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Finding aid to the Open Forum Records 1973-1997 SFH 602
SFH 602  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Provenance
  • Related Materials
  • Conservation Note
  • Materials Transferred
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement Note
  • Administrative History

  • Title: Open Forum: A School of Collective Learning Records
    Date (inclusive): 1973-1997
    Date (bulk): 1989-1995
    Identifier/Call Number: SFH 602
    Creator: Open Forum: A School of Collective Learning
    Physical Description: 2 cartons (2 Cubic Feet)
    Contributing Institution: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
    100 Larkin Street
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    (415) 557-4567
    Abstract: Open Forum was a collective learning project based on the philosophy that an informed community is best able to guide its own future. The hierarchical academic tradition of teacher and students was replaced with a collective discussion group model applied in workshops and classroom settings. The idea was to transform education away from academics and popular culture. The project continued for 10 years with no paid staff, completely run by volunteers.
    Physical Location: The collection is stored off-site.
    Language of Materials: Collection materials are in English.

    Conditions Governing Access

    The collection is available for use during San Francisco History Center hours, with photographs available during Photo Desk hours. Collections that are stored offsite should be requested 48 hours in advance.

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the City Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library as the owner of the physical items.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Open Forum: A School of Collective Learning Records (SFH 602), San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.


    Donated by Open Forum September, 2015.

    Related Materials

    Researchers are encouraged to see also: SFH 459, Bay Area Radical Teachers' Organizing Collective Records.

    Conservation Note

    During processing, parts of the collection were re-foldered and re-housed in acid-free folders and boxes. Some metal staples remain.

    Materials Transferred

    Photographs have been transferred to the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection.

    Scope and Contents

    The collection contains administrative papers: including bylaws, annual reports for one year, meeting minutes, brochures, and a statement of purpose. The collection also contains workshop/course materials, VHS and audio tapes, two Open Forum address stamps, and nine photographs.

    Arrangement Note

    The collection is arranged in 5 series: Series 1: Administrative, Series 2: Workshop/Course Materials, Series 3: Media, Series 4: Artifacts, Series 5: Photographs.

    Administrative History

    The mission of Open Forum was based on the philosophy that an informed community is best able to guide its own future. The idea was to transform education away from the academic and away from popular culture. The discussion groups were based upon learning and teaching each other rather than the model of a "teacher" and consuming students. Which is why the name included, a "School of Collective Learning."
    The project was a non-profit and continued just short of ten years. There was no paid staff; all work was performed by volunteers.
    Some of the topics covered included: Brechtian Studies; Capitalism; Censorship; Civil Rights; Criminal Law; Cultural Theory; Democracy; Economics; Education; Fascism; Housing; The Internet; Marxism; NAFTA; Politics; Pornography; Public Speaking; Race and Racism; Sexism; Violence and Resistance; White Supremacy; Women; and Writing.
    Single events included: Abortion: Then and Now; Building a Women's Community; Community Forums on Injustice (Police Brutality) held in San Francisco and Oakland; Israel Palestinians and American Progressives; and What Next After Earth Day.
    A teach-in leading up to the first Gulf War in 1991 included twenty five educational events within a one month period (February 4th to March 8th, 1991). Topics included: Art and Culture; Communities of Color; Direct Action; Economics; Effects at Home; Environmental Youth; History of the Region; Jewish Responses; Labor; Lesbian/Gay; Martial Law; Media; Racism; Veterans; and Women.
    Open Forum attempted to develop a progressive/activist/leftist library and archive. Lack of resources terminated the project.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Education -- California -- San Francisco.
    Education -- Curricula.
    Alternative schools.