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

    • Fri, Mar 13 @ 6:00 PM
    • Fri, Mar 20 @ 6:00 PM
    • Fri, Mar 27 @ 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. 

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

    Exploring Bioethics

    Hugh Taft-Morales, Leader of the Baltimore Ethical Society, will offer a series of targeted bioethics discussions exploring the crossroads of science, medicine and ethics.  An ethical framework will be used to analyze a wide range of issues. Participants are asked to bring in articles or ideas about the following three topic areas

    March 8 – 4PM: Aging, Acceptance, and Enhancement: How should we treat the body?

    April 12 – 4PM: Human and Animal Subjects in Medicine and Science

    May 10 – 4PM: Health Care Mandates, Freedom and Ownership

     

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

    Monthly Review reading group

    A monthly reading group for discussing the latest articles from the independent socialist magazine Monthly Review.

    • Thu, Mar 05 @ 7:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Tools for Change: Improving Group Effectiveness and Strengthening Communities

    This series of Free School gatherings is for anyone interested in community organizing, consulting, or facilitating groups to do important work. During each of the three sessions, we will explore several intuitive, easily applied concepts that inform decision making, improve problem solving, and enable groups and communities to work together more effectively. The tools are relevant for people with all levels of experience, and the session format encourages participants to share insights and learn from each others’ experiences.

    • Sat, Feb 28 @ 6:00 PM
    • Sat, Mar 14 @ 6:00 PM
    • Sat, Mar 28 @ 6:00 PM
    • and 2 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. 

    • Wed, Mar 04 @ 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.

    • Sun, Mar 01 @ 11:30 AM
    (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! **To secure your spot and help us have enough supplies, please make sure to RSVP directly through www.knittingneighborstogether.org.** 

    • Wed, Mar 11 @ 7:00 PM
    • Wed, Mar 25 @ 7:00 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).

    (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.

    • Fri, Mar 06 @ 6:00 PM
    (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, Mar 07 @ 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/