Thursday, 25 November 2010

The Scene of Teaching

This was the "Scene of Teaching" at the University of Leeds on Wednesday November 24th 2010:

I shot this video outside the Parkinson Steps. I think the students were coming up from the other institutions south of Leeds uni - Leeds Metropolitan University and also the other colleges on the edge of the city - to tie up with the University of Leeds students.

When I entered the Ziff building I overheard a security guard saying a building had been occupied. While we were in there, a lock-down started and after finishing our coffee we had to leave via the fire exit which was manned by campus security.

The "Scene of Teaching" reference above is from a chapter on Bill Readings 1996 book The University in Ruins. This is part of the opening of the chapter:

The replacement of culture by the discourse of excellence is the University's response to 1968. In the face of student critiques of the contradiction between the University's claim to be a guardian of culture and its growing commitment to bureaucracy, the University has progressively abandoned its cultural claim. Forced to describe itself as either a bureaucratic-administrative or an idealistic institution, it chose the former. And consequently there is no way back to 1968: a repetition of the radical postures of the late 1960s is not adequate to resist the discourse of excellence. This is because the discourse of excellence can incorporate campus radicalism as proof of the excellence of campus life or of student commitment...

Well, I hope Readings is wrong, but I feel he's probably right. Capitalisms skill in re-routing desires back into the main system has historically been the sign of its success.

Relates websites:
The University of Leeds
May 1968
The University in Ruins

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