The University of Openess (Uo) was an experiment in collaborative research and peer education
Transposing educational tools and techniques from the world of Free Software such as wikis, mailing lists, blogs and IRC into other fields of study, the Uo quickly spawned a Faculty of Cartography, a Faculty of Physical Education, and many more. All researchers had to do was start a page, announce the activities and focus of their faculty, and grow a community of researchers. At a time when these tools were still new to many, the Uo became a thriving community of DIY researchers organising conferences, developing software, publishing papers and building libraries.
The Uo’s first faculty: the Faculty of Unix run by Ian Morrison is still active today.
The Uo was inspired by developments in hacker/DIY culture and new forms of organising information-based labour like Free Software, as well as by artist groups such as the Copenhagen Free University, which organised its self-institutional activities in ways that questioned the political, public and personal implications of global economic and social developments in knowledge production.
The wiki is long dead, but an interesting archive is available on archive.org.
Links and Credits
- This was a large scale collaboration, so it is hard to individuate, but the people and organisations involved in setting up, thinking about, inspiring and running the Uo and its various faculties included Ian Morrison, Jo Walsh, Simon Worthington, Lottie Child, Kate Rich, Armin Medosch, Tenyen, James Stevens / consume.net, Gini Simpson, The Copenhagen Free University, Asim Butt, evoL PsychogeogrAphix, Fabian Tompsett, Howard Slater, Josephine Berry, Lisa Haskel, Mute Magazine , Marina Vishmidt , Derek Lewis , Adam Burns/Free2Air , Rain Ashford , Wilfried Hou Je Bek , Frederic Madre , Philippe Rekacewicz, Greenman , Sarah Cook , Douglas Carnall , Andrew Wasilczuk , .nbco , Mary Harrington, and Dougald Hine.