FAQs

FAQ 1: What is Edukit?:

Edukit is a ‘re-think’ of the original schema recommended by Buckminster Fuller [1]. It is important because the counter challenge of establishing so-called ’top’ universities - i.e. an elitist educational system - ignores a critical need, namely, help to build an egalitarian world educational system.

FAQ 2: What is the Context?:

On the global level, the elitist system uses a disproportionate amount of the total world’s resources to serve a minority of humanity [2]. For example, the ‘top’ 100 universities are concentrated in the richest areas of the world - i.e. on the east and west coasts of the US; in Western Europe; and in some countries on the Pacific Rim. The most highly resourced areas are North America and Western Europe with 5% and 12% of humanity respectively. At the same time, the elitist system neglects the majority of humanity. For example, there are no ‘top’ universities in the poorest areas of the world where over 80% of humanity live - i.e. in South America (9%), Africa (15%) and Asia (60% minus some exceptions on the Pacific Rim).

On the local level, the elitist system prioritizes university education over universal access in every country in the world. However, the epitome of the elitist system exists in England. Edukit therefore seeks to address the critical need—help to build an egalitarian educational system, by focusing on possible development in England, in an area the elitist system has neglected for decades [3].

FAQ 3: What/Where/How?:

Edukit is an egalitarian educational system predicated on a set of complementary “PROPOSITIONS” - see pop-up windows on the Edukit spread: [4] - in response to which Edukit outlines a system of parts. These components correspond directly to those specified in the original schema recommended by Fuller in Education Automation - i.e. they are electronic, mobile and adaptable - and, subsequently, postulated by Cedric Price in the Potteries Thinkbelt (1964-66).

Edukit is based at the approximate dynamic population centre in England (cf Fuller) where it is being piloted via the Dukeries Thinkbelt from August 2014 to January 2016 (cf Price). The DTb is a plan for an advanced educational industry in West Nottinghamshire developed in the old industrial net (cf both Fuller and Price). This is detailed further in Facsimiles 1 and 2, both published in 2016 [5] [6]. .

Edukit works as a plan for an advanced educational industry in West Nottinghamshire run by the community (cf both Fuller and Price). It assumes that if the theorems upon which it is predicated prove true for the small system then they will prove true for the large system (after Ashby, 1970, An Introduction to Cybernetics). Hence the World Map also adumbrates a Global Thinkbelt [7]

FAQ 3.5: Location(s):

The primary operating location of Edukit is in the old coalfield towns between Nottingham and Sheffield in England. As a global system, it will require additional physical locations throughout the world, including, for example, a secondary location in Illinois in the USA [8]. However, the maximum emphasis placed on electronic technology means that global coverage can be achieved through the use of communications satellites and the internet.

FAQ 4: History and Vision:

Edukit was inspired by a series of issues of a design science magazine (Architectural Design) from the ‘Potteries Thinkbelt’ issue (AD/10/66), through ‘Learning’ (AD/5/68), two systems specials (AD/9/69 and AD/10/72), and the Medikit issue (AD/10/69), to the Cedric Price Supplements in the early 1970s; the Architectural Association’s ‘Social Institutions’ Bibliography (1978); and the extensive writings of both Cedric Price and Buckminster Fuller.

Edukit has evolved from its inception in my student thesis (unpublished, 1972) at Leeds School of Architecture in England. It progressed through a series of unbuilt community learning centres in Yorkshire, England (1979); an earlier Dukeries Thinkbelt study (1984-86); a series of meetings with Cedric Price from 1978 to 1996; my Open University studies from 1985 to 1996; and my involvement in various capacities in the existing educational system.

Edukit integrates the full range of key factors. Briefly, for example:

● socially, by offering genuine equality to 100% of humanity;
● culturally, by not imposing the dominant western cultural ethos;
● economically, by a valid distribution of educational institutions;
● ecologically, by minimizing the use of non-renewable resources;
● technologically, by maximizing the use of renewable resources.

The long-term systemic effects I anticipate when Edukit is fully implemented, say by 2035, are:

● making the elitist educational system redundant;
● making the total world’s resources serve 100% of humanity.

World Design Science Decade 1965-75 and Polyark - “the very faint blue-print of the best system Schools of Architecture could ever adopt” (Price, 1976) - have established a precedent.

FAQ 5: Impact:

The prime design evidenced by Edukit provides for what Fuller described as “the orderly transfer of the world consumer population from the obsoleting worker payrolls to the world educational system’s advanced search, research and vital regeneration functioning” (Prime Design, 1960) - hence the provision of facilities in the three ‘transfer’ areas located in the pilot study at Hucknall, Teversal and Clipstone Colliery set an example for other areas to learn from. In addition, the various means of exchange postulated by the pilot study extend the impact of Edukit beyond the finite location of the Dukeries Thinkbelt in England to 100% of humanity.

With a local population of over a quarter of a million in the Dukeries Thinkbelt, including 20,000 students of pure and applied science and engineering, and a global population of over seven billion, Edukit is demonstrably a large system. With Ashby’s ‘size’ principle in view (see Question 3 above), it is considered valid to measure and calculate impact on the local level alone.

At this first stage of the process I am contacting various interested parties with information about the study. Their responses will enable me to measure commitment to and conceptions of building an egalitarian educational system.

FAQ 5.5: Metrics:

Specific numerical metrics are beyond the scope of the study at present. However, it is anticipated that various methods of measuring the potential impact of Edukit will be used as it progresses. For example: One possible approach is outlined by Howard V. Perlmutter in his seminal essay 'Towards a Theory and Practice of Social Architecture: The Building Of Indispensable Institutions’, Tavistock Publications, 1965.

FAQ 6: Planning and Operations:

My implementation plan has four main stages:

Firstly, the submission of Edukit to the 2015 Buckminster Fuller Challenge and to various interested parties in 2015-2016.

Secondly, the development of www.edukit.org from personal research to organizational research purposes in 2015-2016.

Thirdly, the development of the Dukeries Thinkbelt in England during 2015 and subsequent work on a second pilot project in Illinois in the US in 2016-2017.

Lastly, the re-submission of Edukit to the 2020 Buckminster Fuller Challenge and to the various parties who have shown their interest during 2017-2019/20. This re-submission will be accompanied by an anti-dormitory corollary, namely, Domestikit.

The biggest potential barriers facing the development and deployment of Edukit are: (1) interest in the elitist educational system (2) ignorance of an egalitarian educational system. The former is heightened by those with a vested interest in the elitist system but the biggest threat is ignorance of the alternative.

I plan to mitigate these barriers by describing more effectively the critical need—help to build an egalitarian educational system, and by explaining Edukit more convincingly. Having noted the interest in it, I plan to “concentrate rather on aims than objects and then investigate the validity of the resulting objects” (after Price, 1977).

FAQ 6.5: Budget:

Edukit has been funded by me to date. It is a self-sponsored project being piloted via the Dukeries Thinkbelt, which I initially designed in 1984 and 1985. I plan to ensure Edukit’s financial viability from 2015 to 2020 by keeping its costs within my budget. Thereafter, the range of funding required to achieve full implementation should be established by interested parties.

My annual project budget is nominally $1500.00 USD which covers electronic equipment, internet hosting and consumables and includes my total annual operating budget. This work is all pro bono—undertaken voluntarily and without payment.

My sole funding source is myself.

FAQ 7: Compare and Contrast:

Two other current groups working to address the critical need—help to build an egalitarian educational system are: (1) Buckminster Fuller Institute (US) (2) Cedric Price Fonds (Canada).

The similarities are that: BFI shares the aim to “make the world work for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone ” (Fuller). CPF presents an online collection explaining the Thinkbelt study and related projects with objects including numerous photographs of drawings. It also has a large amount of material offline.

The differences are that: BFI does not explicitly seek to address the critical need—help to build an egalitarian educational system. The objects in the CPF online collection are facsimiles presented in a form which does not enable the scholar to research sources and download material as does the use of free or open source applications in Edukit. Neither of these groups refer directly to the world educational system thus, significantly, they both avoid the likelihood of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Of all the initiatives within the context of the Fuller Challenge criteria, Edukit is the only one which seeks to address the critical need—help to build an egalitarian educational system.

Question 8: The Team:

When I first started thinking about this question, I made a list of all the organisations I am associated with and my 'reasons why’. There is a particular and personal reason for this: membership of the Edukit team is confined to those who share an overlapping interest - in this particular case an egalitarian educational system.

In the past, this has primarily involved two highly influential architects and teachers, namely, Cedric Price and Roy Landau.

At present, though, due entirely to the personal research nature of the study, it involves only myself, as principal of Norman Fellows Archiblog, and my office manager. I should emphasize, therefore, that I have personally ‘re-thought’ and drawn all of the precise, meticulous drawings reproduced in the study, including those in both Facsimiles.

In the future, any plans to expand the team are dependent on the success of my initiative and the ability of other architects and allied professionals to help. Ideally, the architects are already involving themselves in anticipatory design as recommended by Buckminster Fuller. In this, as in the rest of my office procedure, I am content to let my professional ‘appetite’ do my preliminary shortlisting (see the Edukit blog for further details).