"I learned I am a Feminist": Lessons for Adult Learning from Participatory Action Research with Union Women


  • Cindy Hanson Associate Professor Adult Education and HRD University of Regina


Adult education, nonformal learning, labour education, popular education, feminist education, participatory research


For almost two decades, the Prairie School for Union Women (PSUW) has operated in Saskatchewan, Canada. Its use of feminist popular education, adult learning principles in facilitation, and, mentoring and support for activist practices make it unique from other labour schools in many respects. This paper focuses on  community-based participatory action research that explored how well the PSUW was meeting its goals to “develop women’s personal and leadership skills, to build solidarity among women workers, and to increase knowledge about the labour movement.” The article documents not only how the School achieved its goals, but how it also offers lessons in inclusive labour education and activism, nonformal adult learning, intersectional feminist approaches, university-community relationships, and transformative education.

Author Biography

Cindy Hanson, Associate Professor Adult Education and HRD University of Regina

Cindy Hanson is an educator interested in participatory, intersectional, and transformative forms of learning that have local and global applications. She works in adult education at the University of Regina. Her research areas span multiples contexts - local and international in nonformal and informal learning. In addition to another study on the Prairie School for Union Women, Hanson is working on research with the Labour College of Canada, with Indigenous communities in Canada and Chile, and on community-based research in East Africa.  


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How to Cite

Hanson, C. (2014). "I learned I am a Feminist": Lessons for Adult Learning from Participatory Action Research with Union Women. Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, 27(1), 49–64. Retrieved from https://cjsae.library.dal.ca/index.php/cjsae/article/view/3361