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Publication - Professor Keri Facer

    Walking the City

    A method for exploring everyday public pedagogies

    Citation

    Facer, K & Buchczyk, M, 2018, ‘Walking the City: A method for exploring everyday public pedagogies’. in: Julian Sefton-Green, Ola Erstad (eds) Learning Beyond the School: International Perspectives on the Schooled Society. Routledge

    Abstract

    Bristol, our home town, has a famous tower that stands on one of its highest points. Climbing up inside the narrow staircase in the dark, you suddenly come to an archway at the top that brings you out blinded into the light and to a vision of the city spreading out beyond you: the parks, the river, the serried ranks of brightly coloured terraced houses climbing the many hills, the corporate headquarters by the docks, the trainlines snaking through the housing estates in the suburbs, the view out to the countryside beyond. From this perspective, it’s tempting to believe you can hold the city in the sweep of your hand as you reach out and draw it all in. As de Certeau (1984) observed, this elevated position is the vantage point from which plans can be made, blueprints drawn up for the city; top down, it gives the impression of a comprehensive and comprehensible view of the city. From this God’s eye view, however, the everyday, street-level behaviours that generate the actual lived experience of the city are invisible. The small acts, the everyday decisions, the repeated practices of short cuts and preferred strolls that produce the lived geography of the city remain out of sight. For those living in the city, seeking to build resources that support their own and others’ learning, the question is – how to make comprehensible the micro-practices that constitute the learning infrastructures that are being built? This tension between the top-down vision of the city planner and the lived experience of individuals actually navigating and making that city through everyday activities, as well as the conceptual and methodological challenges of exploring the everyday practices of learning, are the focus for this chapter.

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