195 Mare st. weekend

Weekend of workshops on Consensus Decision Making and Facilitation @ 195 Mare st

Posted in Uncategorized on June 8, 2010 by jonnyboy

Weekend of workshops on Consensus Decision Making and Facilitation @ 195 Mare st E8 3QE.

A two days event:
Saturday 3rd July, workshop on Consensus Decision Making.
Sunday 4th July, workshop on Facilitating Consensus.

Are you part of a collective?
Organising action, events, running an autonomous space?
We are as well!

It’s occurred to some of us that there was room for lots of improvement in the way our collectives work, be it in daily life, space organising or during traditional meetings!
We, and people around us, are sometimes not very good at looking after ourselves, at not letting ourselves burn out, at not sacrificing ourselves for the “cause”, at taking other people’s needs into account, at communicating effectively, at being aware of how what we are doing/saying can impact on other people, at dealing with criticism, disagreements, conflicts, anger, feedback, challenges, at having productive, pleasant and empowering meetings…

We know that this is not the sexiest part of what we do. “Talking about how I feel rather than organising the next blockade? Naaaaahh!” But sacrificing ourselves for our goals always sounds like a defeat to us. We want our groups to look like the sort of society that we’re fighting for.
We want them to be healthy and to run smoothly. We want to feel safe, and to be inspired, whenever we spend time in them. And we think that we’ll all achieve more that way, as well. Strengthening the way we work together is a key way of strengthening everything we do.

We’d like to run regular events, but the first weekend will be 3rd/4th July, with two all-afternoon workshops (1pm-7pm) from the collective Seeds for Change, on Consensus Decision Making (Saturday 3rd July) and Facilitating Consensus (Sunday 4th July).

–Consensus Decision Making–
Saturday 3rd July, 1-7 pm
Consensus decision making is a creative and dynamic way of reaching agreement between all members of a group, finding solutions that everyone actively supports – or at least can live with. Consensus is neither compromise nor unanimity – it aims to go further by weaving together everyone’s best ideas and most important concerns – a process that often results in surprising and creative solutions. It’s about everyone working together to meet both the individual’s and the group’s needs.
The workshop will be fully participatory, and focus on enabling each other to develop key skills and qualities for productive, enjoyable, empowering group work – such as good listening, communicating well, addressing each other’s needs, giving and receiving feedback, common ground and disagreements.

–Facilitating Consensus–
Sunday 4th July, 1-7 pm
Have you ever sat through a meeting that has dragged on and on, with tempers running high, people talking over each other and no decisions being made? Meetings are a necessary part of working in any group – they give us the chance to share information, to reach decisions and to get jobs done. But meetings have another important function, which is often forgotten about – group maintenance.
A good group also involves, supports and empowers the participants, creating energy and enthusiasm. A sense of community is the basis for successful group work and social change. Good facilitation will help you to achieve all of this. This workshop will focus on developing skills and understanding to help us help our groups work well together, and make good decisions, using consensus.

Unfortunately numbers are limited (25 people), so please contact us to reserve your space :
londonfreeschool at

There will also be vegan dinner afterwards on both evenings for all the participants.

Some ideas we’ve had for future workshops or discussions are:
* drug addiction and its consequences
* giving and receiving feedback
* dealing with burn out
* non violent communication
* sexual consent
* conflict resolution
* safer spaces policies
* open discussions to share what’s happening in our collectives, support
each other in making them work better…

If any of those interest you, please do let us know as well, even if you can’t manage the July weekend.

Let’s make our spaces and collectives better for all of us to be in!

at 195 Mare Street, Hackney, E8 3QE
In terms of accessibility, have a look at the Access Codes for the building.
In short there is a ramp at the front for the steps but there is no wheelchair accessible toilets.

Report on today’s London FreeSchool

Posted in Uncategorized on March 6, 2010 by jonnyboy

The first workshop day of the 5th London FreeSchool just finished and it was great!! Some of us (the brave ones that stayed until the end) had a general debrief about how things went and what we think worked well and what worked less well.

Maybe lets start with what did not work very well : IT WAS SOOOO COLD!! Everyone was freezing to death! If you are thinking about coming on sunday, bring warm clothing, your own cup to constantly refill it with hot beverage, and a blanket to sit down and watch movies or attend workshops!
The slots we planned to discuss/present our safer space policy weren’t very successful, probably because they were either on the friday evening (a famous FreeSchool slot for being particularly under-attended!) or at 12noon on saturday (too early!!). Someone said that they didn’t notice many situations where people were challenging each other or bringing up situations that they felt were oppressive. Not that they wanted conflicts to happen, but only mentioning it within the framework of seeing challenge as a good and constructive thing to go through.
The movie space was pretty quiet, maybe because too far away from the rest of the rooms. Some people felt that the bike and welding workshops were a bit too male dominated, and other thought that it might have been a good thing if the sexual consent one wouldn’t have been so female dominated!

An important feature of this 5th FreeSchool was that the workshops, when their structure allowed it, were meant to end with a short debrief : providing space at the end of each workshop to try and think about how it went, what was good or less good, about the dynamics (especially the gender dynamics) of the group during it, if anyone felt uncomfortable/oppressed/unsafe/silenced at any time… It seems that only 1.30H was too short too short for a full-on workshop/discussion AND a debrief but the ones that were allocated a 2h slot allowed debriefs to happen. And they debrief showed that people were generally very happy about the workshops and how it went!
Also, people felt that the workshops that were specifically about gender/feminism did include some attention to those dynamics (like the sexual consent one where the SSP was discussed a lot, the feminism/autonomous politics and the What are children for?). Another example is the discussion on Charisma (the most successful workshop with about 30 attendants!) where people even re-shaped the workshop because they notice that there was issue of charisma/power balance (basically the same few people taking most of the speaking space!) during the actual discussion!
People felt they learnt a lot of new practical skills, especially at the DIY radio workshop (a radio show will be recorded tomorrow at the FreeSchool, check out the website for more news!), the puppet making one and the welding.
There was a lot of praises about the Free and Open software workshop that was very open, informative and managed to attract a lot of women to a theme that tends to be male dominated! Some of the workshops that happened are not mentioned here not because they didn’t go well but because no one from the general debrief attended them!
A rough and quick calculation during the day showed that it seemed that the attendance to most of the workshop was very gender balanced (always around 50/50). Of course this calculation was made doing something that was against our safer space statement: assuming people’s gender instead of asking them directly! But we thought it’d be an interesting figure to mention even though it might not be very accurate… And this some sort of achievement to previous FreeSchool events that were pretty much male dominated.
The Safer Space policy itself was distributed to every person walking in the space, even just passer-by who were not here for the FreeSchool! Which was great, we did actually get lots of people who just saw the big signs outside in the streets and came in only to have a look, wander around and ask questions.

Everyone felt that the atmosphere was great, a lot of pleasure and discussion and people generally being kind to each other and happy!

So hope to see you tomorrow for more learning, sharing, freezing and fun!!

Safer Space Policy (SSP) of the London Free School, or a welcome note to try to make everyone feel as comfortable and safe as possible!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 2, 2010 by jonnyboy

Safer spaces is a concept that talks about creating spaces and relationships that are safe. A SSP is more than a document or a set of rules it is an ongoing process and a goal that we all work towards! Safer spaces are welcoming, inviting and engaging. They include respect for others, no discrimination, oppression, exclusion or marginalisation based on sex/gender, race, sexuality, class, age, ability, religion, parental or relationship status…

The London FreeSchool would like every participant to enjoy the event in a relaxed atmosphere, but also to understand the political meaning and the impact that their behaviour and words can have on others.

There are all sorts of oppressions in our world, sometimes we are oppressors, sometimes we are oppressed. Even not intentionally. we can all do or say something that would hurt or be abusive to someone.

Therefore it is necessary to interrogate and challenge ourselves and each other. As part of this we need to accept and be responsive and open to the possibilities of being challenged, and someone saying “THAT IS NOT OK”. We think that being challenged is very useful, and we try to see it as constructive criticism. Also we all are expected to take responsibility for the things we say/do. If it is clear that there is no will to deal with the issue in a positive and constructive way, the person who’s been challenged may be asked to leave.

At this space we ask everyone not to make too many assumptions about people‘s gender identity, background or abilities. Better asking than assuming! Let’s be aware of how much gender binaries are embedded in our language, and allow each person to define and redefine themselves as they wish.

To help us think about gender oppression and emancipation the workshops are to end with a kind of debrief wherein participants are welcome to express how they felt about the workshops, the dynamics of the group during it, or if they felt uncomfortable/oppressed/unsafe/silenced at any time.

We feel that it would be better if people kept the space alcohol, drug and smoke free during the workshops, thanks! Not necessarily because of the substances themselves but because they can sometimes alter and make us feel less responsible of our behaviours.

Schedule of the FreeSchool 5th-7th March

Posted in Uncategorized on February 18, 2010 by londonfreeschool

Here’s a list of discussions and workshops that have been proposed to take place at the next freeschool weekender, 5th – 7th March… keep checking back here in case of last minute changes!

The FreeSchool will happen in 195 Mare st. E8 3QE.

Please have a read of our Safer Space Policy, or welcome note for the London FreeSchool

There is a Kids space, dont hesitate to tell us your needs londonfreeschool  at (replace at by @)

In terms of accessibility, have a look at the Access Codes for the building. In short: there is a ramp at the front for the steps. the temporary layout for the use of the building the week end is the following:

– Workshop Space 1 and 2, Bar and chill out space will be on the ground floor with no steps between them.

– Workshop Space 3 and 4 will be in the basement (narrow and not very nice stairs).

– The Movie Space and the kids space will be on the ground floor but with few steps separating them from each other and from the Workshop spaces 1 and 2.

– Toilets are not wheelchair friendly, but we will try to improve them and welcome suggestions and guidance.


Friday 5th March



Saturday 6th March


Bar / Chill out space

Workshop Space 1

  • 12.30 – 14.30 : Direct Action/ Blockading
  • 14.30 – 16.00 : Spanish lesson
  • 16.00 – 19.00 : A DIY Radio Workshop

Workshop space 2

Workshop Space 3

Workshop Space 4

  • All day: Welding (just come round and ask the facilitator to show you!)
  • 16.00 – 17.30 : Bike Repair Workshop

Kids Space

Movie space

  • 12:30 Made in Secret (2005)
  • 14:15 Be Like Others (2008)
  • 15:45 XXY (2007)
  • 17:30 Show Me Love (Fucking Amal) (1998)

19.30 : Daily general debrief


Sunday 7th March


Bar / Chill out space

  • 12.00 – 12.30 : Discussion/presentation of the Safer Space Policy
  • 14.00 – 17.00 : Free tutorials for humanities students (turn up and ask for the facilitators)
  • after 17.00 : Probably some knitting/crochet!

Workshop Space 1

Workshop Space 2

Workshop Space 3

Workshop Space 4

  • All day: Welding (just come round and ask the facilitator to show you!)

Movie Space

19.00 : Daily general debrief

Followed by the Making Beards & Homemade Stuffers and a social / dressing up party!

Next London Free School

Posted in Uncategorized on February 18, 2010 by jonnyboy

Accessibility: The event will happen on the ground floor. There are few steps at the front door but there will be a ramp. Toilets are not very wheelchair friendly. People will be here to help as much as they can. Let us know if you have particular needs

Creche: there will be a kids space. Let us know your needs

*To join our infoline text ‘freeschool’ to 07905774037*
*email: // website*

London Free School / Callout for workshops.

Posted in Uncategorized on January 28, 2010 by jonnyboy

The next London Free School will be held 6-7 March.

This free school is organised around issues of gender oppression and emancipation, but in a very particular way. We are open to all manner of workshops, discussions, seminars, etc. which aren’t specifically about feminism or gender, however, whatever the workshop (origami, stoic philosophy, language lessons) there would be an engagement with how gender figures into what is being learned.

This calls for interesting facilitation, and could be done in many different ways – it’s up to you.
Although we want the workshops to end with a kind of debrief wherein participants review the gender politics at play in the experience.
The idea is to get a wide range of people coming, including some that have not been in feminist spaces before, and integrate these issues into more general activities.

The workshops can be way to directly engage with how gender oppression affects what is possible, not possible, and how this still matters. The intention is to upset the traditional ways abilities, skills and access to conventional power are tied to “male”, while emotional labour, and certain abilities are tied to “female”.  Enough, let’s have a free school!

So if you’re up for it, please contact us with a short description of what you have in mind.

you can:

– publish a comment on this blog

– send an email to deschooling_society at

– come to one of our next meeting. The next meetings will be on Thursday 28th Jan 7pm(195 Mare st in Hackney) and Thursday 11th Feb.

Deadline for workshops proposal is Feb. 11.

deschooling_society at
to join our infoline text “freeschool” to 07905774037

Call Out for the next FreeSchool Weekender

Posted in Uncategorized on December 22, 2009 by jonnyboy

The London FreeSchool collective has decided to organise another week-end of skillsharing (we thought about 5-7th March 2010).
This will be the fifth London FreeSchool event since september 2008. We had tons of workshops, hosted in many different social centres scattered around london and lots of very diverse people doing and attending workshops!

The collective started discussing the next FreeSchool weekender, and had some very interesting and ambitious ideas.
Mainly we would like the next FreeSchool weekender to have a focus on feminism/gender/anti-sexism.
But at the same time, one of our main aim would be to get a wide range of people coming, including some that have not been before in feminist spaces or haven’t had access to it. Basically we would like to use the FreeSchool format to get everyone to think about feminism and anti-sexism issues in the Freeschool context.
But also, more generally, we would like to create a space where people could feel safe and free to raise issues (sexism, racism…) or to ask for help if they felt oppressed/threatened. This would probably mean having a safer space policy for the whole event. It would also mean trying not only to have a strong emphasis on sexism but a sort of general background throughout the week-end about systems of oppression, and make it open for racism, able-ism, age-ism, classism and other issues to be brought up.

We are then trying to reach out people around us to organise this event and make it successful!
This is the very beginning and we would like you to come and help shape this next FreeSchool weekender!

The next meeting will be on Thursday the 14th of January at 8pm, 195 Mare Street in Hackney (bring some warm clothing!).

You are all invited to come and bring ideas and suggestions!

Only for your information, here are some ideas we had but that obviously need more diScussion/critics:
– having regular workshops that we would have during a regular freeSchool event but with a feminist angle/gender issues emphasis (for example: housing with specific discussion on women’s housing situation…),
– feminism/gender/sexism related workshops,
– maybe some non-mixed sessions/workshops for “highly gendered” topics (bike fixing, electricity, plumbing, IT…) where some of us felt that it would be much more empowering for women to be in a non mixed environment,
– empasizing the questionning of genders,
– a small debrief at the end of each workshop (maybe with questions like: did you feel you had enough space to express yourself during the workshop? have you noticed any oppressive behavior/language during the workshop?),
– a daily debrief (during dinner) open to everyone and with at least the facilitators of the day’s workshops.