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Glenn Rikowski

Privatisation in Education and Commodity Forms





Glenn RikowskiVisiting Fellow, College of Social Science, University of Lincoln, UK


My article, Privatisation in Education and Commodity Forms has now been published in Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, Volume 15 Number 3, December 2017, pp.29-56.

The Abstract for the article is below.

The article can be accessed at:




To date research and scholarship on privatisation in education lacks critical depth and intensity. Stock concerns occupy contributions to the field: the effects of privatisation in education on teachers’ labour, pay and conditions of service; educational expenditure; resultant problems of planning at local and national levels; corruption (systemic, and by teachers); and on the curriculum and pedagogy. Additionally, many accounts have been largely descriptive, focusing on how privatisation takes place, or on threats to privatisation, or its insertion within education systems. Many case studies have been undertaken in this light, with sectoral, country-wide and local cases. There has been less emphasis on why privatisation in education occurs. Resistance to educational privatisation has been another common theme. Finally, work on educational commodification has been substantially dissociated from studies on privatisation in education. This paper builds on this last point. Writing and research on privatisation in education has largely avoided what it represents and calls forth: the development of capital, the deeper capitalisation of education. Furthermore, discussion on educational privatisation typically ignores its implication in the social production of labour-power. Therefore, with reference to Karl Marx, this contribution drives the critique of privatisation in education forward by focusing on commodity form(s) in education and their relations to the capitalisation of educational services. Consequently, the points of resistance to privatisation in education are sharpened as anti-capitalist weapons.


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The journal website is:



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Glenn Rikowski

Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies – Volume 15 Number 3, December 2017


This is the latest issue of Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies. It includes my article Privatisation in Education and Commodity Forms.





Volume 15 Number 3 – December 2017


Ravi Kumar
Consensualised Reproduction and Fascisation of Society: Critical Pedagogy in Times of Despair


Glenn Rikowski
Privatisation in Education and Commodity Forms


Mike Cole
‘A bright future’ for ‘something new and highly significant’ or a bit of a damp squib?: (neo-) Marxist reflections on recent theoretical developments in ‘BritCrit’ in the journal Race, Ethnicity and Education


Oskar Szwabowski
Paulina Wężniejewska

An (co)autoethnography story about going against the neoliberal didactic machine


Sezen Bayhan
Ayşe Caner 

Schools in the Nexus of Neoliberal Urban Transformation and Education Policy Change


Chris Holligan
Corporate Schooling and Decorative Metrics: The Iconography of Academy School Chains in England


Dhammika Jayawardena 
The “MacBurger”, Non-State Universities and the Changing Landscape of Higher Education in Sri Lanka


Steve Hanson
Language, juridical epistemologies and power in the new UK university: Can alternative providers escape?


Cecilia Rikap 
The Differentiated Market-University: is commodification equally affecting all universities?


Joseph Cunningham
Rhetorical Tension in the Bureaucratic University


Fernando Murillo
Ideology, Curriculum & The Self: The psychic rootedness of ideology and resistance in subjectivity


Carl Parsons
Kaia-Marie A. Bishop

Book Review: Mike Cole (2016)Racism: a Critical Analysis. London: Pluto Press.



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Dave Hill




University of East London, Stratford, London, England

25th – 28th July 2018

Critical Education and Activism Against Neoliberalism / Authoritarian Neoconservatism in Education, State and Society

The International Conference on Critical Education (ICCE), previously held in Athens (2011, 2012), Ankara (2013), Thessaloniki (2014), Wroclaw, Poland (2015), London (Middlesex University) (2016) and Athens (2017) is a forum for scholars, educators and activists committed to social and economic justice.  The 8th ICCE: Critical Education and Activism Against Neoliberalism/ Authoritarian Neoconservatism in Education, State and Society will take place at University of London (UEL), London, 25-28 July 2018.

At a time of economic crisis, when education is under siege by neoliberal capitalism and by neo-conservatism and aggressive nationalism, when teachers and academics are being proletarianized, youth criminalized, civilised and caring societies being stripped of welfare and benefits and rights, schools and universities turned into commodities, at such a time, critical education, as a theory and as a movement, as praxis, is clearly relevant. International communities of critical educators and activists are working together, and with other movements, to build active resistance to these processes and are engaged in fostering educational and social change leading to a more just, equal and fair society.

The current economic, social, and political crisis, that has been ongoing for 30 years, is manifesting more deeply in education on a global scale. The crisis- part of, and resulting from, dominant neoliberal and neoconservative politics that are implemented and promoted internationally as ‘the only solution’, under the slogan ‘there is no alternative’ (TINA), have substantially redefined the sociopolitical and ideological roles of education. Public education is shrinking. It loses its status as a social right. It is projected as a mere commodity for sale while it becomes less democratic, de-theorised, de-critiqued.

Understanding the causes of the crisis, the particular forms it takes in different countries and the multiple ways in which it influences education, constitute important questions for all those who do not limit their perspectives to the horizon of neoconservative, neoliberal and technocratic dogmas. Moreover, the critical education movement has the responsibility to rethink its views and practices in light of the crisis, and in the light of social, political and educational resistance in different countries – and the paths that this crisis opens for challenging and overthrowing capitalist domination worldwide.

The International Conference on Critical Education (ICCE) – regularly attended by between 300 and 400 participants, provides a vibrant and egalitarian, non-elitist, platform for scholars, educators, activists, students and others interested in critical education and in contesting the current neo-liberal/ neo-conservative/ nationalist hegemony, to come together and engage in a free, democratic and productive dialogue. At this time of crisis when public education is under siege by neoliberalism, neo-conservatism and nationalism, we invite you to submit a proposal and to attend the Conference. We especially welcome new and emerging scholars / scholar-activists.


Speakers invited include:

Grant Banfield (Australia)

Dennis Beach (Sweden)

Sara Carpenter (Canada)

Hana Cervinlova (Poland)

Polina Chrysochou (Greece /UK)

Christian Chun (USA)

Alessio d’Angelo (UK)

Sandra Delgado (Canada/ Colombia)

Mustafa Durmus (Turkey)

Agnieszka Dzieminowicz-Bak (Poland)

Gail Edwards (UK)

Ramin Farahmandpur (USA)

Derek Ford (USA)

Nathan Fretwell (UK)

Panayota Gounari (USA)

George Grollios (Greece)

Carly Guest (UK)

Julia Hall (USA)

Dave Hill (UK)

Lee Jerome (UK)

Wei Jin (Peoples Republic of China)

Gianna Katsiampoura (Greece)

Nurcan Korkmaz (Turkey)

Ravi Kumar (India)

Alpesh Mairsuira (UK)

Tristan McCowan (UK)

Gyuri Meszaros (Hungary)

Louise Prendergast (UK)

Lotar Rasinski (Poland)

John Rice (Australia)

Glenn Rikowski (UK)

Leena Robertson (UK)

Juan R. Rodriguez (Spain)

Wayne Ross (Canada)

Rachel Seoighe (UK)

Kostas Skordoulis (Greece)

Spyros Themelis (UK)

Tamas Toth (Hungary/Poland)

Paolo Vittoria (Italy)

Josefine Wagner (Poland)

Terry Wrigley (UK)

Ahmet Yidiz (Turkey)


Conference Organisers: Dave Hill (Institute for Education Policy Studies) and Alpesh Maisuria (University of East London)



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UEL Stratford






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Glenn Rikowski




Glenn RikowskiVisiting Fellow, College of Social Science, University of Lincoln, UK





This is a paper prepared for the International Centre for Public Pedagogies (ICPuP), International Seminar for Public Pedagogies at the University of East London for 21st February 2018. See the post below for details.

The paper is now available on Academia, see:



The Classical Theory of Education Crisis is the default theory utilised by educational theorists for understanding the constitution and explanation of education crises in contemporary society. Following a brief outline of the concept of crisis, and the histiography of the notion of education crisis from the Second World War to the neoliberal recession of 1980-82, there is a an outline of The Classical Theory of Education Crisis as most fully expressed in Madan Sarup’s classic Education, State and Crisis: A Marxist Perspective (1982). The key aspect of the Classical Theory is that education crises are derivative of economic crises. This is followed by the main event: critique of the Classical Theory. Its reliance on structuralist thought (with associated determinism, functionalism and reductionism) and the inflow of economics imperialism are some of its key deficiencies. The Conclusion outlines ground still to be covered and the need to move beyond the Classical Theory of Education Crisis.



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Glenn Rikowski




Glenn Rikowski Visiting Fellow, College of Social Science, University of Lincoln, UK



International Centre for Public Pedagogies (ICPuP)

International Seminar for Public Pedagogies


Stratford Campus

Water Lane


E15 4LZ


21st February 2018

5.00 – 6.00pm

Room: 4.02



There are two parts to the presentation. Following a brief examination of the concept of ‘crisis’ the first part provides a critique of the Classical Theory of education crisis. This is the default theory of education crisis utilised by the majority of educational theorists and education activists today. Its starting point is that education crises are basically derivative of economic crises. The works of Marxists Brian Simon and Madan Sarup are important in fixing and consolidating the Classical Theory of education crisis. These will be explored in some depth.

The second part of the paper is more speculative. It seeks to pinpoint education crises as crises for capital. Thus, it is concerned with working on the weaknesses in the rule of capital (in education and in terms of its development) rather than focusing on how crises originating in the economy have deleterious effects for state-financed, public education. Two forms of education crises for capital are located, based on the mode of existence of commodity forms in educational institutions: crises of labour-power production; and crises in the ‘general class’ of commodities in educational settings. The implications for an anti-capitalist, anti-affirmationist politics of education based on this analysis are provided in conclusion.


Note: Two papers will be produced for this seminar: Critique of the Classical Theory of Education Crisis, and Education Crises As Crises for Capital. In the meantime, the following paper is useful: Crises, Commodities and Education: Disruptions, Eruptions, Interruptions and Ruptions, which is available at Academia:


ADDENDUM – 22nd January 2018

The two papers for this ICPuP Seminar are now online at Academia:

Critique of the Classical Theory of Education Crisis

Education Crises As Crises For Capital



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Marxism and Education: Renewing Dialogues (MERD – 19) Seminar

This coming Wednesday 3rd May 2017


University of East London

Stratford Campus

Cass School of Education

Room ED4.02

At this 19th MERD seminar on Wednesday, we will review the emergent contemporary crises of capitalism. In this context, we will focus on education and educating across the social spectrum of institutional and wider social formation to progress class struggle, critique and action. Our four speakers have provided the following blurbs about their presentations:


Tony Green (UCL Institute of Education)

Educating the Educators and the Emergent Secular Crises of Contemporary Capitalism: From Brexit to Trump and Corbyn … to Snap Election … and Beyond?

The introduction aims to draw attention to a collection of issues and themes likely to occupy us during the day.  The broad and open-ended agenda is intended to be suggestive of potentially ‘educative’ contexts about how exchange values dominate use values, and where systemic shifting of value and power upwards in support of structures of global oligarchy and plutocratic elite class hegemony, is concurrent with ongoing secular crises of capitalism.   Is the apparent ever-rising tide of ‘prosperity’ contributing to human emancipation and flourishing?  We need to address the global capitalist system, and metabolism in its, tensions and contradictions, with complex and dynamic ramifications at local, regional, national and international levels.  The aim of these introductory remarks is to remind ourselves of current events and possible underlying dynamics that set analytic, strategic and tactical challenges… not least, the performative … during these ever-interesting times. Huge and urgent questions have to be addressed in specific and local contexts: Are all the cards being thrown into the air?  Are there inbuilt legitimation crises playing out across the institutional forms of politics? What are the prospects for the anthropocene? Time to act … now! What is to be done…?


Hillary Wainwright (Red Pepper Magazine Editor)

The importance of practical knowledge to the possibility of a new politics from the left

I’ll draw on themes associated with socialist humanist work of Gramsci, Williams and, Thompson, and against a background of recognising that evocations of the organised working class were thwarted too many times, including by leaderships that did not actually believe in the capacity of the supporters, to convince me. Radical social change is surely more than workplace organisation, radical leadership and a conventional political party of the left.  


Terry Wrigley (Visiting Professor at Northumbria University, editor International Journal Improving Schools, and co-coordinator of the Reclaiming Schools network)

England is an epicentre and laboratory for neoliberal education policy in advanced economies, with a unique mix of neoconservative ingredients. It has the tightest accountability framework (tests, league tables, Ofsted, performance pay etc.), extensive privatisation, a curriculum which systematically excludes critical social knowledge, and hegemonic discourses around ‘choice’, ‘standards’, ‘leadership’ and ‘social mobility’. 

For critical educators, the pressing challenges include:

  • Making critical theory and research knowledge available to a teaching profession increasingly restricted to short-term pragmatics;
  • Rethinking curriculum, assessment and pedagogy beyond binaries of ‘academic / vocational’ and ‘knowledge / practice’;
  • Protecting spaces for critical understanding and creativity; 
  • Critiquing the distortions of ‘social mobility’ and ‘closing the gap’ in socially just ways;
  • Finding educative responses to the social futures facing young people (Austerity, precarity, migration, militarism). 


Richard Hall (De Montfort University)

On the alienation of academic labour and the possibilities for mass intellectuality

As one response to the secular crisis of capitalism, higher education is being proletarianised. Its academics and students, encumbered by precarious employment, overwhelming debt, and new levels of performance management, are shorn of any autonomy. Increasingly the labour of those academics and students is subsumed and re-engineered for value production, and is prey to the vicissitudes of the twin processes of financialisation and marketization. At the core of understanding the impact of these processes and their relationships to higher education is the alienated labour of the academic, as it defines the sociability of the University. This paper examines the role of alienated labour in academic work, and relates this to feelings of hopelessness, in order to ask what might be done differently. The argument centres on the role of mass intellectuality, or socially-useful knowledge and knowing, as a potential moment for overcoming alienated labour.

Organised by Tony Green and Alpesh Maisuria

The seminar is free and open to all, no registration required. Please circulate widely and feel free to attend as much of the day as you possibly can.

Stratford campus is walkable from the nearest stations: Stratford (TfL line) / Stratford International, and Maryland (TfL line).

More travel information can be found here:



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Ruth Rikowski Framlingham Castle

Ruth Rikowski
Framlingham Castle


The presentation slides for Ruth Rikowski’s talk at The Froud Centre, Manor Park, London, on 10th June 2016 –are now available at Academia.

Why Library Is Not  A Dirty Word: Reclaiming Its Power And Possibility

Presentation slides @

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Glenn Rikowski

In addition, Glenn Rikowski also has a new post at Academia: The Woodhead Federation? The Business Takeover of Schools in England

This can be viewed at:


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Dr. Glenn Rikowski

Dr. Glenn Rikowski

Dr. Glenn Rikowski

Dr. Glenn Rikowski



I have recently uploaded a number of Presentations and Presentation Notes to Academia.

These are as follows:





Crises, Commodities and Education: Disruptions, Eruptions, Interruptions and Ruptions (Presentation):

Crises in Education, Crises of Education (Presentation):

Education and Crisis (Presentation):

Crisis and Education (Presentation):

The Seed: Critical Educators for Social Transformation (Presentation):

Higher Education in Crises of Capital and Labour (Presentation Notes):

Value, Labour Power and Gender Inequality in the Capitalist Labour Market (Presentation):

Rethinking Higher Education: Students As Producers Against the Culture Machine (Presentation):

Capitalisation by Stealth: The Business Takeover of Schools in England (Presentation):

Ten Points on Marx, Class and Education (Presentation):

Adventures in Marxism and Education: An Autobiographical Report (Presentation):

The Business Takeover of Schools in England (Presentation):

Karl Marx’s Social Time (Presentation):

The Evolution of Federations of Schools in England (Presentation):

Education Rights in Global Capitalism Today (Presentation):

Profits in Chains? The Capitalisation of Schools in England and the White Paper (Presentation):

Night Thoughts on the Education White Paper (Presentation):

New Labour, the Knowledge Economy and Education (Presentation):

The Business Takeover of Schools: Exploring Explanations (Presentation Notes):


To see the full list of Presentations and Presentation Notes, and further details, go to:


To see all my postings to Academia, go to:


To see my posting at ResearchGate, go to:






May 27-28, 2016

St Mary’s University

14500 Bannister Road SE Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2X 1Z4



Location: St. Mary’s University [map]


Keynote: Adam Renner Education for Social Justice Memorial Lecture
E. Wayne Ross, University of British Columbia


Conference Program:


Flyer for the Conference:


The Rouge Forum is a group of educators, students, and parents seeking a democratic society. We are concerned about questions like these: How can we teach against racism, national chauvinism and sexism in an increasingly authoritarian and undemocratic society? How can we gain enough real power to keep our ideals and still teach–or learn? Whose interests shall school serve in a society that is ever more unequal? We are both research and action oriented. We want to learn about equality, democracy and social justice as we simultaneously struggle to bring into practice our present understanding of what that is. We seek to build a caring inclusive community which understands that an injury to one is an injury to all. At the same time, our caring community is going to need to deal decisively with an opposition that is sometimes ruthless. We hope to demonstrate that the power necessary to win greater democracy will likely rise out of an organization that unites people in new ways–across union boundaries, across community lines, across the fences of race and sex/gender. We believe that good humor and friendships are a vital part of building this kind of organization, as important as theoretical clarity. Friendships allow us to understand that action always reveals errors–the key way we learn. We chose Brer Rabbit as a symbol to underline the good cheer that rightfully guides the struggle for justice. Every part of the world is our briar patch. We had modest success in defeating the standardized test, the MEAP, in Michigan. We work in faculty organizations and unions to deal with the racism and sexism in academia. We try to press forward questions of class size, curricular freedom, anti-racist pedagogy, real inclusion, and a just tax system. As part of the Whole Schooling Consortium, we have sponsored forums in the U.S., uniting hundreds of people for democracy and equality.

The Rouge Forum holds meetings on a regular basis at both local and national levels. The national conferences have been held on a more or less annual basis; all meetings are action-oriented and the national conferences usually include workshops for teachers and students; panel discussions; community-building and cultural events; as well as academic presentations. Many prominent voices for democracy and critical pedagogy have participated in Rouge Forum meetings. On its website you’ll find the latest information about upcoming Rouge Forum meetings and conferences as well information on past conferences, including abstracts, papers, and videos.


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10 – 13 August 2016

Middlesex University



Extended Call for Papers: 31st May 2016

The Deadline for Abstracts for the upcoming 6th ICCE Conference has been extended to the end of May.


Plenary  Speakers include:
Peter McLaren (Chapman University, Orange, California, USA)
Hasan Hüseyin Aksoy (Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey)
Grant Banfield (Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia)
Joyce Canaan (Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK)
Hana Cervinkova (University of Lower Silesia, Wroclaw, Poland)
Polina Chrysochou (Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, UK)
Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk (University of Wroclaw, Wroclaw, Poland)
Cassie Earl (Manchester Metropolitan Univesity, Manchester, UK)
Gail Edwards (Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK)
Ramin Farahmandpur (Portland State University, Portland, USA)
Derek Ford (Syracuse University, New York, USA)
Panayota Gounari (University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA)
Tom Griffiths (Newcastle University, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia)
George Grollios (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki,Thessaloniki, Greece)
Dave Hill (Institute for Education Policy Studies & National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece)
Gianna Katsampoura (National Hellenic Research Foundation, Athens, Greece)
Leszek Koczanowicz (University of Sosial Sciences and Humanities, Wroclaw, Poland)
Vicky Makris (University of Alberta, Alberta, Canada)
Curry Malott (West Chester University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, USA)
Alpesh Maisuria (University of East London, London, UK)
Lilia Monzo (Chapman University, California, USA)
Jayne Osgood (Middlesex University, London, UK)
Periklis Pavlidis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece)
Leena Helavaara Robertson (Middlesex University, London, UK)
Fevziye Sayilan (Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey)
Kostas Skordoulis (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece)
Juha Suoranta (University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland)
Spyros Themelis (University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK)
Meral Uysal (Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey)
Paolo Vittoria (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Ahmet Yildiz (Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey)
The conference website is

Speakers are listed at

Abstract Submission Form is at:



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Call for Papers: The SoJo Journal Issue #3
The SoJo Journal: Educational Foundations and Social Justice Education is soliciting manuscripts for its third issue.

The journal welcomes manuscripts that examine contemporary educational and social contexts and practices from critical perspectives. The SoJo Journal: Educational Foundations and Social Justice Education is interested in research studies as well as conceptual, theoretical, philosophical, and policy-analysis essays that advance educational practices that challenge the existing state of affairs in society, schools, and (in)formal education.


Style Guidelines

All manuscripts must adhere to APA sixth edition format, include an abstract of 100-150 words, and range between 20 – 30 pages in length (including camera ready tables, charts, figures, and references). Two copies of the manuscript should be attached: a master copy including a title page and a blind copy with the title page and all other author-identifying information removed (including citations and references pertaining to any of the contributing authors’ works). Attachments should be in Microsoft Word.

Submission Guidelines

Manuscripts for publication consideration for the third issue should be submitted electronically via email by attachment by April 30, 2016 to SoJo Associate Editor, Julie Ficarra at


Journal Contact


Bradley J. Porfilio


The SoJo Journal: Educational Foundations and Social Justice Education

California State University, East Bay

25800 Carlos Bee Blvd, Hayward, CA 94542

Phone: 609-339-5011



Julie M. Ficarra
Associate Editor

Cultural Foundations of Education
Syracuse University



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Apologies for the short notice but unfortunately it has been necessary to change the venue for the meeting on Saturday 28 November.  This will now be held in the MAYDAY ROOMS, 88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH, 2.00pm – 4.30pm. 



Saturday 28 November 2015

Mayday Rooms

88 Fleet Street

London, EC4Y 1DH

2.00pm – 4.30pm

The Social Science Centre (SSC) in Lincoln is a self-organised co-operative higher learning provider that is democratic at all levels of its organisation. The scholars who are members of the Centre work and study together whether they are traditionally students or teachers. One of the aims of the Centre is to analyse and dissolve the tensions in the relationships between research and teaching, and students and academics. Set up by academics from the University of Lincoln, the Centre has no relationship with the University, although it is a critique of the formal institution as a dysfunctional neoliberal arrangement in many ways. The SSC aims to ‘reinvent’ the University and transform the scholars’ relationship to knowledge in order to insert their own experiences into theoretical knowledges that aim to emancipate them as active change agents. The SSC engenders provocations, conversations and discussions that enliven the notion that all those who are involved in active knowledge work should become (co-) producers of knowledge. Two of the (student) scholars and an academic from Lincoln will be visiting the Anarchist Research Group to talk about the centre and their experiences studying there.

In this session, we would like to tell you a little about our experiences with the SSC and then invite a discussion on the SSC, self-organised education and the relationships between education, learning, and social change.
The Social Science Centre provides free public higher education in the city of Lincoln and emphasises the collective and collaborative nature of education. The Centre was opened in 2011 by academics and students and Lincoln residents who feel passionately that those wishing to study higher education should not have to take on the burden of debt. There is no fee to pay when joining the Centre, only what you can afford. Free also means freedom to study outside of the current disciplinary structures of higher education around topics and issues that are of direct concern to you and your local community.

Anarchist Research Group Website: 

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