An Open Invitation to All Students and Staff at Goldsmiths
Tuesday 15 March 2011
5:oo pm – 7:00 pm, NAB 326
The drastic cuts to university funding, tripling of student fees and ongoing ‘restructuring’ of higher education have been accompanied by an insistent language of measurement, evaluation and competition. Intensifying tendencies that we’ve been living with, and enacting, for some years, the university is being formatted as an institution in which the “student-consumer” is asked to rank “service providers”, and where artificially scarce resources are to be allocated according to competitive pressures, in line with principles that are indifferent or antithetical to a transformative conception of learning, and to non-instrumental relationships between those who teach, study and work in universities.
The project that we are trying to build starts from the idea that we can’t allow knowledge about the university to be colonised by student surveys, league tables, and indicators of financial performance. Rather, we should perhaps reflect on how little we know about how the institution works, how power is distributed within it and what the economic, emotional and existential realities of the “student experience” are, including how Goldsmiths relates to its local, national and global environments.
In this workshop we would like to begin this process of collective reflection, dialogue and mapping using it to improvise a participatory project on university life. Come along with your questions, stories and ideas so that we can start to sketch out the experiences of students, teachers and workers who are a part of the College and explore what
other visions and practices of the university we might develop.