Public Social University

Offering a platform for free, social learning events since 2008, because People do not need to go into debt to participate in learning communities


Do you have a skill that you would like to share? An activity or discussion you would like to facilitate? Are you doing work that you would like to present to others? Share your knowledge, energy, and enthusiasm with others in a free, social setting by participating in Public Social University!

Founded in 2008, Public Social University (PubSoU) is a forum for free, social learning events in art galleries, museums, cafes, and public parks. Our events are free and open to all ages. We value diverse forms of knowledge, wisdom, and exchange.

We are currently curating activities, discussions, presentations, etc. for upcoming learning events in local art galleries (exact dates TBD).

Past activities have included:
* Seed bombing in downtown Portland, followed by a discussion on food and public space
* A presentation by the creator of the “Heart Oregon” decal
* A panel discussion on Friendship and Music
* Sound and movement healing workshop
* Live oral history interviews featuring community members
* An introductory Capoeira class
* A discussion of Utopic and dystopic worlds in comic books and graphic novels
* A friendship bracelet making workshop
* A presentation on the hydrologic cycle, followed by a performance piece about water
* A Q&A about tenants’ rights
* And many more!

Please note that while we have done many themed events in the past, your idea for an activity does not need to fit into any particular theme. We are simply looking for people who are interested in volunteering to share their knowledge, energy, and enthusiasm with others in a free, social setting.

This is a great opportunity for people who want to have enriching experiences while nurturing community and exploring the “radical” notion that learning is not something that people have to go into debt to do!

If you are interested in participating, please send an email, including:
* Your name
* Your current email address (and phone number if possible)
* A brief (<200 words) description of the activities, discussions, etc. that you are interested in proposing, OR if you have an idea that you would like to flesh out further, please feel free to discuss it as a “work in progress”
* Any websites, blogs, etc. that will help us to understand your work, ideas, etc.
* A general idea of when you will be in Portland and available to participate during 2013
* And/or any questions that you might have

Also, feel free to write if you are interested in participating as a volunteer in some other capacity relevant to your skills and/or skills that you would like to develop.

If you are interested in receiving occasional email updates, please reply with “subscribe to PubSoU email list” in subject heading. Your email address will be safe with us, and we do not send annoying spam emails.

We hope that you will participate and forward this to your friends, family, and colleagues who may also be interested in participating.


2008: Public Social University began as a collaborative project in Harrell Fletcher’s Art & Social Practice class at Portland State University. The first three Public Social University events were loosely organized forums for idea and skill sharing at Portland Oregon’s Central Public Library. Individuals were welcome to come give presentations, lectures, lessons, and lead discussions and activities on any topic they chose in a free, social setting. 

2009: Public Social University Co-Directors Rozzell Medina and Judy Fleming organized free/all ages events in Portland’s SEA Change and MK art galleries on themes such as Food, Water, Apocalypse, Friendship, Healing, and Oral Histories, presenting attendees with an array of workshops, discussions, presentations and activities on the respective themes. Culled from Portland’s vibrant community individuals volunteered their time, knowledge and energy. Additionally, Fleming and Medina installed exhibits in Portland’s MK and White Galleries, organized a free/all-ages community event in San Francisco’s Dolores Park, and won November’s STOCK Grant.

2010: Public Social University presented their first large-scale public work in the form of Public Social University Oral History Space (PSU OHS). PSU OHS was a temporary space for public consideration, celebration, and exploration of oral history as a vital means of education, empowerment, and cultural growth, located in Portland’s South Park Blocks in-between Portland Art Museum and Oregon Historical Society (in conjunction with Open Engagement).

Public Social University Co-Director Judy Fleming facilitated and curated free all-ages events on HOUSING (SEA Change Gallery) and LOVE (Field Work), and a month-long SURVIVAL course at The Waypost.

2011: As part of her residency at the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Indy Island, artist Katherine Ball curated and facilitated a Public Social University event on water.

2012: Public Social University Co-Director Rozzell Medina curated and facilitated a 2-part learning event exploring Alienation & Sustainability, hosted by Project Grow at Port City Gallery, with assistance from Leslie Heimer and others. Rozzell also traveled to Columbus, Ohio, where he worked with interns at CMA Art Lab to curate and facilitate a free, social learning event in the Columbus Museum of Art’s New Materials Gallery.

To learn about individual Public Social University events, please see the links above.

If you are interested in hosting, organizing, or funding a free, creative learning event, please contact