RiCES activities (Spring/Summer 2017)

Workshop on Co-operative Leadership in Higher Education
25 May, 10:00am–12:00pm, UL111

All academic and professional services staff and students are invited to a workshop on co-operative leadership in higher education. It is part of a project which explores the extent to which co-operative leadership and other co-operative practices are present in higher education institutions. The purpose of the research is to develop a qualitative self-evaluation tool that university staff and students can use to enhance and develop co-operative leadership and other co-operative practices in their workplaces and in other aspects of student life.

For more information, please see

Pedagogies of Inclusion and Equality in the Performative Society
7 June, 12:30–1:30pm, DCB1107
Conversation and workshop planning

What does it mean to educate for inclusion and equality in the performative society? More than ten years after Stephen Ball published his seminal paper ‘The teacher’s soul and the terrors of performativity’, teachers in English schools, colleges and universities are struggling not ‘to set aside personal beliefs and commitments and live an existence of calculation’ within systems of marketisation, managerialism and accountability. Yet while this is a shared struggle with personal and social consequences, there are few spaces in which teachers can collectively share their unspoken knowledges, develop critical understandings about the conditions of their work, learn about trends in today’s progressive education movements, develop effective strategies of resistance to the marketisation of education, and imagine alternative educational futures. Such space is urgently needed, particularly by those who are working the with children, young people and adults whom ‘the market’ most devalues, damages and excludes. The aim of this conversation is to make a start on creating it.

If you are working in this field, please join us to share your research and help us design a workshop for educators! Bring your own lunch! For more information, contact Sarah Amsler (

Scholarship in societies of control: understanding and resisting the ‘data university’
28 June, 1:00–2:00pm, DCB1107
Part of our ‘Readings in Critical University Studies’ series 
Reading group. Everyone is welcome.

Reading: The Analogue University (2017) ‘Control, resistance and the “data university”: towards a third-wave critique’,, 31 March,

Writer–reader forum
19 July, 12:00–2:00pm, UL111
Peer development of writing in progress

This is a peer reading and writing forum designed for postgraduate students and early career researchers who wish to develop their scholarly writing practices through sharing and critique. Run by the Research in Critical Education Studies group, the general focus of these fora is writing research critically; however, the specific theme of each forum will be determined by the work and needs of the author(s) sharing on that day.

The writer-reader forum works in the following way. Each person sharing will read an excerpt of their work out loud and/or distribute a section of work to the group to read, and identify a specific writing question or problem they would like to explore in the piece. This should take between ten and fifteen minutes. The group then offers constructive feedback relating to this question. Following this, we will discuss strategies for addressing the issue more generally.

To submit work for sharing and discussion in July’s forum, please send a text of no more than 1500 words to Sarah Amsler ( with a brief explanation of the issue you would like to develop.

RiCES seminars (Autumn 2015)

“Crises, Commodities and Education: Disruptions, Eruptions, Interruptions and Ruptures” (Dr Glenn Rikowski, Independent Scholar)

Thursday November 19th 1.30-4pm in room BH1201:

After a brief analysis of the concept of crisis (drawing on the work of Roitman, 2014) and following an outline and critique of some previous work (Rikowski, 2014) – on the Classical Theory of Education Crisis (in the light of Sarup, 1982) and philosophical perspectives on education crises – Rikowski explores the notion of crisis in relation to phenomena pertaining to the social forms of capitalist education. Starting out from Marx’s analysis of the ‘two great classes of commodities’ (following Adam Smith), Rikowski charts what ‘crisis’ might mean, and could be, in terms of the two commodity forms pertaining to educational processes in capitalist society. The final part of the paper explores actual and possible empirical manifestations of these crises of the commodity form in terms of the notions of disruption, eruption, interruption and rupture. It is argued that last two of these forms of crisis pose particular problems for the continuance and development of capitalism in general and the national capital and capitalist education in particular.

Social Movements, Popular Education and Universities: A Proposal for an International Network (Dr Paolo Vittoria, Senior Lecturer in “Philosophy of Education” and “Popular Education and Social Movements” at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Campus of Human Sciences and Philosophy, Faculty of Education, Department of Education, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).)

Thursday October 15th 1.30-4pm in room JBL2C04

The neo-liberal educational model presents, in its market-driven paradigm, renewed forms of repression: what we could call, in Freirean terms, as “culture of silence”. How can we break the “culture of silence”? How can we build a critical culture of social relationships?

Worldwide social movements, political and academic groups are working to develop a critical culture based on dialogue and actions of resistance against neo-liberalism, creating spaces of teaching and learning that are no longer based on competitive skills, but instead, focused on creative, collective and participatory experiences of popular education. The scope of this article is to investigate the role of popular education in experiences and policies of resistance, highlighting social movements and academic groups that, mainly in Latin America, defend the human right of people to create their own words, images and dreams. With this scope, I present in the seminar the experience of “Permanent Forum of Social Movement, Popular Education and Universities” that we are developing in Rio de Janeiro and the proposal of an international network with social movements and groups of popular education in Europe.

“Another School is Possible: Neoliberal Crisis, Popular Protest and the Rise of Cooperative Schooling in Argentina” (Dr. Kai Heidemann, Lecturer of Sociology, Maastricht University, Netherlands)

Thursday October 8th 1.30-4pm in room VH0001:

What explains the rapid rise of a community-based co-operative schooling movement in Argentina in recent years? What is this movement about? Where is it going? Moreover, how might cooperative schooling in Argentina be related to other social movements and educational projects in other parts of the world? In this talk, Dr. Kai Heidemann offers a sociological perspective on the emergence and expansion of cooperative schools in the urban setting of Buenos Aires. Drawing from a multi-year research project, Dr. Heidemann tells the story of how a small but influential network of grassroots actors worked to bring the cooperative schooling movement to life from within a situation of massive politico-economic crisis and widespread public protest during the early 2000s.

RiCES seminars (Spring/Summer 2015)

Book launch
The Education of Radical Democracy, Dr. Sarah Amsler
29 June 2015, 2:00-3:00pm, MC0025

For details, see

Reading group
‘The future of the profession: A research afternoon on university political economy’
18 June 2015, 1:00-4:00pm, Business and Law building 1103

This seminar aims to be a lively discussion about university political economy through a reflection on its contemporary conditions and a reading of Jacques Derrida’s ‘The future of the profession or the university without condition (thanks to the “Humanities”, what could take place tomorrow)’ (1998).

It is free and open to all, but places are limited. Please register your interest with Sarah Amsler (

Reading group
Houman Harouni’s ‘A Question of Silence”: Why We Don’t Read Or Write About Education’ (2013)
11 June 2015, 2:30-4:00pm, Business and Law building 2010

‘Educationalists present schooling as being in a constant state of crisis. Ignoring for a second the obvious fact that without a crisis most educationalists would be out of a job—i.e., closing our eyes to their vested interest in the problem’s persistence—what does this crisis consist of? Apparently, the failure of schools to do what they are supposed to do. But what are they supposed to do? What is their purpose? And why should we stand behind their purpose? This is the line of inquiry that—can you believe it—is ignored…’

Unpacking the ‘transnational associations of capitals’ in global higher education: rankings and the subsumption of academic labour under academic publishing capital (Krystian Szadkowski, Adam Mickiewicz University)

3 June | 12:30–2:00pm | Minerva Building 3202           

This presentation explores the concept of ‘transnational association of capitals’ in the context of higher education (Hall, 2014; Ball, 2012). The focus will be on the conditions and consequences of the expansion of merchant capital (or capital involved in circulation), limited to large and quasi-monopolistic academic publishers. The claim behind this talk is that in order to grasp the specificity of the process of subsumption of academic labour under academic publishing capital, it is not enough to focus exclusively on proprietary relations (i.e. expropriation, enclosures, primitive accumulation, alienation). Such an analysis, although providing extremely rich material, has its limitations: capital may opt out from the private property form and ownership, but will never give up domination. The tool of capitalist domination and control, in all sectors of production, even immaterial and biopolitical, is measure. For this reason, this presentation will focus on the functionality of the capitalist mechanisms of establishing measures for the expansion of academic publishers’ capital based on the subsumption of global academic labour.

Decolonizing universities, decolonizing politics: Place-based education in the Canadian Arctic (Darcy Leigh, University of Edinburgh)

21 May | 2:30–4:30pm | Minerva Building 3203

Formal education in Canada has been a central tool of colonial assimilation. It has, crucially, been used to govern political actors and action as liberal and state-based. Today, education is a key site of anti-colonial and Indigenous struggles and of interventions into the meaning of politics itself. This talk will focus on two anti-colonial higher education projects in the Canadian Arctic. Both are using place-based pedagogy and both are combining different forms of knowledge and politics in an Arctic setting. The Akitsiraq Law School combines Inuit law with Canadian common law, while Dechinta University combines book learning with experiential learning in the bush. Both projects are claiming the authority, legitimacy and resources of ‘conventional’ universities and liberal logics of politics. Yet at the same time the projects are refusing and reworking those same logics of politics and education, as well as developing and practicing alternatives. The talk addresses how these projects are using place-based education to navigate these tensions and to decolonize both politics and education in the Canadian Arctic.

For further details and related resources, see here.

Reading group
Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy in Process: The Letters from Guinea Bissau (1975)
7 May 2015, 2:30-4:00pm, Minerva Building 3201

Taylor (1993) argues it is important to read Paulo Freire’s work in the context in which he was operating, rather than as a set of abstract ideas (e.g., conscientisation, grounded mainly in western philosophical discourses). Pedagogy in Process presents a revealing case of Freire’s theoretical approach to literary education, set in a particular context, Guinea-Bissau. It is based on his relationship with the revolutionary leader Amilcar Cabral, and Freire’s own developing understanding of Karl Marx’s social theory. The session will explore a Marxist reading of Freire’s work, supported by reference to some of Freire’s other books, including Education: the Practice of FreedomPedagogy of the Oppressed, Pedagogy of Hope and a commentary on Freire’s work in Chile by Robert Austin. This reading is set against recent interpretations of Freire that focus on his postmodernism (Irwin 2012). We will consider throughout what this reading says about  what education is for and whom and why, and what counts as ‘valued knowledge’.

Austin, P. ( 2003) The State, Literacy and Popular Education in Chile 1964-1990, Lexington;  Irwin, J. (2012) Paulo Freire’s Philosophy of Education: Origins, Developments, Impacts & Legacies, Continuum; Taylor, P.V. (1993) The Texts of Paulo Friere, Open University Press.

Contact Sarah Amsler for the reading (