BY Megan Whitfield
Wyndham City hosted its first Learning Festival this September, in a week of over 100 free community activities.
The event was hosted by Wyndham Community and Education Centre with support from Wyndham City Council and ran from 1-8 September, in line with Adult Learners’ Week in Australia.
The Learning Week aimed to re-engage the community with learning in a non-formal and relaxed environment, with an emphasis on the importance of ‘life-long learning’.
A range of activities were offered, from gallery exhibitions to practical workshops, with events to suit all ages.
The festival was largely about showcasing to residents the opportunities already out there, says Festival Co-ordinator Meg Cotter, highlighting services like Shoestring Gardening, community centres and neighbourhood houses.
The event was about “[trying to] shift attitudes to learning,” said Ms Cotter. “Life-long learning is for everyone… it’s no longer just something that you do in the classroom.”
The festival’s organisation was “closely aligned” with the Wyndham Learning Community Strategy, developed to assist the municipality’s transition into a ‘smart city.’ The Strategy is currently in its third year, with this event satisfying one of the “last of [its] outcomes.”
Guest speaker, former politician and journalist Maxine McKew, commended Wyndham City Council for getting involved.
Parents can often bring a “fixed view” of education, said McKew. In a “uniformly useless public debate” about education, this festival provided an opportunity for the “grass-roots” to be a part of the changing landscape of learning.