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Free Education! The Free University of New York, Alternate U, and the Liberation of Education

Interference Archive & Jakob Jakobsen


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The Free University of New York (FUNY) was established as a rebellious alternative to the traditional university and college system. It opened its doors in 1965 in a loft near Union Square as a meeting place for students and teachers who wanted to create their own learning space. They built a free university, with no exams or degrees, where they could learn about social struggles and everyday life. They strove for a revolutionary experience in education.

In 1969, FUNY became Alternate U and the people who met there went on to be involved in a large number of activities and groups in New York, including The Rat newspaper, Newsreel Collective, Psychologists for a Democratic Society, National Committee to Combat Fascism, Burning City Women’s Theater, Gay Liberation Front, and many more.

This folder collects reproductions of documents produced by both FUNY and Alternate U, as well as portions of interviews held in 2018 with former participants of both educational projects. Curated by Jakob Jakobsen, organized by Bonnie Gordan, Jen Hoyer, and Josh MacPhee for Interference Archive. An extremely unique object, it is an “exhibition in a folder.”

Note that the folders are all upcycled and most have bent corners.

Designed by Josh MacPhee with Jakob Jakobsen

Printed at Bright Spot in Brooklyn, NY

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