Centres 'down under': Mapping australia's neighbourhood centres and learning

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Journal Article
Australian Journal of Adult Learning, 2011, 51 (2), pp. 203 - 225
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The overarching aim of this paper is to 'talk up' learning in the Australian neighbourhood centre sector, realising this aim is premised on a need to understand neighbourhood centres themselves. Hence, the paper tentatively offers a mapping of the sector by first asking: 'What is a neighbourhood centre?'. Next, the paper provides an introductory scoping of learning in centres in an effort to invite further consideration. Two important conclusions are made. The first is that centres' capacity for continual re-shaping, while retaining some very particular values, marks them in ways that differ from organisations for which adult education is the primary purpose. The second is that the range of learning possibilities in centres is far-reaching, and makes significant and valuable contributions to individuals and communities, and ultimately to the Australian nation.
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