Geographies of education, volunteering and the lifecourse: the Woodcraft Folk in Britain (1925-1975)
journal contributionposted on 23.07.2014, 14:34 by Sarah Mills
This article extends the current scholarly focus within the geographies of education and the geographies of children, youth and families through an original examination of the Woodcraft Folk – a British youth organization founded in 1925 that aimed to create a world built on equality, friendship and peace. This article illustrates how voluntary uniformed youth organizations had a much wider spatial remit and more complex institutional geographies than have been hitherto acknowledged, with their active involvement in the training of adults (namely parents and volunteers) as well as the education of children and young people. Drawing on archival research and a range of sources, the article explores the Woodcraft Folk’s philosophies and political activities across its first 50 years, and in doing so, makes two central academic contributions to the discipline. First, the article provides a timely focus on training and its analytical purchase for geographers as part of a growing body of work on the geographies of education. Second, the article shows how geographers can account for both children and adults’ geographies in institutional spaces, in this case through mapping out the enlivened historical geographies of voluntarism across the lifecourse. This article demonstrates the complex and often fluid relationship between formal and informal education, as well as the important connections between parenting and volunteering. Overall, the article reflects on the subsequent challenges and opportunities for researchers concerned with debates on education, youth and volunteering within geography and beyond.
This paper is drawn from research connected with an ESRC project [grant number ES/I031189/1].
- Geography and Environment