Pop-up classrooms, no administrators, and full teacher-ownership

A humanities workshop being held in a Berkeley home as part of Villagecraft. (photo by author)

It is time for a new model of university: one that is cooperatively owned by its workers and decentralized. This university would be committed to social, economic, and environmental justice, with a curriculum that gives students practical experience remaking the world.

Decentralized education is both a plausible and preferable, as I learned during during my time with Villagecraft, a decentralized education network I co-facilitated in the San Francisco Bay Area from 2013–15.

Learning from the Villagecraft Model

For Villagecraft, we used bespoke communications software to coordinate a decentralized network of educational activities happening throughout the Bay Area. …


Right now, I’m a little annoyed at folks to who don’t understand the electoral process. This includes those perpetuating the myth of “the protest vote.”

I mean, firstly: if someone voted for a third-party candidate in a non-swing state, THEY DID NOT THROW THEIR VOTE AWAY.

For example, I live in California, where Clinton got 61% and Trump got 33%. We were not in any way a swing state. Our 55 electoral votes were definitely going to Clinton — this was a sure thing. I mean, this is a state where, in many communities, calling someone “liberal” means they’re too…


Bespoke shoemaking had all but vanished in the United States, but with a boost from social media, change is afoot

In May of 2014, Thomas Wandall, owner of Berkeley Resole opened his Berkeley, California shoe repair shop to teach eight people how to make a pair of leather sandals by hand.

Many of them had never made shoes before, and they knew that it could take between 8–12 hours to work several pieces of leather into a pair of flipflops.

“It really puts things into perspective,” one student said, “when you learn how much time it actually takes.”

Student shoes in progress. Berkeley Resole, Berkeley. CA

This was Mr. Wandall’s first time opening his shoe repair shop for a skillshare.

He was responding to a swell of interest…

Samara Hayley Steele

Advanced Research Affiliate with the Humanities & Critical Code Studies Lab at USC | MFA in Creative Writing, Portland State University

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