Across the world we suffer from a monoculture of higher education. Its not so much that our current intellectually focused one-size-fits-all university system is bad per say, rather it is limited. Have you also heard that jobs are disappearing and that an undergraduate degree is the new high school diploma? Do you feel that perhaps the only way to be a successful participant in society, is to step into the university system? During the Connect Conference we would like to explore stepping out of the dominant narrative of a singular, linear, path of education and success without shying away from the institutions of learning that exist already. We shouldn’t ask ourselves: what does my environment tell me is a meaningful education? But rather: what are the experiences that will light me up? More then even “liking” my education, what “school” will challenge me to my very core?
As youth just about to graduate high school, you are at an important moment in your life. It is no secret that we face a very uncertain and unstable future. How then can we be growing to our wildest and most devoted self to be able to meet this emerging future, what is the education we must seek?
During the conference, Caleb and Mathijs will invite the participants to explore with them what their higher education could look like. They have both experienced a wide variety of schools and classes and out of this the questions came: what if we create our own school? What if we start a self-directed education? Together with their dear friend Mischa Saunders, they created Classroom Alive, a six month walking school across Europe. At the Connect Conference, they will share their story of being on the road from Sweden to Greece and of how they made this wild adventure their school. And they will be available to the participants to explore what self-directed educations could mean to them.
Caleb was born fist-first somewhere off the Western coast of Canada. After an unusual go of elementary and secondary school, in 2010 he attended the Youth Initiative Program in Sweden. Since then he has been undertaking an exploration of self-directed learning. This journey has taken him from the high desserts in India to the streets of Los Angeles, and many peculiar and fascinating places in between. The human heart amongst the most significant. He has worked and apprenticed in different organizations, Elderberries Threefold Initiative Cafe, ShadeTree Multicultural Foundation, SECMOL school for sustainable studies, and most relevantly co-created Classroom Alive, a peer-led journey school that walked and studied its way from Sweden to Greece. Throughout his journey he has found sitting in silence and exploring the terrain of the inner landscape to be the wildest and most educational of all.
Mathijs was born on the 2nd of November in 1990 in Ghent, which he proudly calls his hometown. During his education in Waldorf School, he was able to discover different sides of himself safely and after 12th grade he wanted to pursue the passion for cinema that he had explored during his Senior Project. But only now the challenge started: „Where will I learn what I have to learn now?” and „what is the best place for me to challenge myself?” he asked himself. Among studying film at the School of Arts in Ghent (KASK) and social entrepreneurship at the Youth Initiative Program in Sweden, he started his own school: Classroom Alive, a 6-month walking school across Europe. But maybe more importantly: after asking the question „What and how do I have to learn now?” so frequently, he slowly became master of his own learning. This eagerness to learn out of himself is what carries him forward into his work in the field of filmmaking today.
“You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.”
Mary Kay Ash