A crowdfunding campaign, 20 new bursary places, and a coalition of partners.

As we launch a bumper crop of Learning Marathons for 2021, we are growing our inclusion strategy to match. We’ve trained 21 new Enrol Yourself Hosts who have each developed a unique proposition for a learning journey, and they’re now recruiting.

I wrote Step 0.2 earlier this year, describing some commitments we were making to inclusion, and the process we had taken to surface what they should be. The process turned out to be really fruitful, seeding a number of ideas which have grown into… today’s announcement!

This year we’re crowdfunding for 20, fully-funded bursary places.

Reflections from Enrol Yourself which I hope are useful to other people and organisations taking early steps on this path.

I wrote about Step 0.1 in August 2018. Almost 2 years ago! So this is overdue. I intend to write Step 0.3 long before June 2022. There, I’ve made a public commitment to it now.

Step 0.1 described the idea that the peer groups we connect at Enrol Yourself have potential to create far more inclusive learning spaces than formal education. It also laid out our plan to introduce bursaries to the Learning Marathon, which has become a core part of the way we structure fees and how we invite people in.

Things have moved much since 2 years ago, but the premise is still the same. Peer groups offer great potential for inclusion. But just like human potential, it won’t unlock itself. Great that we were able to achieve something modest through bursaries, but each step reveals more of the full complexity of the challenge, and points to more steps that can be taken. …

Coronavirus has got me appreciating the small and mundane.

It’s what we’re all learning to do everyday now, right?

I’ve never found a stroll around my neighbourhood so exciting before. But then, I’ve never been under orders to leave the house just once a day…

I never realised I was neighbour to a friendly wood pigeon who coos a song each morning. But then, I’m usually tripping over my own feet to get out the front door…

I’ve never sat and counted the number of different colours in my cats eyes before. But then, I’ve never been so starved of IRL eye contact!

The pandemic has closed the physical boundaries of our lives in around us, and forced us to notice — and appreciate — what’s there. And as we’re already learning to love the little things in life, now is a great time to take some of the littlest actions we can for the planet. Those small steps we fail to take as we berate ourselves about their inadequacy. Now is a great time to say that small deserves to be celebrated too. …

Learning Marathon bursaries

As part of our mission to host inclusive, local peer groups that champion diversity, we are announcing 2 bursaries for the next London Learning Marathon.

  • 1 bursary for someone who identifies as being from an underrepresented background, including but not limited to: BAME, LGBTQ, disabled, refugee or asylum seeker.
  • 1 bursary for someone who is currently unemployed or underemployed (and earning the equivalent of £15k or less per year).

Fees for the Learning Marathon range from £750 — £1650 depending on your income. …

Starting 2020 with a Changemaker Residency at Hawkwood College...

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Hawkwood: Centre for Future Thinking

I spent the first week of 2020 at Hawkwood doing a Changemaker Residency. In the space of a year Hawkwood has become quite dear to my heart! Matthew McStravick introduced me, inviting me to be part of his own Residency. I came back with the RSA and Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth as part of their Economic Security Impact Accelerator. And most recently Matthew McStravick, Ellie Osborne and I have been working with Hawkwood on the Deepr Learning Marathon.

2019 was hard work. I finished the year pretty depleted. And I didn’t want to feel depleted; I wanted to feel ready for the next decade! Ready to do my bit for people and planet (this includes remembering that for every challenge in the world, there is still abundant magic, beauty, kindness and humour that deserves to be vigorously celebrated). …

Opening up our strategic process for input from our community.

In November we ran a series of collaborative events, open to all past and present Enrol Yourself participants, inviting input that will inform the direction we take next. We hoped to:

  1. Crowdsource ideas and energy.
  2. Provide a chance for people to reconnect, and make new connections.
  3. Practice transparency, openness and cooperation.
  4. Allow people to learn from the process we’re going through (we’re all about learning after all).

I’ve written this post to keep the conversation going — to update everyone who participated, those who wanted to participate and couldn’t, our wider community of interest — and invite further connection or collaboration.

A couple of weeks ago I hosted a workshop in Budapest for the Engaged Journalism Accelerator. The workshop was all about how to turn your community members into the best advocates for your work. I jumped at the opportunity to do this because whilst I have some experience to offer, I have even more to learn. Plus I was attracted to the idea of meeting people from innovative journalism initiatives that put community at the heart of their practice.

“Community members are one of the biggest assets for an engaged journalism organisation — they can become the best advocates for why that organisation’s work is valuable and worthy of support.” …

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With a little bit of luck — it will be the Learning Marathon!

We’ve just welcomed five new members to the Enrol Yourself hosting team. They join us from the aforementioned locations— where they’ll be bringing the Learning Marathon to their local area.

Since 2017 we’ve kicked off 6 Learning Marathons in London and 1 in Birmingham, working closely with 76 participants, who have each explored a learning question of great personal, professional or societal significance.

Now we’re heading off with the goal of hosting 8 Learning Marathons this year. …

A conversation between 8 voices in my head, written as a script, and performed as a one-woman monologue.

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For my last Learning Marathon I asked the question ‘how can I design my business so it stops designed me?’

Even the order of the words in the question reflect the tension I was feeling: the business coming before me in my own pecking order.

So whilst I could have showcased work I’d done on the business such as strategies, purpose statements or a 3 year plan, it became very important not to do that; not to make a plan for how to have more time for myself, but just to have it. To demand it. …

Enrol Yourself has had the lion’s share of my attention for over 2 years now, and to put it bluntly, I’ve been crap at sharing the learning. The irony is not lost on me.

I remember roxanabacian and I writing galant statements at the beginning about developing and sharing ‘everything’ we learnt along the way! Well that certainly hasn’t happened, but for defence I’d say that I’ve been rather busy with six Learning Marathons (which is as heavy as it sounds).

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Four of six Learning Marathon peer groups

With six Learning Marathons comes plenty of learning, as you would hope. So, plenty of material with which to address my bad sharing habits. In this post I’ve attempted to capture the three key pillars of Enrol Yourself’s learning philosophy, and the context they sit within. …


Zahra Davidson

Co-founder & Director @EnrolYourself | Affiliate School of #SystemsChange @Forum4theFuture | Formerly @yearhere @wearesnook

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