Our Communities

There are many forms of Open Master's communities that have been created over the years and all around the world, ranging from a few friends meeting over coffee weekly to start their Open Master's together, to more ambitious community projects, such as Alt*Div, our largest learning laboratory.

Belonging to the Open Master's community is an open invitation to anyone who wants to join us in co-creating this form of learning. Many of us have become very invested in building on and applying our collective experiences, our principles, tools and methodology into other contexts, hoping to transform the spaces we move in and inhabit. 

Our community members have studied everything from neuroscience to brewing. Meet some of us:

Core Organizers

While the real work of the Open Master's is done every day by members—who are creating their own education and building learning communities where they are—a small team of us have taken on the responsibility of stewarding and supporting the broader community over the years, including:

  • Creating new programs, communities, experiences, and tools for new members to get started on their Open Master's journey.
  • Harvesting and sharing stories of our community and learning at the margins of the mainstream.
  • Working together as a learning community of educational philosophers and facilitators, always exploring the bigger questions of what it means to become more human together through our learning.

Alan Webb. Alan has been supporting self-directed learners and organizing learning communities for almost a decade. He helped organize the first wave of Open Master's in DC in 2012, when Alan's own Open Master's took him down the path of becoming a facilitator with a focus on design thinking, social entrepreneurship, and building transformative learning communities.

Alan now shares the experience he has gained through that journey with new groups and members in our community through facilitation, co-creating self-directed learning with new Open Master's groups, as well as partner and friends.

Alan "facilitating" the East Coast Open Master's Retreat.


Sarah Bradley. Having previously worked with social change organizations like Ashoka, IDEO.org, and Samasource, Sarah discovered the Open Master's while looking to better integrate her passions for the creative arts, alternative power structures, and movement strategy for cultural transformation. 

Since launching the Open Master's group in San Francisco with friends in 2014, Sarah has worked to build the Open Master's as an organization and better capture and distill the magic of this community—developing our organizational strategy; designing tools and materials, like the Wayfinder Kit; bringing our methods into partner organizations, communities, and schools; launching and stewarding our flagship program, Alt*Div; and crafting the way we tell our story.


Marien Baerveldt. Marien launched the Open Master's Netherlands in 2013 and has never stopped looking for more ways to inspire and support the becoming of students and adults looking for the trapdoor. He has implemented the Wayfinder Kit into formal settings across the Netherlands, is one of the core organizers of the Alt*Div community, and is creating new programs and experiences as an entry point into the Open Master's community across Europe.


David Bronstein. David carries the heart and soul of the Open Master's, always bringing the spirit of deep, soulful organizing into our work.

David builds our community through local organizing, facilitating retreats and designing workshops—such as the Art of Peer Coaching workshop—and coaching new members. David is one of the co-founders of the Alt*Div learning community, and offers loving learning direction one-on-one to new members of the Open Master's who want more personal support getting started.


Jerome “Axle” Brown. Axle had an exciting early career working in the first two Obama presidential campaigns, and then on entrepreneurship and innovation projects with the U.S. Department of Energy. He stumbled upon the Open Master’s Program, and it opened up a whole new world of possibility for him.

After two years of self education in UX design, he turned down job opportunities at the White House and, instead, decided to do an 18-month sabbatical in SE Asia. Now, he is living in Chiang Mai, Thailand and working as an Open Master’s coach, specifically focusing on coaching people that want to take a big break from their current routine and dive into learning full time.