(some) statement(s) on education

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11/01/24

Systems, processes, structures, places, people. We are adrift amidst an urban(ised) modernity, and no – this isn’t some kind of deep philosophy, we’re just in it. Yet, like the flow of a river, we drift and (are) move(d) through twists and turns. Yet we drift off course every. single. time., then, a better path seems to emerge, and as though it never was we drift off course again. Why? I know the answer – or at least my academic brain jumps in with structural and agentive terms to explain (away) the problems. How do we move forward, backward, sideways, educate, learn, find the horizon? Create new terrain, subsume what stands proud, remap, restructure, revamp ways of working (ever for the capitalist), build new inside the bones of the old, ‘think different’. Can we outthink our epistemology? Those militant neoliberal individualists seem not to worry about these kinds of questions. Maybe they’re happier than us. Higher education assumes that if you want to ‘be here’ you must want to belong – not like there’s any kind of social expectation for, at least certain classes, to participate in education, eh? But I’m here for something different. I think the system needs to go, it’s outlived its usefulness, and I never agreed with its function or form in the first place. Radicalise, reinvent, reassert. But are these constructive forces? Instead we need to find, or create space, for collective and collaborative (liberation). The collective, collaborative, in relation, in connection, considered and centred... we throw it all away at the first sign of individual advancement – they say it’s led paint, or big amygdalas, or something. I say it’s the death throes of a manufactured system which is hellbent on reproduction and assertion of itself. A system which has been corrupt and broken since it was invented. Let’s have the dialogue that enables radical action, not more conformity and complicity in this broken world. Then we can revisit the purpose of education and what learning/teaching might mean in this context.

02/04/23

Students search for knowledge as though they are prepared as empty vessels to be filled, yet the only guidance I seek to provide comes through meaningful relationships and negotiated outcomes. This world is not what I imagined Academia to be; rather a production line hellbent on fast outcomes. Timelines, assessment, ‘job readiness’: functions of accelerated capitalism; not productive human empowerment and cultural transformation. Together we ponder what small change might be made to this or that which could create the ‘maximum impact’. The ripples of this echo across curriculum throughout the institution, and while changes may be inspired, action is rarely achieved. Except, of course, in the hustle and bustle of projectification. Someone has KPIs to meet, somewhy. Yet, not lamenting the never achieved. Instead, together, we toil to subvert expectations, appearing as one thing, acting as another. We open ourselves to space for meaningful relationships and we tirelessly seek to create opportunity for those whom it has not been offered, or from whom it has been ripped. Metamorphosing of process, toppling of history, and slow fettering and fastening of connections, we charge headlong towards a precipice of earth shaking - bedrock devastating - transformative possibility. A new way forward all together that offers just a little hope in the rambling dystopia we share. Nevertheless, the greatest moments from which I have learned were humbling. Called always to listen, understand and pay deference; now with small power and great responsibility I see us move collectively towards a world where everyone is heard and a real revolution of soul and spirit may still be felt; there is time, and there is humanity.