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The challenges of resilient learning and the production of a university experience


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The challenges of resilient learning and the production of a university experience

  1. 1. The challenges of resilient learning and the production of a university experience Professor Richard Hall t: @hallymk1 e: w:
  2. 2. UWS Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy • LTAS arises at a time of change and uncertainty in Higher Education generally, and in Scotland in particular. • Accordingly, there is a need to ensure flexibility in the expression and aspirations of LTAS. • Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence: learning styles; curriculum expectations; certificated capabilities; inter- disciplinarity; and social learning. • The economic, social and cultural needs of the communities and colleges served by UWS.
  3. 3. SFC: disruption?
  4. 4. HEA: disruption?
  5. 5. JISC: disruption?
  6. 6. IPPR: BAU
  7. 7. Hope
  8. 8. A strong civil society protects liberty because it diffuses the centres of power. It creates fraternity because it encourages people to work together as neighbours and friends. It promotes equality because it tempers self-help with help to others, and because the help given to others is such as to encourage their participation and eventually independence. Sacks, J. 2000. The Politics of Hope. London: Vintage, p. 137.
  9. 9. Most importantly, civil society constitutes a moral domain, a world of covenants rather than contracts, in which duty, obligation, loyalty and integrity restrain the pursuit of self- interest, in which I learn to value others and win their trust because that is the only way families and communities can be maintained. Sacks, J. 2000. The Politics of Hope. London: Vintage, p. 137.
  10. 10. Resilience: adaptation not BAU “the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganise while undergoing change, so as to retain essentially the same function, structure, identity and feedbacks” Hopkins, R. 2009. Transition Culture: Systemic diversity, modularity, feedback
  11. 11. resilience at scale “we have a choice between reliance on government and its resources, and its approach to command and control, or developing an empowering day-to-day community resilience. Such resilience develops engagement, education, empowerment and encouragement” DEMOS. 2010:
  12. 12. Harvey: seven activity areas that underpin meaningful social change. 1.Technological and organisational forms of production, exchange and consumption. 2.Relations to nature and the environment. 3.Social relations between people. 4.Mental conceptions of the world, embracing knowledges and cultural understandings and beliefs. 5.Labour processes and production of specific goods, geographies, services or affects. 6.Institutional, legal and governmental arrangements. 7.The conduct of daily life that underpins social reproduction. Harvey, D. (2010). The Enigma of Capital and the Crises of Capitalism. London: Profile Books.
  13. 13. Resilient education: what is the role of higher education, the University and the curriculum in a world that is being increasingly disrupted?
  14. 14. Despair
  15. 15. TUC. 2009:
  16. 16.
  17. 17. New system transfers the cost of HE from the taxpayer to graduates themselves Dearden et al. 2010.
  18. 18. Zerohedge (31/5/13):
  19. 19. Zerohedge (31/5/13):
  20. 20. Debt is a way of life. "Anyone put off... university by fear of... debt doesn’t deserve to be at university in the first place“. Michael Gove, quoted at Next Left:
  21. 21. “student debt, in its prevalence and amounts, constitutes a pedagogy, unlike the humanistic lesson that the university traditionally proclaims, of privatization and the market.” Jeffrey J. Williams. 2011. “Tactics against Debt”:
  22. 22. Education markets are one facet of the neoliberal strategy to manage the structural crisis of capitalism by opening the public sector to capital accumulation. The roughly $2.5 trillion global market in education is a rich new arena for capital investment. Lipman, P. 2009:
  23. 23. the logic of 'security' is the logic of an anti- politics in which the state uses 'security' to marginalize all else, most notably the constructive conflicts, the debates and discussions that animate political life, suppressing all before it and dominating political discourse in an entirely reactionary way. Neocleous, M. 2007. Security, Liberty and the Myth of Balance: Towards a Critique of Security Politics. Contemporary Political Theory 6, 131–149.
  24. 24. 1. There is a strong correlation between energy use and GDP. 2. Global energy demand is on the rise yet oil supply is forecast to decline in the next few years. 3. There is no precedent for oil discoveries to make up for the shortfall, nor is there a precedent for efficiencies to relieve demand on this scale. 4. Energy supply looks likely to constrain growth. 5. Global emissions currently exceed the IPCC 'marker' scenario range. The Climate Change Act 2008 has made the -80%/2050 target law, yet this requires a national mobilisation akin to war-time. 6. Probably impossible but could radically change the direction of HE in terms of skills required and spending available. 7. We need to talk about this.
  25. 25. in the most developed and the emerging economies unsustainable consumption must be urgently reduced. This will entail scaling back or radical transformation of damaging material consumption and emissions and the adoption of sustainable technologies. At present, consumption is closely linked to economic models based on growth. Decoupling economic activity from material and environmental throughputs is needed urgently. Changes to the current socio-economic model and institutions are needed to allow both people and the planet to flourish by collaboration as well as competition during this and subsequent centuries. This requires farsighted political leadership concentrating on long term goals. Royal Society. 2012. People and Planet.
  26. 26. more efficiently unsustainable. 33
  27. 27. (You can't run a consumer society on renewable energy) Net Energy/Energy Returned on Energy Invested (EROIE) 34
  28. 28. Ahmed, N. (5 June 2013):
  29. 29. Ahmed, N. (7 June 2013). The Guardian.
  30. 30. “Decoupling economic activity from material and environmental throughputs is needed urgently.” Does this look like capitalism?
  31. 31. OWS May15 and Spain GeziPark and Taksim Square PRISM MENA protests Greece Chile
  32. 32. “At the heart of it all is a new sociological type: the graduate with no future”. Mason, P. 2010. why it is kicking off everywhere
  33. 33. Courage (#solidarity)
  34. 34. A four-point agenda for critical scholarship: 1. a powerful sense of engagement with politics and the political; 2. a consistent belief that there must be better ways of doing things than are currently found in the world; 3. a necessary orientation to a critique of power and exploitation that both blight people’s current lives and stop better ways of doing things from coming into existence; and 4. a constant and unremitting critical reflexivity towards our own practices, no one is allowed to claim that they have the one and only answer or the one and only privileged vantage point. Indeed, to make such a claim is to become a part of the problem. Amin , A ., and Thrift , N . 2005 . What’s left? Just the future. Antipode , 37 , 220– 238.
  35. 35. “make hope possible” by presenting alternative practices and trajectories Williams , R. 1958. Culture and society . Harmondsworth: Penguin.
  36. 36. What can we learn from Cuba?
  37. 37. What is to be done? Critical pedagogy Amsler on the Fearless University Gramsci on organic intellectuals: praxis in context Friere on critical pedagogy: social transformation and emancipation Habermas on legitimation, colonisation, value and participation in a “lifeworld” Holloway on “doing”
  38. 38. What is to be done? Some possibilities* Owenite co-operation Cuban attempts at self-sufficiency Global Swadeshi - The Economics of Permanence The Transitions Movement The autonomous Geographies Collective: participatory action research The EduFactory Collective/The Knowledge Liberation Front The Social Science Centre * I accept that these possibilities are contested and need critique. However, they are alternative examples of action/doing in the world.
  39. 39. an ending of sorts
  40. 40. Towards a curriculum for resilience? • Complexity and increasing uncertainty in the world demands resilience • Integrated and social, rather than a subject-driven • Engaging with uncertainty through projects that involve diverse voices in civil action • Discourses of power – co-governance? • For knowing and not the knowledge economy. For liberating knowledge. • Authentic partnerships, mentoring and enquiry, in method, context, interpretation and action
  41. 41. “only in association with others has each individual the means of cultivating his talents in all directions. Only in a community therefore is personal freedom possible... In a genuine community individuals gain their freedom in and through their association” Bottomore, T.B., and M. Rubel, M. 1974. Karl Marx: Selected Writings in Sociology and Social Philosophy. London: Penguin.
  42. 42. [The Gambler] said, "Son, I've made my life out of readin' people's faces, And knowin' what their cards were by the way they held their eyes. So if you don't mind my sayin', I can see you're out of aces. For a taste of your whiskey I'll give you some advice." So I handed him my bottle and he drank down my last swallow. Then he bummed a cigarette and asked me for a light. And the night got deathly quiet, and his face lost all expression. Said, "If you're gonna play the game, boy, ya gotta learn to play it right. You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, Know when to walk away and know when to run. You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table. There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done. Schlitz, D. 1978. The Gambler.
  43. 43. The challenges of resilient learning and the production of a university experience is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Editor's Notes

  • The phrase, 'more efficiently unsustainable', is borrowed from Bill Rees:
  • Image source: Energy is Everything ( A ratio of less than 5:1 means that around 20% of the economy has to be used for 'energy gathering', compared to around 2.5% for the USA today. Renewables (and nuclear) are less intensive forms of energy than oil, coal and gas. Efficiency gains, even if managed correctly, will not make up for the lower EROEI of renewables.