Informal Education Oral History Project

Fairhead, Jonathon T.

As of this writing, the project is still very much in a developmental and exploratory phase. I have long been interested in informal education and have through my association with a live-work warehouse near my home in East Williamsburg been associated with outsider ideas and philosophies of institutional distrust. I started to ask my friends at the warehouse about their life decisions and how they had built meaningful and independent lives that were not tied to formal education and traditional more middle class tracks of education and employment. These three interviews mark the formalization of this line of enquiry. The people I have interviewed thus far all live in the formerly gritty South and East sides of the formerly industrial Williamsburg. Two of the people I met through the warehouse (Norm: 91 R Messerole), and one was my neighbor. So the circle so far is rather limited to my extended social and environmental network. I am looking to expand this. Three out of four of the interviewees did not graduate from college; one did over a 10 year period (to please his mother) but credits institutionalized learning with little. In fact he contrasts it to the rich learning he was experiencing as a member of a neighborhood radio station, and other anarchist collectives. I photographed the interviewees at the time of the interview and have included the photographs here as well.



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More About This Work

Academic Units
International and Transcultural Studies
Published Here
March 12, 2015


Interviewer's note: There are many approaches to Oral History, which is often seen as the democratizing of history in that it places history firmly in the lived experience of everyone, but the view that historians of the future might find these interviews interesting sustains many of our efforts.

Oftentimes, these interviews will be placed in archives that require permission to use, and also require that the speakers or authors be referenced. I wanted to make these interviews completely open to the public, as much as a learning experience as because the open-resource structure resonates with the politics of those interviewed.

My Professor is Amy Starecheski. She has a lot of experience with archiving, and we discussed this option and my intent to use it along the way.