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About Us

WorkshopThe Freire Institute is an organization for transformative community-based learning. In our programmes your own knowledge and life experience becomes the raw material for education. We develop tools and approaches based on the work of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, whose work has inspired many social movements and educational programmes around the world.

Education in this sense is a tool for individual and community empowerment and transformation. Our approach is informal, challenging and exciting. You do not need any formal qualifications to take part, just a commitment to learning and change. Programmes and activities are open to individuals, community groups and churches and we can tailor programmes flexibly to suit your group's needs. We also hold one-off community arts events and workshops around specific issues.

Our name is inspired by the work of Paulo Freire. Our approach owes a lot to the techniques pioneered by Freire and supplemented by practice elsewhere. We also draw upon organizing principles derived from Saul Alinsky and others.

These techniques and principles have been successfully adopted by community organizations, church-based groups and issue-based networks in many countries. The Freire Institute welcomes enquiries from anywhere around the world, and we seek to co-operate with other Paulo Freire-related institutes and organizations.


Transformative Learning

Click here for details of the Paulo Freire Online Course Package »

Our courses are aimed at activists and organizers working for social change, and thus we try to provide courses that are as affordable and accessible as possible.

The Freire Institute We offer a model of learning which is not dry and academic but is based upon sharing our experience and using the 'social knowledge' that we all have. In this model of learning we can all become both co-learners and co-teachers.

This social (or 'experiential') knowledge is combined with various analytical tools and frameworks provided by group facilitators. This adds valuable 'analytical' content to our knowledge.

Finally, we test our knowledge and experience through action - practical involvement in the process of community and social change. People's community involvement becomes the raw material for their learning.

Our Courses

We currently offer the Paulo Freire Formation Programme as a comprehensive introduction to Freire's approach and its application through social analysis. You can also study aspects of the social economy and community organizing.  All of these courses are delivered online, although the Paulo Freire Formation Programme also includes an option to attend a Summer School (the "Intercultural Formation Meeting") in Part II.

Alternatively, if you are interested in workshops (one to five days), either in-house or at Burnley, click here; or if you are interested in university courses offered by the University of Central Lancashire, click here.

Our principal programme.  The Paulo Freire Formation Programme is an in-depth course in social analysis and popular education methods for full training in Freirean tools and approaches. This course is aimed at those who are committed to working for social change.

The 'social economy' refers to the sector of the economy which is neither state nor privately owned, including co-operatives, social enterprises and nonprofit organizations.  We also use the term 'solidarity economy', which goes much further.  It implies economic activity for social justice, and is often seen as providing an alternative to capitalism.

Courses in Community Leadership are currently available at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). New programmes in Community Leadership and Community Organizing will be introduced by the Freire Institute later this year.

If you would like to discuss whether any of these courses would be suitable for you, please contact us.