Full Length Descriptions

Ongoing:

The Really Open Improvised Art Exhibition
Every revolution of lasting memory has had at its core; art, style, aesthetics and irrational expression are incredibly important to creation of mood and momentum necessary to facilitate social change and should not be overlooked.
The Improvised Art Exhibition provides the most beautiful object of all; a blank canvas to be explored at will. The space to express yourself and create art for the sake of art. Art is not the property of specialists or experts, it is accessible to all: we are all artists and the future is unwritten.
The Really Open Art Exhibition will be an outdoor gallery of art pieces created spontaneously by anybody with the inclination to do so. The theme for the exhibition is “Alienation”. Paints and paper will be supplied along with a suitable area to compose a piece for the gallery. Submissions to the gallery are to be created and collected on Wednesday 24th November, with open viewings continuing throughout Thursday 25th and Friday 26th.
Proposed location for the Really Open Improvised Art Exhibition: opposite the entrance of Edward Boyle Library.

Wednesday:

Opening event w/ Mikael Arfur
Wednesday, 3-5pm, Roger Stevens LT 22

The Really Open University & Mikael Arfur open the ‘Reimagine the University’ event! Join us

There is Power in a Union
Wednesday, 6pm, ARC Mt. Room 2
As lives come under attack from the cuts in education and welfare it is becoming more and more essential that we as workers mount a good defence. The means of this defence has historically been the unions, but we see a situation today where at their time of need the unions are at their most divided and weak.
It is time to reject the divide-and-rule techniques at work in education. All workers who work in or for the university whether directly or indirectly should be considered workers in the education industry, and should organise in this way. The lecturers, the support staff, the site staff and the students are all under threat for the same reasons and from the same source.
We need united and effective unionism in education, without it there can be no reimagined university.

Calais S’Informer
Wednesday, 6pm, Peanut Gallery, LUU
Are you aware that asylum seekers waiting to enter the UK are:
– Forced to live in appalling conditions since Red Cross support has been removed.
– Subject to regular raids and distress from the French police.

Join STAR (Student Action for Refugees) and French Society for short films and talks
about Calais. Come and learn more about the humanitarian crisis being propagated by the French &
English Governments.
Leeds Student Action For Refugees in conjunction with the LUU French Soc presents a series of short films about the plight facing refugees at Calais.

Claire Henly, a former student of French at Leeds will share her experience of volunteering in Calais in 2008/2009.
We are in the process of confirming other speakers for the event.

As a new generation it is vital that students have a positive attitude towards refugees, asylum seekers and displaced people, so we hope you can come and open your eyes to this often overlooked issue.

Gainful Unemployment
Wednesday, 5.30-7.30pm, Packhorse Pub, Upstairsackhorse Pub, Upstairs
“Economic utility is not the measure of who we are or who we want to become.”
A skills share workshop exploring unemployment options and practical suggestions for using our talents outside of the workplace.

Planned or unplanned, taking time out can be challenging. Talking about it shouldn’t be taboo, especially as we face the highest graduate unemployment rates in recent memory. The narrowing focus on employability at every level of education leaves us ill-prepared for the alternatives, while politicians trade on misleading stereotypes of what we (don’t) do with our time. Whether you’re a recent graduate, seasoned un-employee or curious student, join us for a myth-busting session in the Packhorse Pub as we share success stories defined in our own terms and re-imagine the ways we put our knowledge, talents and time to use.

Beyond Commodified Education
Wednesday, 6-8pm, Broadcasting House CCBPA312
This workshop seeks to question what a university could and should be for.

Challenging assumptions such as the current emphasis on so called ‘employability skills’, the compartmentalised nature of subject areas, and a general educational model which prepares students from age 5 for a 9-5 work day, we will be discussing both alternatives to our current universities and in a wider context, alternatives to our entire education system.

Starting points for discussion could (will probably) include

· The relationship between education and the overall ideology of society

· How to achieve a less hierarchical environment and a more equal ownership of the learning process

· A re-evaluation of the disciplinary, narrow focus on subject specific classes and learning

· How to move away from narrow methods (written, spoken) to express understanding, synthesis ideas and generate knowledge

· How to make education overall more accessible and focussed on community

· A comparison between both historical and non-western models and our current education system

Thursday:

Women and the Cuts
Thursday, 12-1p,m, ARC Mt. Room 2
How exactly do the education cuts affect women. In this workshop we will be exploring why it is that the goverment’s cuts strategically undermine women and serve to push women’s social, economic and political equality backwards. A chance do discover why the cuts have specific conciquences to gender roles.

Student as Producer – Reinventing the Undergraduate Curriculum, or, how do revolutionary teachers teach
Thursday, 1-3pm, ARC Mt.Room 2 [CHANGE FROM ADVERTISED TIME]

The purpose of this workshop is to present the way in which the University of Lincoln is reinventing its curriculum around ideas derived from radical and critical pedagogical traditions. The slogan for this redesign of the curriculum is Student is Producer, which is inspired by Walter Benjamin’s paper presented to the Anti-Fascist Committee in 1934, the Author as Producer. The key to this re-imagining of Lincoln’s curriculum is the conscious attempt to see undergraduate students as part of the academic project of the university and to design the curriculum accordingly. This means more research and research-like activity at all stages of the undergraduate degree as well as involving students in the design and delivery of courses, supported by their academic tutors. This project is funded by a grant from the Higher Education Academy of £200k for the next three years.

After a short presentation, I would like to instigate a critical discussion about the project, looking at its strengths and weaknesses and how it might be further developed at Lincoln and elsewhere.

For those who would like to read more about the project please see studentasproducer.lincoln.ac.uk. Embedded in the website are a number of related publications that I have written with friends and colleague that you might like to read. These include:

Pedagogy of Excess: An alternative Political Economy of Student Life – studentasproducer.lincoln.ac.uk/2010/10…

Student as Producer: a pedagogy for the avant-garde, or, how do revolutionary teachers teach – learningexchange.westminster.ac.uk/inde…

Student as Producer – Reinventing the Undergraduate Curriculum – eprints.lincoln.ac.uk/1675

I would be grateful if those attending could suggest further reading and/or practical examples of similar initiatives that might enable us to develop this work.

What roles does popular education play in transforming the university?
Thursday, 3-4pm, ARC Mt. Room 2

At its heart, popular education is about promoting education as a practice of freedom that promotes social transformation.  The workshop will look at the origins and some of the tools and techniques of popular education and how they can be used to transform our university. See trapese.org. http://www.handbookforchange.org

Pecha Kucha or Quick-Fire Learning
Thursday, 5-7pm, Geography Lecture Theatre.

In this event each participant will have 6 minutes 40 seconds (20 seconds per slide for 20 Powerpoint slides) to talk on a topic of their choice. It could be an interesting fact, a paper or book you’ve read, a hobby, a cause or anything else you can say in just over five minutes.

Pecha Kucha is Japanese for chatter. This workshop is about sharing ideas with other people on an equal footing based on the idea that learning is an act of intellectual fraternity not something to be administered by an aloof authority figure.

So We Stand: Action Planning and Training – Effective action against cuts
Thursday, 5-8pm, ARC Met Room 2 [CHANGE FROM ADVERTISED TIME]

Who are the targets? What would effective direct action look like? What are the pressure points? How can we support direct action?
These are the questions we will be trying to answer through a skill share session that is aimed at those who believe in people power and those who are not willing to be trampled all over by the government.
Come along to learn and also plan together for some rowdy action.

Graffiti Stenciling: How to do it and how we can use them in the education struggle and elsewhere
Thursday 6pm, Meet at the central space

From Bristol to Buenos Aires stencil grafitti has been used to subvert mechanisms of control and communicate ideas through an unauthorised medium. They have the ability to draw attention to radical ideas whilst been quick, cheap and requiring little skill. Learn how to create stencils and ask how they can be used in the education struggle and elsewhere.

Italian Wave
Friday, 11-12pm, ARC Mt. Room 2

During the last ten years, in Italy, we have had a lot of bad attempts to reform the education systems and, as a consequence, a strong upsurge against that. Both students and professors have been trying to defend their school system whose need for an improvement was addressed with nothing but a shameful attack.

On one hand there was a University`s system reform, that, according with European guidelines (the so-called “Bologna process”), has introduced the 3+2 system; later more changes were applied with the intention to put the education systems under companies’ control, privatizing some services and cutting money for researchers. On the other hand, surely, the substantial reform is the one concerning the school system. The Gelmini reform, the latest of a series of changes, is clearly an attempt to dismantle public education and to disqualify it.

The keyword is cut. The introduction of the single teacher, the increase in class size, the reduction of working hours, the closure of full-time and the outsourcing of many services clearly show that this reform is not based on any clear educational intent, but instead on the idea that education should be private, which means ideological, Catholic, controlled, elite.

What we want is to inform you that students, parents and teachers have struggled in recent years, by reporting about the protests that they have put in place and their claims and achievements.

Making a brief historical overview on the Italian education system, we take our example of how the attack on education is a problem which goes beyond national borders and how the pressures of the company and a certain kind of liberal policies lead to the same problems in all European countries.

To show in depth the contradictions in management education in Italy, we will analyze the example of the University of L’Aquila, the city hit by an earthquake in 2009, and of the struggles carried out by high school students in recent years.

We think this might be an interesting comparison, to better understand how students need to make a move to claim a high-quality public education. Education should be not serving money and the capitalist system, but it should ground a Really Open University.

The Logic of Occupation
Friday, ARC Mt. Room 2

Throughout history, and all over the world, people have reclaimed space by taking it, occupying it and putting it to use for ends other than those dictated by capitalism… from the Paris and Shanghai Communes to Reclaim the Streets parties, Guerrilla Gardening and autonomous social centres. Recently we have seen a resurgence of occupations on university campuses across the UK, as well as a large number of university occupations across the U.S and Europe. In addition to these edu-conflicts, occupation is once again being deployed as a tool within workplace and community struggles, for example the Vestas and Visteon disputes and Lewisham and Glasgow nursery struggles.
At this event we will discussing the political importance of seizing space and reclaiming it for our own ends. What sort of possibilities do occupations open up for both resistive and affirmative politics? What new connections does reclaimed and occupied space enable?

The University of Utopia
Friday, 3-5pm, Parkinson B.09

The Vice Chancellor for External Academic Affairs at the University of Utopia, invites you to join their institution and develop the university as a social form, transforming the ‘knowledge society’ into the ‘knowing society.’ In this session, we will discuss what this means and how we’ll do it.
See:  http://www.universityofutopia.org/

Pedagogies of Resistance in Latin American Social Movements: What can we learn?
Friday 26th, 3-4 pm Parkinson SR (B.08)

The role of education is increasingly important in the construction of new forms of anti-capitalist politics in Latin America. This is evidenced by the centrality of popular education, and other forms of struggle influenced by radical education philosophy and pedagogy, by social movements in their construction of new forms of participatory politics and mass intellectuality. It is also evidenced in the creation of formal and informal educational programmes, practices and projects that develop varieties of critical pedagogy and popular education with both organised and non-organised marginalised and excluded communities. At the heart of the politicisation of education are the questions of whose knowledge counts in the process of social transformation and political change and if the ways in which such transformative knowledge is created impact upon the struggle to develop worlds beyond capitalism in the 21st century.

The workshop seeks to share and explore some of these experiences with reference to three social movements: the Movimiento de Trabajadores Desocupados de Solano (MTD Solano) of Argentina, the Comite de Tierra Urbana, CTUs of Venezuela and the Movimento de Sem Terra, MST of Brazil.

It aims to open up space to reflect and compare our own experiences or desires for radical education by asking (amongst others) these questions:

What can we learn from these experiences?
How relevant are they for our current situation of de-politicisation yet increasing commercialisation of education?
How do these experiences suggest we might expand our practice and theory of education?

Counter Mapping the University
Friday, 4-6pm, Geography 144

Cartography (map-making) was once the servant of imperialist domination, employed by wealthy merchants and states to scout the shores of future plunder. But today, we’re taking it back. Navigating by way of our daily felt experiences, our political imaginations, and solidarity with all those who would enrich their lives through education, we wish to draw a new map of the university. We wish to chart not only its borders and boundaries, but also the struggles by which those are continually perforated, negotiated, and erased.

By counter-mapping the university, we hope to depict, in stark two-dimensional imagery, where we are (especially in light of the recent cuts and Browne Review), where we came from, and where we wish to go. Drawing on both fact and fantasy, criticism and creativity, this event is dedicated to locating ourselves within the current social and political labyrinth, putting ourselves on the map, and imagining our way out…’

Off with the REF! Markets, regulation, and academic unfreedom:
A short panel session will be followed by a participatory discussion.
Friday 26th, 5-7pm, Geography lecture Theatre

Over the past two decades, the university has increasingly been subjected to ‘metric’ measurement systems in an attempt to improve the standard of teaching and research, and to facilitate comparison between individuals, departments, and universities. The effect of these ‘metrics’ – the most notable of which is the Research Excellence Framework – has been to impose markets and attendant characteristics within the university system.

Academics have become (often unwillingly) preoccupied with ‘meeting-or-beating’ their performance indicators rather than focusing on the qualitative nature of their teaching or research, whilst competition has been prioritized over collaboration at all levels.

This panel and participatory discussion explores how metric systems have been responsible for creating a condition of ‘academic unfreedom’, where teaching and research have come to be dominated by the market rather than any other ideals. We will explore how these metric systems are fundamental to the ‘marketization of the academy’, and begin questioning how else we could hold research and teaching to account.

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