The Baltimore Free School

We need your help to make the Free School sustainable! Click here to help fund the work of organizing and bringing new educational technology to our classroom!

The Baltimore Free School is a grassroots, collectively run and community-funded project, with a classroom inside Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse at 30 W. North Ave. Building upon a long tradition of horizontal organizing, collaborative learning and participatory education, we believe that the empowerment of people of all ages and backgrounds to share and learn is vital to the health of any community. To that end, we work toward creating a space where the exchange of ideas can occur without the exchange of money; a space where we can learn to relate to each other in new and meaningful ways. By building this infrastructure, we hope to form a microcosm of the world in which we want to live.

After a hiatus in 2013, the BFS is re-opening in a brand new classroom inside Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse. We are now accepting proposals for classes starting in January of 2014; just click here to get started submitting a proposal. If you want to get involved with organizing the Free School, or have any questions about the project or the course process, please contact us at freeschool@redemmas.org.

If you’d like to contribute to the long-term sustainability of the project, including new technology for the classroom and funding for dedicated community outreach, please donate here.

Take a course

Every course offered through the Baltimore Free School is 100% free of charge to learners. Sign up online today!

Teach a course

Anyone can teach a course or organize a discussion or workshop at the Free School; propose one right now!

Support the BFS

Get involved as a volunteer organizer or make a tax-deductible donation to help us keep the doors open.

More info

Information on renting the space for private meetings, our consensus-based collective structure, our history and more.

Upcoming Courses

    • Sat, Jan 31 @ 6:45 PM
    • Sat, Feb 14 @ 6:00 PM
    • Sat, Feb 28 @ 6:00 PM
    • and 6 more sessions
    (North Ave classroom)

    Strength To Love Project

    The Strength To Love Project, consists of individuals (esp creatives) getting together to discuss social justice issues and engage in creative expression around the theme "Strength To Love". The film Selma, Dr. King's third book, "Strength to Love”, the #blacklivesmatter movement and other mediums will be used as material for these conversations. Participants are encouraged to create a piece(s) of art, poetry, music, film or civic engagement which they were inspired by, from those conversations. Its all capped off with a exhibition/performance of the pieces. 

    • Tue, Mar 17 @ 7:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Cooperative Study Group:Beginners Helping Beginners

    Dear Baltimore Free School Folks

     

    The Catonsville Cooperative is interested in starting a beginner study group for people that would like to rigorously study successful (and not as sccessful) cooperatives in order to help build their knowledge about cooperatives and also inform their own infrastructure building. We are considering hosting the study group in a variety of places and would hope one of them could be the free school. We would like to rotate spaces to accomodate people coming from all over the area. I look forward to hearing from you. With gratitude, Holly - holly.leon@gmail.com - 443-897-0080

    • Wed, Feb 18 @ 8:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Creative Writing Workshop

    In this class we will workshop one another’s pieces and discuss select readings. While readings and prompts will focus on creative nonfiction pieces, we will keep submission guidelines loose and are excited for participants to submit any range of creative writing pieces, including fiction, poetry and/or creative nonfiction. Each class we will ask for 3-4 individuals to prepare to workshop their pieces with the goal of providing constructive criticism and support towards each individual’s literary goals and vision. Participants will receive pieces before class via email. Each class will focus on a different topic or theme, to which participants may want to center their submissions. Readings include work from Jamaica Kincaid, Joan Didion, Kathy Acker, Eula Biss, Jenny Boully, Nehisi Coates, Gloria Anzaldua.

     

    • Tue, Feb 03 @ 7:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Overdose Training and Naloxone Distribution for Community Bystanders

    The Baltimore Student Harm Reduction Coaltion (BSHRC) provides community bystander trainings for how to recognize and reverse an opiod overdose. The training involves certification and a free naloxone kit.

    (North Ave classroom)

    MISSING FROM THE WAR NARRATIVE: Why it will be hard for the U.S. to contain and weaken, let alone degrade and destroy, the Islamic State.

    The Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore hosts activists, Deb and Jim Fine, for this one-off event, entitled, "MISSING FROM THE WAR NARRATIVE: Why it will be hard for the U.S. to contain and weaken, let alone degrade and destroy, the Islamic State."

    The stunning advances of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have put all ethnic and religious groups in the area, including moderate Sunni Arabs, at risk.  For some groups the threat approaches genocidal proportions.  The U.S. has responded with air strikes. Yet, from President Obama on down, everyone agrees there is no military solution.

    This and more will be discussed. We hope you will join us.

    • Sun, Feb 08 @ 12:00 PM
    • Sun, Feb 01 @ 12:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Knitting Neighbors Together

    Knitting Neighbors Together is a local event for knitters (and crocheters!) to gather in a fun, casual environment and create a hat to be donated to an individual experiencing homelessness. Baltimore winters are cold, and the lack of shelter space available can be a challenge for our neighbors to stay warm. This event is open to knitters, of ALL levels of experience. Please feel free to bring your own yarn, or we will provide a free ball of yarn. If you have never knitted before, we will provide knitting needles for you to keep and the yarn needed for a recommended donation of $5. Advanced knitters will be available to teach newbies! For any questions, please email: baltimoreknits@gmail.com.

    • Wed, Feb 11 @ 7:00 PM
    • Wed, Feb 25 @ 7:00 PM
    • Wed, Mar 11 @ 7:00 PM
    • and 1 more session
    (North Ave classroom)

    Anti-Racist Organizing Reading Group

    The goal of this class is to engage in the self-reflection and political education that enables white activist to be accountable, principled anti-racist organizers. The reading list would be taken from the Anne Braden Program (Catalyst Project).

    • Sun, Feb 08 @ 11:00 AM
    • Sun, Feb 22 @ 11:00 AM
    (North Ave classroom)

    In Stitches: Crochet, Knitting, and DIY

    Needle work crosses cultures. Join us as we explore crochet, knitting, needlepoint, DIY repurposing and more. Every few weeks, we will explore a new stitch/project. The following week will give us time to perfect the lesson and/or finish the project. Bring your own materials if you like. Some materials will be provided.

    Led by Melani N. Douglass Curator of the Family Arts Museum

    • Sat, Jan 31 @ 10:30 AM
    • Sat, Feb 07 @ 10:30 AM
    • Sat, Feb 14 @ 10:30 AM
    • and 2 more sessions
    (North Ave classroom)

    Reading 'Germinal' by Emile Zola

    Close reading and discussion of Zola's masterpiece Germinal: an unflinching portrayal of a coal-miners' strike in nineteenth century France.

    • Sat, Feb 07 @ 12:30 PM
    • Sat, Jan 31 @ 12:30 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Open Knitting/Crochet Circle

    Join us in bringing together a creative, inclusive open community of crafters. All levels welcome to attend. Swap tips and work on projects!

    • Wed, Feb 04 @ 6:30 PM
    • Wed, Feb 18 @ 6:30 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Reading the Zohar

    Together we will read through the Zohar, the seminal text of the Kabbalah Jewish school of thought. We will approach the text by way of its historical, cultural, literary, and traditionally esoteric significances. Supplementary reading may be involved, open group discussion a definite, and a fun and beautiful introduction to Jewish mysticism a given. 

    • Fri, Feb 06 @ 6:00 PM
    • Fri, Feb 13 @ 6:00 PM
    • Fri, Feb 20 @ 6:00 PM
    • and 2 more sessions
    (North Ave classroom)

    Dharma Punx Baltimore

    Dharma Punx Baltimore is a new chapter within Dharma Punx Nation. We are an alternative meditation community, inspired by the Insight/Vipassana tradition. We work to cultivate mindfulness as a tool for transformation. 

    • Sat, Feb 07 @ 4:00 PM
    • Sun, Mar 08 @ 4:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Jacobin reading group

    We'll meet monthly to discuss radical politics, using articles from Jacobin, a socialist quarterly, to structure our conversation. The purpose is to engage with leftist ideas in a lively, open, non-doctrinaire environment. No prior knowledge is necessary.

    Readings and updates here:

    http://baltimorejacobin.tumblr.com/

     

    • Sun, Feb 01 @ 3:30 PM
    • Sun, Feb 08 @ 3:30 PM
    • Sun, Feb 15 @ 3:30 PM
    • and 1 more session
    (North Ave classroom)

    Social Justice Poetry Workshops (for youth 13-21)

    Dew More Baltimore will hold free weekly poetry workshops for youth 13-21 every Sunday from 3:30 to 6:00 PM.

    Workshops will be led by professional poets and published authors. Guest advocates and activists will be invited to provide social justice workshops. 

    Through thought provoking workshops participants will learn how to use their art to address the social ills impacting them and/or the larger community. 

     

    • Thu, Feb 12 @ 7:00 PM
    • Thu, Feb 26 @ 7:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Black feminism and intersectionality

    Organized by the Baltimore branch of the International Socialist Organization

    The Baltimore branch of the International Socialist Organization is getting together to begin educating ourselves about Black feminism and Intersectionality. None of us are experts and nobody is "teaching" the class, but rather we will go through the material collectively. We invite anyone with any level of experience with this topic to join us and share your perspective! The way we structure the group is simply to ask for a volunteer to facilitate, and any Black woman who wants to facilitate is given priority, in recognition of the fact that there are very few spaces where Black woman's voices are allowed to be dominant. We spend time discussing reading that has been chosen by the group, but also leave space for open discussion about any relevant current events, media, blogs, etc. that members want to talk about. We see this group as being shaped by its members, so anyone can suggest readings or changes to the structure at any time. To get on the listserv for the group and receive the readings, please email Alana Davenport at abdvnprt@gmail.com. We also have a facebook group called Baltimore Free School Black Feminism and Intersectionality.

    • Sat, Jan 31 @ 2:30 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Public Safety Collective

    A Baltimore ‘Families Against Police Brutality’ Bloc initiative; a collective of friends, families and victims of police brutality, from both the living and dead, grieving proactively to uplift the community.

    The Public Safety Collective is an autonomous citizens review board of the Baltimore City Police Department.

    • Researching and archiving the history, laws, policies, and practices of the Baltimore City Police Department
    • Organizing an independent media platform where that information will be accessible to the public for free, in addition to reflections of current events and communiques from the 'Families Against Police Brutality' bloc. 
    • Mobilizing 'Cop Watch' program; community outreach, distributing literature, observing police activity, providing direct aid, facilitating resource accessibility, recruiting, networking.