Lensbased invites you to an online seminar with Susan Kelly from Goldsmiths University of London

‘Financialisation, Micro-politics and the post-Covid University’
12.01.2021, 13:30

“An informal session to discuss the intensification of financialisation processes in UK universities since Covid crisis, using Goldsmiths as a case study. The Covid-19 pandemic has pushed already fragile marketised universities in the UK to the brink of bankruptcy. After the withdrawal of funding for all arts and humanities study in 2010, many universities in England have become entirely dependent on student fees (and therefore debt) as well as income from real estate such a student accommodation to fund education and research. Competition between institutions, customer satisfaction and the ‘student experience’ have become watchwords of the sector, staff have become increasingly precarious and overworked. When the Covid crisis hit in March 2020 this process was accelerated. The right wing Tory government announced in July a new government ‘restructuring arm’ for universities who fall into financial trouble: loans on the condition of closing ‘low value degrees’ and of ensuring ‘free speech’ on campuses. The mendacity of this ‘offer’ was matched by the luring of students back to campuses in September 2020 with the promise of ‘blended online and face to face learning’, with many students forced almost immediately to quarantine for weeks in student accommodation policed by often over-zealous security guards. It became clear to many that the promise of beginning university life with all of its sociality was a lie, perpetuated to ensure fees were paid and rent contracts signed to keep the sector afloat. Staff, students have been stitched into this new arrangement in a variety of ways that make imagining resistance and autonomy incredibly difficult. Yet, resistance is brewing, building on many years of staff-student solidarity, creativity and refusal to accept that this is as good as it gets. In the session we will be joined by current final year BA Fine Art students who built a student strike hub in the 2019-20 staff strikes and who are currently working on a documentary about resistance to the destruction of art schools and university education in the UK. We can discuss how these alliances can work and how we kick the banks off campus and reclaim education as a common good.”

The seminar will be live-streamed on Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/lensbasedclass

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