An Epistolary Project

letters to a reader, unknown

Category: Uncategorized

A tribute to NIACE

I follow Ann Walker on Twitter & value her insights; re-reading her blogpost about NIACE reminded me of how much Adult Education has changed, been decimated by successive government policyshifts & neglect that has pushed it beyond the margins virtually into oblivion.
I’ve reblogged it for those of you interested & concerned about the future for UK Adult Education.

Lifelong Learning Matters

NIACE, the National Institute of Adult and Continuing Education is merging with the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion and its name will disappear after 94 years at the forefront of promoting adult learning. The Who’s Lobbying website describes NIACE as, “the main advocacy body for adult learning in England and Wales and probably the largest body devoted to adult education in the world.” Its achievements as an independent organisation deserve the utmost respect and many adult educators will regret the loss of its identity while wishing the newly merged organisation every success.

NIACE has been a source of practical and coordinated support, encouragement, inspiration and effective campaigning for adult education – and more specifically, adult learners – over the years. I have never been employed directly by the organisation, but I have worked alongside it throughout my career. I have felt a strong affiliation and found common cause…

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Reflections and Shadows

This piece evolved over winter 2012/13 as my sister, Catherine, progressed through her final rounds of chemotherapy/radiotherapy/hospice care before her death, as winter ended, February 28th. She never quite made it through to spring and to her 53rd birthday. I offer no apology for my response, below, other than to say we usually say too little in too many words.

Reflections & Shadows

I write in the dusk of a bitter winter
as I recall our childhood years,
now, as we embrace our half century,
you at its beginning, me
reaching towards my 60th, a family record.

How do you embrace your sister’s
sharp struggle for life
as each faculty, ingrained with
experience and habit, deteriorates.
I wait, incapable of emotion,
drained by sadness and years
of silence.

We talk of small domestic incidents,
you narrate a litany of exotic pharmacopeia,
of doctors searching for a needle in a haystack,
nurses who reliably find the vein.

What dies with you?
Memories of awkward conversations,
of things we did not share.
You’re the sister I’m said to most resemble.
I do not hear myself, but our mother
in the cadence of your voice.

February 2013

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