Warm-up Event

Warm-up event: Workshop: In, Against and Beyond the Neoliberal University (5th of September)

Workshop Leaders: Joyce Canaan (Birmingham City University, UK), Gordon Asher (University of West of Scotland, UK) and Leigh French (The Glasgow School of Art, UK)

Workshop handout, including references is available for download here:
Workshop Handout and References

The workshop consists of a dialogical session in two parts –  with three short ‘provocations’, followed by facilitated critical dialogues in smaller groups.

The provocations will speak to teaching, learning and research in Higher Education from an orientation and commitment to social justice (and both the limitations and opportunities to do so). The provocations will account for experiences in Higher Education as being in dialogue with engagements outwith the academy. In so doing they will draw on traditions of critical pedagogy and popular education.

The facilitated group dialogues will provide an opportunity:

– to meet others;
– to reflect on the provocations and the questions they raise
– to collectively explore our engagements and positionalities in and outwith the university
– to discuss the tensions and contradictions, barriers and limitations, opportunities and possibilities -of working/studying/researching/learning/teaching in contemporary Higher Education
– open up possibilities as to thinking about and doing ‘critical pedagogies’

The workshop poses the questions: How do we act, not only ‘in and against’ the university – but, in speaking to the need to also move ‘beyond’, how do we create and evolve alternative universities and educations (ways of teaching, learning and research)?

Attending the workshop:

Please note that this free warm-up workshop is held on the 5th of September (the day before the symposium). Please indicate whether you will be able to attend this event during your registration.  If you will not be attending the symposium, but would still like to attend the warm-up event, please notify us at criticalpedagogies@ed.ac.uk by 1st of August. Participation is free and open to all, but spaces may be limited so booking in advance is essential. Details on the event, its time and location are available on our schedule.


16:00 – 16:20 Lena and Maja – Welcome and Introduction

Introduction to the Workshop (Gordon Asher)

–        Welcome, Format and Purpose

–        Contexts, Theories and Traditions

Three Provocations and Questions

–        Provocation 1 Joyce Canaan

–        Provocation 2 Leigh French

–        Provocation 3 Gordon Asher

There will be a short space for brief points of clarification after each provocation.

Short Break

Acutely aware of the tight timing of the session, some flexibility has been planned into the session: there will be a decision on the day as to whether to shuffle your groups and have two dialogues (thus meeting more of the other participants) or whether to have a longer engagement with one set of group dialogues.

Facilitated Group Dialogues – One

Facilitated Group Dialogues – Two

18:00 – Drinks and continued dialogues in the pub

Details on workshop leaders:

Joyce Canaan
Our keynote speaker’s biography is available here.

Gordon Asher

Gordon Asher is an activist and cultural worker based in Glasgow. A member of the academic precariat, he works part-time at three Universities, also studying part-time for a PhD ‘Learning and Education in Social Movements/Networks Working for Social Justice in Scotland’.  Amongst other commitments outside the academy, he is one of the co-editors of Variant magazine and as a member of Strickland Distribution has been involved in recent projects – ‘Knowledge is Never Neutral’ and ‘History from Below’.

Leigh French

Leigh French is the principal editor of Variant – a multi-layered publishing project which brings creative practices and public discourse together. This primarily takes the form of Variant magazine: an intentionally free publication, aiming to widen the involvement of a diverse readership in debate, discussion and awareness of the many interconnected cultural and social issues affecting society today. Leigh is currently undertaking a PhD by-practice at The Glasgow School of Art, concerning ‘Curating public discourse under competitive cultural nationalism’, and is also a member of The Strickland Distribution.


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