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UfSO at Tent City University, Occupy London, Saturday 12/11/11, 12-1pm

November 11, 2011

UfSO at Tent City University, Occupy London, Saturday 12/11/11, 12-1pm

Towards an (under)common(s) statement for collective study

The UfSO wants to invite you to an open discussion based on the possibilities for a common space of collective study.

On June 18th 2011, the The Free U Resistance Committee issued a statement in response to the Danish Government’s outlawing of autonomous universities, calling for the establishment of free universities everywhere. This call emerged from the background of the valuable work done by the Copenhagen Free University in seeking to critique and question the neoliberal university and the accelerated marketisation of the universities across the world.

In late 2010 the University for Strategic Optimism was set up in response to the material conditions with which we were presented in the UK, in terms of the Government’s neoliberal assault on universities and the public sphere. We have always sought to question and critique this agenda, but we also think that we should question the university itself as it stands as well as the various autonomous responses to it, to critique the critique. Just what is the university we are fighting for anyway? And what perhaps could it be? What are the problems and potential inherent within the university as it exists today, its hierarchies and power-relations, its possible politicisation? What are the pitfalls and possibilities entailed in the autonomous search for collective study? Can a knowledge commons ever be created without effacing important political considerations and the inherent division of labour upon which it rests? Can we build a new university beyond the ruins of the old? Who cares about the university anyway? What does the university even mean? What could it mean?

In the context of this discussion, the wider context of the occupation and the context of the nascent free, autonomous university we find ourselves in, what is there to learn, what is there to study, what is there to question in this appropriation of a common space for collectivity and discussion? We will seek to present a series of short statements, opening them to dialogue, discussion and contradiction, with the aim of bringing and building together some ideas. We do not expect to learn a great deal from any conclusions we arrive at, but rather perhaps to learn from the process of arriving at them.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 11, 2011 6:43 pm

    Excellent! I fully support your proposal for a free university system and would like to consider proposals towards this aim. My understanding is that in France and in Spain, students who meet the academic criteria automatically get a free place (thought most live at home and go to the nearest uni), and continue as long as they meet the standards at end of year exams; one reason that continental European students are ‘boring’! I would be very interested in finding out more about how this works in practice.

    I teach urban regeneration/community engagement periodically, and would be happy to give a free seminar whenever and wherever requested if available.

  2. Heather permalink
    November 12, 2011 12:29 am

    I love this idea and want to take part. Where is it happening? At St Pauls or Finsbury Circus Tent City? Pls reply asap as I will be arranging my working day round it: teaching this Saturday. Cheers.

    • flashbank permalink*
      November 12, 2011 12:32 am

      St Pauls. See you there!

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