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PIMA BULLETIN NO 47 APRIL 2023 

Evolution of the PIMA Bulletin: From seed to produce 
Shirley Walters

ferris@iafrica.com

Chris Duke has been a market gardener for much of his life. He has tended the soil and nurtured plants to flourish, whether in England, France, or Australia. He, as PIMA’s first secretary-general, has done much the same with PIMA’s communications which started with a newsletter in 2015. It was a small move to help the growing number of new members to get to know one another ‘in line with PIMA’s participatory and interactive principles.’ PIMA was incorporated as a new network in that year.  

The newsletters evolved in the following year ‘in light of our

shared experience of what seems interesting and what members

contribute’. It was in 2016 when the first of Chris’ now well-known,

provocative editorials appeared. He asks: The end of a global era

and its economic model? Narratives, paradigms, hopes and fears –

where is Lifelong Learning? It was at this time that the dual,

integral concerns with the wider world and education and training

became established. 

PIMA became more rooted in 2017 with the first election of the

Governing Committee. The introduction of new members became

a standing feature, as did the invitation to members to submit

their news and views. 

There was a transition from newsletter to bulletin in December 2017 with the fifteenth  edition. The editorial focused on politics and policies, deep culture and populism. The official name change to The PIMA Bulletin occurred in February 2018. As the editor stated: 

‘The name change marks evolution from mainly general news for PIMA to mainly an informative and challenging discussion forum’.

August, 2018, Issue Number 19, provides an illustrative snapshot of some recurring themes in articles: What is happening to Democracy? Indigenous Identity; Lifelong Learning and Democracy; Get Serious about Indigenous Elders on Campus; Beyond Pastoral Care: First Nations Elders at Vancouver Island University; Walk this Path with Us: One University’s Response to Reconciliation in Canada; Later Life Learning and Older Adults:  Intergenerational war - a UK perspective. 

Issue 19 also exemplifies the PIMA values that thread through the bulletins: 

“The task of PIMA as a member network is to connect educators’ world more directly to the problems and needs of humankind in a stressed environment cohabited with all other species in complex ecosystems. PIMA is apolitical in terms of countries’ politics. And yet it is instinctually highly political, as it must be, in terms of the use and abuse of power. Most politicians are short-sighted, driven by quick impressions and quick results. We need a citizenry, local and global, that can look further ahead, more thoughtfully and self-critically”.

 

The February 2019 Bulletin, carried the new PIMA logo which conveys the mission of Promoting, Interrogating, Mobilising Adult learning and education (PIMA). This was also the first Special Issue – it focused on Later Life Learning.

Chris was clear in the May 2019 editorial: “Looking ahead PIMA needs to engage with the central dangers that the world and its diverse communities and cultures face – the what; and to be clearer and better, if we can, about how advocacy works and change can be directed - the how.” He highlights in particular climate change, global warming, the extinction of myriad species, threats of war, social and ethical degradation, which all rank high in the ‘perfect storm of crises’.

While the July 2019 issue, looks first and mainly at the world outside formal education, it does consider the place of lifelong and civil society education in acting on it. It also introduces the theme of anniversaries. Chris asserts that these are not for mere nostalgia but rather reflections on steps taken and what is to come.

Linkages between the bulletin and a series of PIMA webinars and other events started in 2019 and this became a common feature from then on. The increase in virtual events was propelled during Covid-19, which required `physical distance but also social solidarity’.

In May 2020 the 30th issue was published – a remarkable feat – six issues a year! An astonishing achievement under Chris’ leadership.

In July 2020 the second Special Issue focused on SDGs – and so the practice of guest editorship became embedded.

Another key mantra that permeates the bulletin, `only connect`. Chris says in the September 2020 bulletin, ‘Only connect’. Never was this injunction more fitting than today. I scan the material in this issue and realise how much each is part of an interwoven web.’

A year after the Covid-19 lock-down, in March 2021, the editorial states: The new normal? This is the year of paradoxes. Everything has changed and maybe nothing has altered. The impossible is easy, the familiar impossible. Taboos become normal conduct, as the taken-for-granted slips away. New information technologies and the use of media open up incredible learning opportunities, and more sinister ways to influence, control, enslave and destroy. There is nothing like a global pandemic or war to make the impossible obvious and easy. C-19 pandemic sweeps across everywhere and everything.

In July 2021, Chris’ perceptive comments continue: One solution to the puzzles of being and living in strange and fast-changing times is for educators to treat education as existing only in institutions for education, not in the wider, more complicated ‘real world’ outside the Education sector: ‘there be dragons, not really our business as educators’. This is a death sentence for ALE. 

 

Special Issues become more common: with the third published in November 2021 on Climate Justice Education; the fourth in March 2022 on Higher Education; the fifth in July 2022 was on Later Life Learning, the sixth was on CONFINTEA; the seventh on Life Deep Learning in December 2022; and in January 2023 on Climate Justice Education.

In 2022 Chris signalled that after seven years of leading, his term as PIMA Bulletin Editor was coming to an end. The PIMA ExCo Committee reluctantly accepted this reality and established a Bulletin Management Committee (BMC) to help guide the bulletin into the future. Under Chris Duke’s watch 45 Issues of the PIMA Bulletin have been published. They are all archived and easily accessible on the PIMA website www.pimanetwork.com. They are an amazing resource for all scholars, activists, practitioners of ALE within lifelong learning perspectives and approaches. Thank you, Chris, for this nutritious produce which will feed us for years to come! 

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