This is the third of a trio of posts about the Slow University that started life as presentations in a seminar at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Durham University. In it, guest blogger Ruth Mueller, explores how the compulsion for speed in academia plays out in the lives of postdocs.
This is the second of a trio of posts about the Slow University that started life as presentations in a seminar at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Durham University. In it, Heather argues that some calls for slowing down scholarship mask a conservative politics.
The CelebYouth study is about the role of celebrity stories in structuring young people’s aspirations. Given the fantasy elements in these tales, perhaps we shouldn’t have been surprised when fairy tales and superheroes came up as our participants asked whether Cinderella, Beauty Belle and Batman were celebrities. In this guest blog post, Sir George Monoux College student, Mahreen Safdar, talks about the significance of fairy tales in her own life.
This is the first of a trio of posts about the Slow University that started life as presentations in a seminar at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Durham University. In it, guest blogger Luke Martell, argues that we shouldn’t fetishise speed at the fast university. This distracts from what’s behind it. And we should ask whether slow is what the slow university’s really about.
Our intention for this project is that it has genuine relevence beyond our academic communities; that the findings can be useful to those people working with young people or on issues that affect their lives – from education policymakers to youth and education practitioners. As a team, we’ve written critically about how we are positioned in relation to the ‘impact agenda’ and the challenges we’ve encountered in communicating our research to the media and policy communities. However, we have enjoyed and benefited from productive and generative conversations with practitioners who have engaged with the research – from teachers who have supported us on Twitter and came to hear our talk at the Media Education Association, to careers educators who attended our workshop at the CDI conference, and the many practitioners from across teaching, careers and youth work who came along to our interim workshop in October. One participant at the workshop was Tania de St Croix – a researcher, campaigner and youth worker. In this guest blog post, Tania shares her thoughts on our emerging findings and the challenges in making these meaningful and useful to those working with youth in times that are challenging for both young people and the sector itself.
In July, we submitted a proposal for a symposium at the 2014 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Conference. We know it’s big and corporate, so not exactly our ideal conference, but Laura went last year and enjoyed it so we thought we’d give it a go, plus we’d found some lovely colleagues to work with and secretly, wanted an excuse to visit Philadelphia. We’ve just been rejected. This is our first, but I’m sure not our last CelebYouth rejection. Rejections are a massive part of academic life. Yet we rarely talk about them. It’s as if they’re individual sources of shame to be hidden, rather than part of the collective practices through which we build our professional communities, things that need to be shared and debated in the open. In this post Heather reflects on our AERA rejection and what it says about educational research conferences.
The last week has seen first John Major and now David Cameron lamenting the lack of social mobility within UK society. Both have argued that what is needed to promote social mobility is for young people to work harder and have higher aspirations. As with so much government rhetoric, they paint a picture of UK youth simply not aiming high enough. Young people’s voices, as ever, have been missing from these recent pronouncements. In this post Laura argues that if Cameron spent more time listening to young people, he would discover that it is not their aspirations which are at fault.
The demand from our universities, our funders and our government that our research impact on society by changing policy and practice, has brought researchers into ever-greater contact with an increasing-variety of ‘non-academic users’. This raises tensions. In another post, Heather discussed how our research got lost in translation between us, as researchers, and a journalist. In this post, she looks at how we’ve found that we have a different conception of evidence than that which predominates among policymakers.
One is not born, but rather one becomes a woman – Simone de Beauvoir, 1953
This well-known assertion of Simone de Beauvoir, pointing toward the social and cultural mores that form and regulate an individual as a ‘woman’, is especially apt in light of the controversy surrounding the finalists of BBC2’s Great British Bake Off. The three female finalists have been variously castigated for being too miserable, too opinionated, too confident and too feminine. The repeated characterisations of the women in terms of inflexible, binary gender roles, alongside the criticisms of them for either failing to live up to these or – bizarrely – for adhering to them too closely, invites further analysis of the presentation of womanliness and femininity in the media. Moreover, the presence in the criticism of underlying suspicions regarding the race and class status of the women finalists demonstrates the increasing need for more fine-grained examinations of how we approach the still-troubling and troublesome category of ‘woman’. In this co-authored blog post, CelebYouth’s Kim and guest blogger Sarah Burton discuss the relationship between the structural context of GBBO and the individual presentations of gender therein, with a particular focus on the interactions between media, Britishness and public space.
- Dr Anita Biressi (Reader in Media Cultures, Roehampton University) and Professor Heather Nunn (Professor of Culture and Politics, Roehampton University)
- Professor Rob MacDonald (Professor of Sociology/ Deputy Director – Social Futures Institute, Teeside University)
- Geeta Ludhra (Lecturer in Education, Brunel University)
- Bim Adewunmi (journalist and blogger specialising in popular culture, feminism and race: http://www.yorubagirldancing.com/)
- Camilla Stanger (teacher and doctoral student at Goldsmiths, University of London)
- Justin Hancock (sex educator and youth worker http://bishuk.com )