Skip navigation

Tag Archives: Academics

Alternative & Sustainable Universities

SUSTAINING ALTERNATIVE UNIVERSITIES

UK Free University Network (FUN)

Sustaining Alternative Universities

Collaborative Research Conference

1–2 December 2012

Oxford, UK

 

They will admit that little is to be expected from present-day governments, since these live and act according to a murderous code. Hope remains only in the most difficult task of all: to reconsider everything from the ground up, so as to shape a living society inside a dying society. [People] must therefore, as individuals, draw up among themselves, within frontiers and across them, a new social contract which will unite them according to more reasonable principles.’ (Albert Camus, ‘Neither victim nor executioner’, 1946)

Following on from the inaugural meeting of the UK Free University Network held in early 2012, we are calling out to representatives of all free universities and to all those who wish to participate in a conference with a more focused objective.

In recent years, we have witnessed the accelerated neoliberal capitalist colonisation of the university. In the UK (and far beyond) many students are now priced out of higher education and the academic finds him/herself subservient to the logic and interests of capital. In response to this intolerable reality, many groups of scholars, students, and others have come together independently to create alternative, ‘free’ universities.

The ‘Sustaining Alternative Universities’ conference, as a space for coordinating research and sharing knowledge and experience, seeks to support these projects in taking further decisive steps towards the creation of a national movement of individuals and organisations dedicated to the construction and development of alternative democratic, critical, and ultimately sustainable higher education communities.

 

Sustainability: history, dialogue, and practice

The successes of this movement hinge on its sustainability. ‘How can we build, develop, and maintain truly sustainable educational communities outside the existing institutional frameworks?’ is the question upon which our collective investigations and discussions should be founded. Therefore, our collective task is to conceptualise, research, imagine, and, ultimately, cultivate a sustainable movement based on a network of locally-based, sustainable, free universities. We believe that this conference can help us to successfully undertake this task through a three-step process.

Step one: history. An intrinsic element of building sustainability today must surely be to learn from the history of previous projects of popular, democratic and radical education here in the UK, and beyond. Therefore, we invite representatives of each free university to conduct and present research into the history of these traditions in their specific locality, drawing on their own particular influences. Researchers should keep in mind the practical purpose driving this research and consider issues such as: Who participated in these efforts? How were they structured, organised, and sustained? What was the significance of their historical and spatial context? What lessons can be derived from these efforts for our own endeavours today?

We hope that this shared research effort will allow us to both map out a history of popular / democratic / radical higher education in the UK, and to identify ways these can inform our own current projects. Ultimately, this collaborative research endeavour could also help us trace the roots of our network.

Step two: dialogue. The next step is to engage in dialogue with one another, and with our histories. We need to both imagine our ideals and talk freely and openly about the challenges and obstacles that impede our ambitions and objectives today. We need to name the material, social and subjective conditions that constrain the actualisation of our imagination and hopes. At the conference, we aim to draw on our collective experiences in democratic education to create a supportive, democratic space in which participants feel able to share their thoughts, feelings, and ideas in these areas.

Step three: practice. Finally, we need to take the lessons and ideas derived from our historical research and dialogue and put them into practice. The conference will culminate in a session in which we all make plans for practical action to take things forward on a local and national level.

 

Affinities and collaborations

We invite collaboration and co-operation with all. Beyond the Free University Network itself, we particularly welcome collaboration from members of the following groups:

Academic members of the ‘For a Public University’ working group and Campaign for the Public University. We at FUN have not forsaken the mainstream university, and many of our members are not only academics or students, but also active in defending the public university. We recognise the rich traditions of critical pedagogy within the university and the enduring possibilities of its democratic promise. We welcome contributions from all academics.

Members of the Co-operative Movement. Clearly, the co-operative model of organisation offers much for free universities today to draw on, and at least one in the UK is explicitly organised upon co-operative principles. We welcome members of the Co-operative Movement who might contribute to our historical and contemporary understanding of co-operative education, and/or who would like to build bridges between these two movements.

University workers who are not academics. All too often, non-academic staff working in universities are marginalised within or excluded from these discussions. Their contributions, knowledges, experiences and possibilities are overlooked. We seek to redress this situation and invite all those making invaluable contributions to higher education in ways that are not specifically ‘academic’ to participate in this conference.

Students and all those desiring to learn. Critical pedagogy aspires to break down hierarchical boundaries between students and teachers, and to expand the right of learning to everyone whether they occupy the role of ‘student’ or not. In the democratic universities we envisage, students shape their own learning experiences. We welcome contributions from students, past, present, and future.

All others who share our principles, and who are active in creating alternative institutions in other areas of social life, particularly in education. There is much we can learn from each other.

 

An open, democratic, egalitarian, anti-elitist intellectuality

This is a critical pedagogical and political project. This conference is not intended to be a typical academic conference based exclusively on theoretically dense papers and presentations. There is validity, truth, importance, and profound insight in many other methods and ways of expressing knowledge, and we open our conference and minds to these. We believe that narrative – telling stories – is a particularly important means for reaching the personal and social heart of the obstacles and challenges that confront us in our ambitions to create democratic and sustainable learning communities.

 

Where and when

In the spirit of the Occupy movement, we have decided to host this conference on higher education in Oxford for obvious historical reasons.

We propose that the conference will be held on the weekend of 1–2 December 2012.

We recognise the high cost of transport and accommodation and ask those in a position to do so to offer contributions to help unwaged participants to attend. A system will be created to make this transparent and possible.

 

Impact and output

Only joking!

We want this conference to be the turning point at which we really begin to cultivate a sustainable and flourishing free university movement. We hope you can join us for this conference.

If you are interested in participating in the conference and/or in its planning of and preparation, please contact either Sarah Amsler (samsler@lincoln.ac.uk) or Joel Lazarus (joel_lazarus@hotmail.com). 

We aim to have a coordinating committee established by 13 August.

 

Venue

The location of the conference venue will depend on final numbers. However, what is certain is that this conference’s organisation will be guided by fully inclusive principles. This means a family friendly venue with park/playground nearby and a safe indoor space for children of all ages to play. Childcare duties will not preclude participation at this conference. Equally, we will ensure that the venue is fully accessible and that all dietary requirements are catered for. Please contact us if you have any concerns, ideas, or requests.

 

**END**

 

‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Universities

FOR A PUBLIC UNIVERSITY – CALL FOR PAPERS

Call for Papers – For a Public University

The transformation of Higher Education in the UK is at full speed. The cuts in government funding and the simultaneous increase in tuition fees of up to £9000 per year have dramatic implications. While universities emphasise the need to attract private finance, students are pushed towards courses with direct employment possibilities. At the same time, employers ask for closer co-operation with universities not only in relation to research but also in terms of the development of teaching curricula. The main focus is clear; education should be directed towards business interests in order to strengthen the UK economy.

One outcome is that Higher Education is increasingly commodified as universities exist in the shadow of the market. The space for critical thinking about society has been eroded; students’ ability-to-learn gives way to consumers’ ability-to-pay. Academics have themselves become subject to the charge of irrelevance unless direct policy-relevance is embraced. The critical theoretician is cast adrift as indolent and idle in the race to inform statesmen, to become prophets for science, to make profits for business.

This workshop has the purpose to analyse the underlying dynamics of the transformation of Higher Education in and beyond the UK, to reflect on the social function of Higher Education, as well as develop alternative ways of thinking about how best to deliver Higher Education in the future. The goal is to re-assert ways in which Higher Education can be retained as a public good, available to all.

Papers are invited for the following themes: 

–    Analyses of the current transformation of Higher Education; 

–    Discussions about the social function of Higher Education; and

–    Interventions on how to organise the future of Higher Education.

This one-day workshop is jointly organised by the Local UCU Association at Nottingham University and the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (CSSGJ). It will be held at NottinghamUniversity on Friday, 15 June 2012.

All paper proposals should be sent to Andreas Bieler at Andreas.Bieler@nottingham.ac.uk by no later than Friday, 27 April. 

The maximum number of workshop participants will be 25 people, 10 to 12 paper givers plus additional participants.

People who want to participate without giving a paper should also contact Andreas Bieler at: Andreas.Bieler@nottingham.ac.uk as soon as possible. There is no registration fee and two coffee breaks and lunch are provided free of charge by the organisers.

 

Original source: http://www.historicalmaterialism.org/news/distributed/cfp-for-a-public-university-nottingham-15-june-2012  

 

***END***

 

‘Maximum levels of boredom

Disguised as maximum fun’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Stagnant’ at: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic (recording) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLjxeHvvhJQ (live, at the Belle View pub,Bangor, northWales)  

 

‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkP_Mi5ideo  

‘Cheerful Sin’ – a song by Victor Rikowski: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIbX5aKUjO8

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Online Publications at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=pub&sub=Online%20Publications%20Glenn%20Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/glenn.rikowski

Glenn Rikowski’s MySpace Blog: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski/blog

Social Change

REFLECTIONS ON CONNECTING ACADEMIA WITH PROGRESSIVE SOCIAL CHANGE

The Center for Place, Culture and Politics

Ten Year Anniversary Conference

Reflections on Connecting Academia with Progressive Social Change

Speakers:

LEO PANITCH, Professor of Political Science, York University, Editor, The Socialist Register

SUSAN BUCK-MORSS, Professor of Political Science, CUNY, Author of Thinking Past Terror: Islamism and Critical Theory on the Left (W.W. Norton, 2003)

SUJATHA FERNANDES, Professor of Sociology, CUNY, Author of Who Can Stop the Drums? Urban Social Movements in Chavez’s Venezuela (Duke University Press, 2010)

TIM BRENNAN, Professor of English, University of Minnesota, Author of Secular Devotion: Afro-Latin Music and Imperial Jazz (Verso, 2008)

GILLIAN HART, Professor of Development Studies, UC Berkeley, Author of  Disabling Globalization: Places of Power in Post-Apartheid South Africa (University of California Press, 2002)

JOHN KRINSKY, Professor of Political Science, CUNY, Author of Free Labor: Workfare and the Contested Language of Neoliberalism (University of Chicago Press, 2007)

ROS PETCHESKY, Professor of Political Science, CUNY, Co-author of Sexuality, Health, and Human Rights (Routledge, 2008)

JOHN MORRISSEY, Professor of Geography, National University of Ireland, Author of Negotiating Colonialism (HGRG, Royal Geographical Society, London, 2003)

MIKE MENSER, Professor of Philosophy, CUNY, Co-founder, US Solidarity Economy Network

Please join us in celebrating a decade of critical inquiry, interdisciplinary scholarship, blood, sweat, and beer.

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Panel discussions: 4-5.30 PM & 5.30 – 7 PM

Proshansky Auditorium

CUNY Graduate Center

365 Fifth Ave. @ 34th Street

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

Information for Social Change: http://libr.org/isc

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon at MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Wavering on Ether: http://blog.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Higher Education Crisis

KING’S COLLEGE LONDON STRIKE ON THURSDAY 6th MAY

UCU is seeking a halt to the redundancy process underway at King’s which has seen 164 jobs put at risk.

A major feature of the strike held by UCU members at King’s on 30 March was the solidarity shown by other universities and colleges, and by local workplaces. On Wednesday 5 May higher, further and adult education institutions across London will be on strike. King’s will also be out on strike on Thursday 6 May.

Staff and students at King’s are holding a public meeting to discuss how we can build the resistance underway against education cuts.

King’s blog site: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/unions/ucu

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon at MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Wavering on Ether: http://blog.myspace.com/glennrikowski