Origins of the CoCreative Learning Project


The CoCreative Learning Project has its roots in the work of Critical Thinking at the Free University.

The Critical Thinking project is a non-hierarchical, self-organising, collaborative, learning project to curate referenced information and analysis to share wider understanding of why the world is the way it is and identify levers for change.

Critical Thinking has been practising co-creative learning from its inception in 2012. It started life as part of the Free University which evolved from Occupy London and the Bank of Ideas to promote education as a common good which has value of itself. We believe that freedom to learn and share knowledge is essential for a vibrant society and Free University is dedicated to this aim. Free University is an evolving public institution for critical thinking, creativity and knowledge beyond that sanctioned by the state and the market. Free University welcomes all who show appropriate respect to all other members and is part of a wider national free university network.

CoCreative Learning in Action

Critical Thinking’s way of working has evolved into the Process, Principles and methodology described in the CoCreative Learning HOWTO. Our practice and methodology are derived from the non-hierarchical conception of the Free University and incorporate learning from Occupy London.

Critical Thinking came across Sugata Mitra and his work on Self-Organised Learning Environments in 2013. SOLE Central at Newcastle University is a global hub for research into self-organised learning environments (SOLEs). It brings together researchers, practitioners, policymakers and entrepreneurs.

The Free Software movement is an exemplar of co-creative learning and development and Debian GNU/Linux is a leading Linux based software distribution. The Debian Project is an association of individuals who have made common cause to create a free operating system. This operating system that we have created is called Debian. Debian is used by some participants in Critical Thinking and the concepts of freedom enshrined in Debian are integrated into Critical Thinking’s ethos and the CoCreative Learning Project.