The texts below were created by David Ridley through a ‘composting’ process, in which a talk given by Richard Hall on the University at the End of the End of History, based on his book, The Hopeless University: Intellectual Work at the end of The End of History, available to download now from publisher MayFly’s website, as well as the Q&A session following this talk with the Beyond Education editorial collective, was run through (not very good) transcribing software, and arranged in the form of modernist-style poems. Thanks to Richard for being open to having his words mangled like this! (Feature image by Jonathan Kemper on Unsplash).
the pandemic university there is this institution right the University that exists in the face of intersecting crises a hopeless space it offers not redemption for addressing crises of austerity of climate of collapsing in in in in into the nitrogen cycle into ocean acidification the ways in which those issues intersect and reinforce each other the pandemic university is a space for managing risk for developing evidence evidence to manage your rating it’s about risk management about appropriate project management and effectively outsourcing solutions to people who generally look like government regulators government transnational organisations like the World Economic Forum or the World Bank or the IMF making people redundant threatening livelihoods ramping up precarious work complete disregard for care or care complete abdication of duty by institutional leaders for people with caring responsibilities people who are bereaved people who are sick people have long COVID people who don't have a COVID-related illness but are being forced back to work having to overwork unions forced back into local negotiations local branches trying to lobby or negotiate with management quite often from a position of weakness having to build an organising capability whilst also having to manage stuff that's happening
restructuring the political economics of it the governance regulation and funding of it institutions struggling for funding to keep going having to self-report to the office for students to trigger a regulatory requirement based on cash at the bank to go to the Department for Education to have to restructure to have a reproduction of the kind of new public management of efficiency drives of public private partnerships and outsourcing no sense of public education or education as a common good in that space beyond that common good of being human
the alienated academic it's nothing to be asked thank you ever so much and it is nice to common I’d like just make a few points about (Walsall eats his tea) about the heat, the University the hopeless University about intellectual work at the end of the end of history it's kind of it's a bit of a thing the alienated academic I only deal in upbeat kinds of titles my previous thing was about the academic teacher but now also thinking about it in terms of the other work that happens in our institutions that is professional services staff librarians technicians students about how we work effectively becomes alienated about how the things we make become alienated from our relationships from ourselves are you productive enough? are you working hard enough? are you online late at night? are you what your metrics look like? how are you developing your human capital? we become very one dimensional
academic pelotons white saviours white male saviours the kind of high performing overworking male professor or person who demonstrates those kinds of characteristics who then is the one who calibrates the work of others the academic pelotons the high performing over-doping guy who pushes for marginal gains and then and then everyone else gets recalibrated around as an apogee of Lance Armstrong
is this all there is? regulation funding the auger review the role of apprenticeships and skills development the pandemic the universe as well which still lives constant ongoing yellow glow everything is media on screen a nightmare all we want to do is hug right and actually we can't can't get one we are all knackered we we want hugs and we and we want some kind of remission what comes next? face to face told to take leave but our assessment periods are going on till summer what about ref? and what about your career? all of this stuff is utterly exhausting but at the same time we've been told it's it's not only business as usual it’s an acceleration vice chancellors are saying ohh well you affectively undertook a learning and teaching project that should have taken you you know 2-3 years to fully properly implement you guys you guys and girls and girls did it in in whatever you did in what two or three months look at what you could do no taking account of no account of what that means for our own the invasion of work into our own lives and houses and into our own psyches and bodies embodied pain it's all it's all this all this all there is?
no utopias we’re not really interested in blueprints utopias or a series of recommendations for what the University should look like we’re interested in analysing why we are so broken collectively discussing where do we want to walk to next? what do we yearn for? and therefore where are we stepping to next? thinking about education at the level of society being indigenous being decolonial being engaged in movement in this moment composting braiding knowing and doing and being in the world might help us move somewhere that is not simply the reproduction of a world based on economic value
beyond education a dialogue around lived experiences that connects in particular that seeks to reconnect differences we are the differences but don't divide us actually they kind of bring us together we’re unique individuals but actually there are some commonalities in the things the things the things the alienated things that make you feel the whole system is making a seal and I think there's a there's a word there has to be a way in which we kind in which we build solidarity with what's happening in schools what's happening in healthcare and social care what's happening in communities of people being left behind need to open out open out those narratives and give people the opportunity to be kind to be heard amplifying those voices is fundamental is good is beyond education right because it is it is beyond it is it is it is it is the common