Ransackers Project


The Ransackers Association was formed by people who had all experienced the wonderful educational adventure of the Ransackers Project and who then wished to ensure that the opportunity remained open for other people. 

We viewed the project as an `Educational Adventure’ because it enabled people of 55 + years, who had not previously had the opportunity of higher education, to engage in college life, studying and researching  a project of their choosing.  The colleges provided the necessary tutorial, IT and study skills support, as many students would not have written an essay or thought about academic work since they left school.  The end result was a 5-10,000 word thesis on their research. Having renewed the learning bug some Ransackers went on to complete full degrees and we have several PhDs amongst our number.  All Ransackers students returned to their communities better informed and more confident to carry out whatever commitments they had.

The name Ransackers comes from the Gaelic word Rannsachadh meaning to explore, scrutinise and discover which is exactly what the project founder, Vi Hughes, wanted for this group of older people.  Using her 30 years adult education experience Vi knew how educational learning could open up unlimited opportunities for people to improve both their own and other peoples’ lives.

Since the first courses in 2004 the Ransackers Project has been hosted in residential colleges at Ruskin Oxford, Fircroft Birmingham, Hillcroft Surrey and Northern Barnsley.  Brighton University ran a 22 week non-residential course on the Hastings Campus called OAK (Open Access to Knowledge) based on the Ransackers principle.

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