Friday, June 29, 2007

Where is your third place?

I've just been listening to this podcast from the Learning Times greenroom, where Susan and Dan (sorry - I don't know their surnames, and I couldn't find a place on the site where they might be indicated) were discussing FOE2007.

Among other things they touched on the concept of "the third place". Susan had encountered it for the first time during the conference and, being unfamiliar with the term, Susan had sone what any sensible person in this first decade of the 21st century does: she googled it. Her interpretation of what she found doesn't quite gel with mine, particularly with reference to the use of the term within the church. Susan's view is that the third place is the place you go when you you're neither at home nor at work. If I understand her correctly it is her take that it would be the place which would be next on your list of priorities. In the light of this, it is Susan's understanding that the church is trying position itself as the third place after home and work.

From what I read in wikipedia, I would say that the third place is between rather than after: that sort of in-between place between two usual environments. So it might be where you work from when you are neither at home nor in the office. With regard to the church it would be the midweek cell groups that are the third place between home and the Sunday meeting (bearing in mind that when churchgoers use the word "church" they are referring to the people, not the building).

So where is your third place? I occasionally set up shop on the train or in Borders bookshop. Sadly neither of those places have wifi, so I have to operate blind at those times. When I arrive early for lectures, I also make use of the facilities in the staff/post grad room at university. Even there, though, the connection is a bit slow. Once, when stranded in London due to adverse weather conditions, I took up temporary residence in a corner of my husband's company offices

I go green with envy when I read blogposts from unlikely spots on the globe where some weary traveller has stumbled upon wifi in an airport, on a train (as in Sweden), in Starbucks, in a whole city.


Harold Jarche said...

A third space is what we are trying to achieve with our Commons. There are several interesting models around the world, and I'm always looking for more.

Anonymous said...

Think you might enjoy Teemu Arina's post on Serendipity 2.0: Missing Third Places of Learning Karyn - it has some fascinating new thinking around New Learning2.0 through Marshall McLuhan's questions
* What does it extend?
* What does it make obsolete?
* What is retrieved?
* What does it reverse into, if over-extended?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for these comments. Teemu's persentation at FOE was quite similar to this. I like the way he challenges the status quo and assumptions about learning.