A momentous decision for ARCA

Listed on May 16, 2013 in ARCA

ARCA – formerly known as the Adult Residential Colleges Association – arrived at a momentous decision last week.

Meeting at Madingley Hall at the University of Cambridge, ARCA decided to call it a day and disband the formal structures of the association. The move was prompted by the closure of so many residential colleges despite the vibrancy of many new providers of residential adult education courses.

The residential colleges had been in many ways the backbone of the association but their numbers have dropped from about 18 to three presently. The reality was that these colleges provided committee members and replacing them from the voluntary and private sectors has been very difficult. To replace the association a ‘standing conference’ has been put in place and a new website will be launched providing a central source of information about courses and providers of residential adult education in this country and, eventually, abroad as well. The standing conference will initially be convened by Knuston Hall in Northamptonshire.

ARCA chairman, Wayne Bennett, said that this was both a sad and exciting time. The association had been in existence for 30 years and it had emerged from a standing conference of residential college principals. The return to a standing conference seems like a wheel turning but the adult education landscape has also evolved and there are many new types of provider on the scene.

The new website will go live in June and it will be developed over the coming year to include many sorts of different course providers. Their common goal will be to celebrate residential adult education and to promote learning for learning’s sake.