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30 NOVEMBER 2011

Narratives for Europe: Launderette

"Imagine that you have just got home late from a long day of work only to be confronted by an endless list of chores. You drag yourself and an old bag of dirty clothes to the laundromat around the corner. Suddenly some young film–maker is putting a camera in your face and asking you about your laundry, your life and your ever–fading childhood dreams. At first you want to be left alone–get out of my face! But after a while you relax. It feels good to talk and it feels good to listen. On your way home, you keep thinking about the stories you told and the ones you heard. Your mind just keeps on spinning...

The scenario of the short film 'Laundrette' transforms an anonymous public space into a dynamic one where stories are swapped and strangers are given faces. The film also acts as a remarkable metaphor for what Narratives for Europe wants to become: an open space where significant stories can be voiced, echoed and debated. Selected from the media collection of ECF's Youth and Media programme, 'Laundrette' was awarded 'Best Documentary' at the BFI Futures Film Festival 2011 in London. You can watch this film and other shorts on ECF's VIMEOchannel.

The BFI recruited this video and is one of the 6 partners of the Doc Next Network. This network functions as the core of the Youth & Media Programme of the European Cultural Foundation (ECF). Doc Next is a unique movement of independent cultural and media organisations working with young people and media in the UK, Spain, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey and Scandinavia."

(European Cultural Foundation)

"Launderette": Director – Bertie Telezynski, Producer – Johnny Orme, Producer – Mark Davies, Cinematographer – Alex Nevill, Cinematographer – Rachel Lewis, Editor – Louis Rossi, Sound – Liam Cook



2011 • ambition • anonymous public space • auteurBFI • BFI Futures Film Festival • broken relationships • camera in your face • childhood • childhood dreams • childhood memories • chores • confrontational stories • desolate space • Doc Next Network • documentaryECFEuropeEuropean Cultural Foundationexistential insightfilmfilmmaker • fragmented memories • human conditionimaginative stories • independent cultural and media organisations • late night • launderette • laundrette • Laundrette (film) • laundroma • laundromat • laundry • long day of work • lost family • mediamemorymoments • moments of personal insight • Narratives for Europe • Netherlandsopen spacePolandpublic spacereflection • reflexive documentary • Scandinaviashort film • significant stories • Spainstoriesstrangersstring theory • swap • TurkeyUK • young film-maker • young people • your life • Youth and Media • Youth and Media Programme


Simon Perkins
12 FEBRUARY 2010

The University of the Third Age (U3A)

"The University of the Third Age (U3A) is a highly successful adult education movement providing opportunities for older adults to enjoy a range of activities associated with well–being in later life. Two substantially different approaches, the original French approach, and the British approach which evolved a few years later, have become the dominant U3A models adopted by different countries. Within many countries communications between the individual U3A groups is limited; between countries there is even less communication. Thus, very little, that is readily accessible, has been written about U3A developments internationally. This article provides an overview of U3A in many countries. Data were obtained by contacting colleagues in a number of countries for up–to–date information about U3As in their region.

U3A underwent a substantial change when it reached Cambridge in 1981. Rather than relying on university good will the founders of the British model adopted an approach in which there was to be no distinction between the teachers and the taught (Laslett, 1989). Members would be the teachers as well as the learners and, where possible, members should engage in research activities. The "self–help" ideal was based on the knowledge that experts of every kind retire, thus, there should be no need for older learners to have to rely on paid or unpaid Second Age teachers. Laslett provides a substantial rationale for this approach. The self–help approach has been highly successful in Britain as well as in other countries such as Australia and New Zealand. Some of the strengths of the approach include: minimal membership fees; accessible classes run in community halls, libraries, private homes, schools, and so forth; flexible timetables and negotiable curriculum and teaching styles; wide course variety ranging from the highly academic to arts, crafts and physical activity; no academic constraints such as entrance requirements or examinations; and, the opportunity to mix with alert like–minded people who enjoy doing new things. Each U3A is independent and is run by a democratically elected management committee of members."

1). Wokingham U3A Open Day, UK
2). Peter Laslett (1989). A fresh map of life. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.



19731981accessibility • adult education • andragogyAotearoa New ZealandArgentinaAustraliaAustriaBelgiumBoliviaBrazil • British approach • CanadaChilecivic engagementColombiacommunitycurriculum • Dominican Republic • Ecuador • empowermentflexibilityFrance • French approach • GermanyinstructioninteractionIrelandItalyJapanknowledgelearnerslearninglifelong learninglike-mindedmembershipMexicoNetherlandsNorth America • older learners • paedagogyParaguayparticipationpedagogyPeoples Republic of China • Peter Laslett • PolandQuebec • Republic of Chile • retirement • Scandanavia • schools • self-help • Spain • substantially • Switzerlandteaching • teaching styles • Toulouse University • training • U3A • U3A groups • UKuniversity • University of the Third Age • Uruguay • USA • Venezuela


Simon Perkins
28 MAY 2009

cultural omnivorousness and awareness of the contestability of judgments

"University education it seems has exposed people to awareness of the contestability of judgments about taste which make them probably more adventurous, less up–tight, less worried that they might make a social faux pas by commending as worthy an item beyond the pale of legitimate culture. It should also probably increase access to more varied cultural experience and the sense that this kind of experience is a good thing, which is an equally important basis for future cultural engagement. The relative lack of confidence in our younger omnivores suggests that there is some norm which says that to be properly culturally competent one should indeed have a wide knowledge of cultural types, and that these are things which can be discovered through experience or, in the case of the London–based, non–graduate omnivore absorbed through the everyday life of the metropolitan centre. This is a form of omnivorousness informed by a tentative curiosity involved in learning what it is to be middle–class and developing positions and preferences which appear to be proper and correct."
(Alan Warde, David Wright, Modesto Gayo–Cal, Tony Bennett, Elizabeth Silva,
Mike Savage, p.20, University of Manchester and Open University, UK)

[Paper delivered to the European Sociological Association Conference, Torun, Poland, September 2005, Working Group on the Sociology of Consumption]


2005 • contestable • contextcritiquecultural codescultural engagement • cultural omnivore • cultural signalsdiscoursediscursive fieldeducation • European Sociological Association Conference • experienceknowledgelearningPolandsocial constructionismsocial interactionsociologytaste (sociology) • Torun • understandinguniversity


Simon Perkins

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