About

The idea

Training people (prisoners and not-prisoners) through marathon running is the core idea of a project of pedagogy of resilience where education is not teaching (educare) but leading out into the open (educere). In proposing a different idea of education (educere – leading out) in prison setting and beyond, Runforever is a project contrasting mainstream rehabilitation programs by offering a new way to engage with prisoners/people and humanise prison care/health care. This approach demands a radical reframing of what we mean by education and therefore the acceptance that it cannot be instrumentalised for achieving directly measurable results although it can have a fundamental impact on people, leading to improving their resilience, confidence and sense of self (individual and social). Therefore the project aims at distinguishing itself from the logics of goal-oriented rehabilitative programmes, towards a practice of freedom and equality.

Urgency

Reoffending and rehabilitation in prison environment

Prisoners are often ill-prepared for release at the end of their sentence, and a return to society can be experienced as very difficult. Reoffending rates for those released from prison remain stubbornly high. The experience of imprisonment often co-exists amongst factors such as educational disadvantage, health inequality, unem­ployment, addiction, family breakdown, and poverty. The notion of rehabilitation is presently much contested and ambiguous. Some social research (Maruna 2012) points out that prisoner reintegration as it is currently practiced especially through contemporary rehabilitative programs, is a failing ritual reinforcing pre-ex­isting disadvantages (eg. educational) and inequalities (eg. health).

We need a new idea of education and health

Runforever is an educational project, where education is not teaching but leading out into the open. In fact it brings attention to a different idea of education in the sense of educere-leading out (Ingold 2018, Masschelein 2010). This is different from more traditional understanding of education as educare – transmitting knowledge. In fact educere fosters existential transformation. This project will be an example of this approach. It will address the question: what does education mean in the prison setting? And more generally: what do we mean by education? Many diverse forms of adult education are currently offered as rehabilitative practices within prisons around the world. The rehabilitative perspective assumes that prisoners, like pre-school children, are not yet fully formed human beings and therefore in need of some form of knowledge. These programmes follow the discredited medical model of imprisonment which views the prisoner primarily as something broken in need of fixing or as an object in need of treatment. Reframing education as treatment reduces the individual to a patient, a subject, somebody that something is done to, rather than with. Therefore some of these programmes, have been criticised as attempts by the state to “responsibilize,” “redeem,” or “normalise” the socially excluded.

What do “reoffending” and “rehabilitation” mean in the context of health and education? Prisoners are often framed as patients or school children by rehabilitative programs and pressed by expectations of recovery or of learning achievements or skills. What the educational experience of the wall of the marathon which fosters the capacity of running forever and abandoning the need of reaching the finish line, inspire to prison education, health and wellbeing?  These initial ideas will enable tracing an interdisciplinary and more-than-academic path at the intersection between prison environment, education and health highlighting values of social and cultural difference within the background of systemic transformation.

Covid and contemporary social context

Covid has exacerbated the time that prisoners spent in their cells and magnified their sense of loss of freedom.  Other than metaphorical, the sense of grief and loss has also been a real one for many people in the prison and more generally for the all community due to covid.

Horizon

Runforever proposes small actions participating to wider systemic change. Its commitments are counter cultural:

  • humanize healthcare beyond the paradigm of the clinical gaze and addressing the existential (Hannah, 2014)
  • promote a new understanding of education as leading out (rather than teaching)
  • resists conventional forms of evaluation by co-creating value from the inside
  • learning to run forever: the commitment is for a shift of values countering the dominant logic of the winner
  • foster a future society based on difference and variation

Path

Our path follows two simultaneous and complementary strands:

Delivering projects as  “beautiful actions”

According to eco-philosopher Arne Naess (1993) to act beautifully means not starting from an external moral duty but rather following one’s own inclination which should already be laden with ethical value towards the world and the environment of which we are part. These actions should leave inspiration. Runforever promotes experimental projects intended as creative and artistic forms of inquiry between art, anthropology and education, based on the combination of autobiography with marathon running and the Feldenkrais method fostering processes of self-discovery through movement. It focuses on the notion of limit as wall, highlighted in the experience of the wall of the marathoner, for exploring its potential in terms of personal transformation and for opening other ways of being in the world.

Nurturing the ground for systemic change

It is important to work on the margin of mainstream values and institutionalized procedures. We need to bring awareness to the process and monitor it throughout its development. We will:

Who we are

Runforever has been founded as a non-profit organisation (unincorporated association) and running club following AGM on the 17th of March 2023. Our team consists of a core organizing team and a growing number of people dreaming to runforever.

Anthropologist (PhD) – Feldenkrais practitioner ® – Marathoner
After fifteen years as an architect, I took an independent path for developing experimental projects between art, anthropology, education (in academic and non-academic contexts) inspired by my passion for running marathons and its educational potential through the idea of the wall (of the marathoner) as limit. As an anthropologist (PhD 2019) and Feldenkrais teacher (somatic educational method) I work with vulnerable people in educational as well as in marginal contexts such as prison. I have used the focus on limit to illuminate topics of public debate (such as freedom, self and subjectivity, education, health, environment and death) and have recently been part of the ESRC-Care in funerals research project as Research Fellow at the University of Aberdeen  and board member of Libera Uscita (right to die with dignity-IT). I have recently completed (March 2023) training in Leadership in Running Fitness (LiRF) and I’m now Jog Scotland leader. My way of working fosters pathways of awareness.

Mark is a retired engineer and amateur musician. He has also co-founded three charities: The Speedwell Trust in the 1980s, Woodend Arts in 1994 and Sound festival in 2005. He chaired each of these organisations for a decade or more. https://www.thebarnarts.co.uk   https://sound-scotland.co.uk/about/background
He was the Technical Director for Enterprise Oil plc in the 1990s and a director of Shell U.K. Limited in the early nighties. From 1999 – 2017 he chaired Woodend Arts, a multi-arts centre serving communities in and around Deeside. His interests include music and the arts, education, ecology and communities – particularly exploring what supports and strengthens them.

Sara worked in a bank for over 10 years and then turned to education opening a nursery in Italy and now teaching Italian in Scotland where she lives.

Silvia is Senior lecturer of Visual Culture at the University of Aberdeen working at the intersection of visual culture, cinema, science and technology studies, and aesthetics. At the University of Aberdeen, she coordinates the undergraduate medical humanities degree and co-direct the George Washington Wilson Centre for Visual Culture

Emilia is a Lecturer in Sustainable Design at the University of Dundee and an anthropologist who has developed expertise on a variety of issues around Sustainability, both at the local as well as at the international level. Her journey as a researcher started among the indigenous Quichua peasants of Northern Ecuador, where she has resided for prolonged periods of time between 1991 and 2015.

I was a primary school teacher for many years working particularly through the arts of music dance poetry drama and silence. I later focused on the role of the arts for transformation of children with emotional trauma. Now I love to share my love of the arts and nature with my grandchildren. I am delighted to support this valuable project

Born in Alicante, he has worked as an architect with Francis Kéré, studied as an anthropologist with Tim Ingold, and researched at the Department of Architecture and Built Environment at Northumbria University. From there, he has gone into sustainable business and independent research ranging from agriculture and education, through immunology and epidemiology, to design and construction. Bringing together family, business, and academia, he researches for life and lives for research

Deborah is an expedition Kayak Guide for Vikings Cruises. She previously was lecturer at the School of Adventure Studies, University of Highlands and Islands. She is an anthropologist and educator, who has a background in white-water kayaking and guiding people down wild and remote rivers. Her research interests are positioned around education, inclusion dyslexia and modes of thinking.