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

    • Wed, Jun 24 @ 7:00 PM
    • Wed, Jul 22 @ 7:00 PM
    • Wed, Aug 26 @ 7:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Baltimore Area Cooperators: Beginners Helping Beginners: A cooperative study group

    Our study group is open to all Baltimore region folks interested in learning more about cooperatives and building a cooperative culture in Baltimore. We meet monthly, do individual reading and host group workshops to broaden our collective knowledge about cooperatives and inspire and edcate one another on our respective cooperative ventures. 

    • Sat, Jun 27 @ 2:00 PM
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    Everybody In; Nobody Out – Film & Discussion About Universal Health Care

    Everybody In; Nobody Out – Film & Discussion About Universal Health Care

    Sponsored by Health Care Now of Maryland

    Every day people are going without needed health care in the U.S. due to the ills of our private health insurance system.  Many other nations know that health care is a basic human right, and ensure that everyone has access to high-quality care. The Health Care Movie is a documentary that provides the story of how health care in Canada and the United States evolved to be so completely different, when at one time they were essentially the same. Produced by a Canadian/American couple, The Healthcare Movie reveals the personal and emotional impact on Canadians of the universal health care system they enjoy because of the heroism of people who took a stand nearly 50 years ago. The screening will be followed by a discussion with members of Healthcare-Now of Maryland, a statewide grassroots organization working for affordable, accessible quality health care for all.  

    • Tue, May 05 @ 6:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Salvia: Pioneering new dosing technology for legal healing and consciousness exploration

    Join us for a conversation with Twig Harper, who will share his work with the legal psychedelic plant Salvia. Twig is currently pioneering new oral dosing technology to unlock more of Salvia's potential for healing and consciousness exploration.

    • Tue, May 12 @ 6:00 PM
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    Maryland Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts: Music Law and Business event for Hip-Hop Artists

    Maryland Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts: Music Law and Business for Hip-Hop Artists! (6-8pm, North Ave. Classroom)   Are you an artist that makes Hip-Hop, Baltimore Club, R&B, or some other type of Electronic Dance Music?  Then come learn about copyright, contracts, and the other legal and business building blocks necessary for any successful music career.  Maryland Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the rights of artists and arts organizations through pro bono legal services and education.  We want to put YOU in control!  After this class, you will be able to issue spot important topics in both the artistic and professional processes you engage in as a creative person.  This will help you protect yourself and the other artists in your community.  At the very least, it will help you realize when you need a good lawyer on your side (which is something we can also help with)!     More information on Maryland Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts can be found here: www.mdvla.org.  If you have any questions about this event or our services, please email info@mdvla.org.
    • Sun, Aug 09 @ 7:00 PM
    • Sun, Aug 16 @ 7:00 PM
    • Sun, Aug 23 @ 7:00 PM
    • and 5 more sessions
    (North Ave classroom)

    DIY Sexual Health: Reclaiming Knowledge and Choices in Abortion, Contraception and Reproductive Options

    This course will introduce students to the foundational concepts and frameworks of reproductive justice and health. Together we will unpack and discuss the current medical knowledge about abortion, contraception, queer and trans* sexual health and reproductive options and how to navigate the medical industrial complex as a patient and reclaim the power to be in control of your own body.

     

     

     

    Taught by Kaity Molé, RN, BSN, Co-Director of Baltimore Doulas for Choice 

    • Wed, May 20 @ 7:00 PM
    • Wed, Jun 17 @ 7:00 PM
    • Wed, Jul 15 @ 7:00 PM
    • and 1 more session
    (North Ave classroom)

    Socialism Reading and Discussion Group

    This monthly course will offer an open space to discuss socialism and get connected with others on the Left. This class and meeting will provide a forum for discussion and debate of the political questions facing activists. The monthly discussion group will focus on socialist politics and ideas. Readings from socialistworker.org, the International Socialist review and other books and journals will inform the monthly discussion. 

     

     

    • Sun, May 10 @ 4:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    A Marxist view on the problems of today

    This is a discussion group to delve into the many problems inherent to capitalist societies, and to analyze how different currents of socialism have tried to deal with them. Race, gender, the labor movement and political organizing are going to be discussed in depth throughout the sessions. We will propose readings for each session, but additional readings proposed by participants are welcome.

     

    • Thu, May 14 @ 5:00 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. 

    • Fri, May 08 @ 6:00 PM
    • Fri, May 15 @ 6:00 PM
    • Fri, May 22 @ 6:00 PM
    • and 1 more session
    (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. 

    • Mon, May 11 @ 10:30 AM
    • Sat, May 09 @ 10:30 AM
    (North Ave classroom)

    The Last Days of Socrates

    8-week discussion series on four Platonic dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, and Phaedo.

    • Thu, May 07 @ 7:00 PM
    • Thu, May 14 @ 7:00 PM
    • Thu, May 21 @ 7:00 PM
    • and 1 more session
    (North Ave classroom)

    Understanding the Arab Spring: History, Hope, and Counter-Revolution

    From late 2010 through the end of 2011, uprisings, attempted revolutions, and mass protests followed, bringing about both significant political changes and civil war across the Arab world.

    This class will examine first-hand accounts as well as historical reflections on the "Arab Spring" - What does this mean for contemporary theories on revolution and mass protests? What motivated these situations, and what contexts led to them? What can we be doing today to support and participate with those continuing to fight for liberation and social justice in the Arab World?

    Through readings, guest speakers, videos, and discussion, students will learn a general synopsis of Arab political history in the 20th century and will look in-depth at  key issues that shaped the revolts in 2010/11 - as well as hearing about the revolts themselves.

    • Wed, May 06 @ 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.

    * This course will take place once a month for six months.

    • Wed, May 13 @ 6:30 PM
    • Wed, May 27 @ 6:30 PM
    (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).