Discourses & Debates

Conversation with Dr Christopher Knaus about hope and oppression in higher education

Chris and I met very briefly at a conference on Diversity and Inclusion in higher education in Paisley (Scotland), presenting during the same slot. He challenged me at the time, and what followed were a number of email exchange between us, which has gradually opened into my being humbled and learning from his rich work in and about the borderlands of higher education. He describes the encounter and his work in his own words below:

I did interrupt you after hearing your lovely South African accent, and then as life would have it, we were actually on the same panel. I was also at that conference with two recently graduated doctoral students who are both higher education practitioners, and so my investment in them is what enabled us to connect in the first place, and your accent I might add was the second interlude.

As to my work, I am continually struggling with how to foster and support community resistance to the global onslaught against women of color, communities of color, and particularly how to do such from within higher education institutions designed to colonise. A decolonial approach seems necessary but insufficient to create and sustain new systems, and so I am increasingly focusing my work in collaboration with those who are not rooted within higher education systems.

The recording above was made during an online conversation in early April 2019. Chris shares insights into his personal motivations for engaging in issues of race, oppression and hope in higher education; and where he sees value for continuing engagement.

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For more about Chris’ work see his institutional profile.  Follow Chris on twitter at @cbkvoice

Conversation with Dr Nompilo Tshuma about criticality in academics’ digital learning

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Nompilo has been working educational technology in both student and staff development since 2005. She currently manages a range of teaching and research technologies in terms of licencing and training. She is also a researcher in educational technology and academic staff development, and is passionate about challenging academics to be critically reflective about their use of educational technology.

I initially met her when we were both participants of a teaching and learning course at Rhodes University in the early 2000’s, and both lecturing in other departments. Years later, we landed up as colleagues at the Centre for Higher Education Research, Teaching and Learning (CHERTL) – and certainly I benefited in my own development through our interactions!

In this interview, we discuss Nompilo’s interest in critical studies in educational technology in higher education. The pic below is taken in her office when she was at Rhodes, during a visit I made meeting with researchers and practitioners within the institution and in Makhanda in September 2018.

You can follow Nompilo at @nompilotshuma

Reference the recording: DZ Belluigi. 2018. Discussion with Dr Nompilo Tshuma. Audio recording. Courtesy of Dr Belluigi.

 

Conversation with Dr Fadia Dakka about rhythm analysis for exploring academic life

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Fadia and I first met in Cambridge, during the third sitting of the then shaping Critical University Studies UK network. During the days there, and later during a conference, we discussed the various concerns we had with research that explores the gaps between experience and representation of academic experience.

In this interview, recorded in December 2018 during the Society for Research in Higher Education annual conference, she discusses her interest in rhythm analysis as a research method.

Follow Fadia on twitter @Fadiax

 

Conversation with Dr Tess Maginess interviewed about her interest in the ‘non-traditional’ student and arts-based adult education

Tess pictureTess and I had an informal conversation about the constructions and approaches she sees as most meaningful to learning; why she believes these are important for higher education now; and areas for future development in research and practice. She is a treasure trove of wisdom for years of operating between and beyond the boundaries of what is seen as legitimate by the academy, which I personally found insightful as a person not from Northern/ Ireland.

Access the video of our conversation here https://youtu.be/Bc8mcPrsqbk

Find out about Tess’ research and teaching at the Queen’s University Belfast repository (https://pure.qub.ac.uk/portal/en/pers…).

 

Conversation with Dr Nandita Banerjee Dhawan

nandita and i inside officeNandita’s interest is in women’s studies, with her research and teaching exploring various institutions, including those of marriage, family, religiosity in India. I initially was introduced to her through a recommendation for a research project, and so we ‘met’ each other virtually, and discussed how we were concerned with similar issues of inequality, and how these might be addressed or at least modelled within higher education.

Nandita and I are embarked on a pilot study related to gender and intersectionality, academic citizenship and agency in South African and Indian higher education in 2019-2020.

In this recorded interview, we discuss her interest in women’s studies. We made this informal recording during her visit to Belfast in November 2018 where she spoke at a seminar I organised at Queen’s University Belfast on Gender and Caste Inequalities in Higher Education in India (see here). The pic above was taken in my office building.

For more on Nandita’s work, see jadvuniv.academia.edu/ND

 

Conversation with Dr Alison Mackenzie about epistemic injustice

Alison Oct 2018Alison has a particular interest in issues of epistemic injustice in education, with her research and teaching spanning a range of different contexts in which injustice and inequality are reproduced and sustained by forms of ignorance. In addition to teaching and researching in higher education institutions in the UK, she has worked at school-level in her homeland Scotland, where she was Head of Social Subjects in a number of secondary schools specialising in Geography and Modern Studies, a uniquely Scottish subject focused on Politics, Sociology, International Relations and Citizenship Studies.

I initially met her when I moved to Northern Ireland, and we discovered we were perplexed and concerned by similar issues.

In this recorded interview, we discuss Alison’s interest in epistemic injustice and epistemologies of ignorance.

 

 

For a video of the interview access it on Youtube here https://youtu.be/mmAm-EhYXgI

For more on Alison’s work, visit her institutional profile at pure.qub.ac.uk/portal/en/persons…95d4d06a5f5).html

Conversation with Dr Grace Ese-Osa Idahosa about academics’ agency for change

Grace has long been researching issues related to higher education. I initially came across her thinking she was reading for her PhD with Louise Vincent at Rhodes University in 2016, and was soon wanting more, particularly in terms of her approaches to conceptualising the individual agency of academics and the developing of the capacity for change. Our paths diverged, but have recently  converged in exploring how we can collaborate in our research interests. She is currently a postgraduate fellow of the Centre for Social Change at the University of Johannesburg. The image below (Grace is on the left) is from September 2018 when I visited that institution during a research trip, and we visited the Soweto campus .

In the interview below from August 2018 in Belfast, we discuss some of her motivations and meanderings.

You can follow Grace on Academia.ed at https://graceidahosa.academia.edu . For an up to date list of her publications visit orcid.org/0000-0002-8950-6651.

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Challenges to situating the artist-student within interpretation

I was honoured to be invited to interact with academics at UAL’s Teaching Platform Series in February 2018. I chose to speak about why I think situating the artist-student is important for assessment in the creative arts, and to highlight how recognizing the challenges is the point of the issue. This post relates to that talk.

While my interests seem diverse – the evaluation of academic staff and its impact on the transformation of HE; assessment in the creative arts – they are both about interpretative frameworks and the power, problematics and possibilities involved in disentangling them. Ultimately both, in the name of safeguarding quality or of measurement, can have an incredible impact to what they effect, to knowledge creation, criticality and challenge, to artmaking and creativity.  But assessment is also about interpretation, experience, engagement with the artefact, with ourselves within the process of making and learning. It remains, true to artmaking, not about finding the solutions of A- and B+, but problematising evaluation and whose authority and interests are served by such judgements being made.

It is well acknowledged that there are a range of interpretative approaches at play when reading, evaluating and critiquing art. What has not been extensively explored, except in psychology around creative genius and other individualistic atomistic approaches, is the impact of criticism on the creativity of the artist – on their artmaking processes, on their practice, on their sense of self. Art theory gives us very little ‘in’ here. And for the most part, even the words ‘creativity’ ‘authenticity’ are passe.

We rely on traditions of art education, from the workshop; guild; salon… to more recent influences of ed dev discourses – teaching and learning – which while very helpful in emphasizing praxis, power, transparency etc, still battle and sometimes compete with our own experiential knowledge as artists – fellow practitioners from the community of practice – of what ‘counts’. We wrestle with these virwpoints, in addition to how art/ design/ criticism act as a discipline jn the academcy or art school, and how make these into criteria or indicators that sit confortably with our roles as artists, researchers, academics, human beings.

Do we let students into this messiness? Can we? Should we?

These quotes, excerpts from students’ narratives, give us a sense of the effects when they do not comprehend the complexity. This is Tessa who admitted to an impoverished capacity for critical reflection of her processes and artefacts:

 But one thing that I never quite figured out, is when someone says ‘yes’ to a work, when they think it’s great and it’s going really well. What I still haven’t figured out is – Why?

And Leonore who, as with many other students, bought into a discourse and idea that art is assessed subjectively, rather than recognizing that frameworks may be relative or localized but that subjectivity in aesthetic judgement doesn’t lie at the level of individual idiosyncrasy but with selection of tradition(s) within which judgements are contextualised.

Art marking is subjective, I really do think it is. But if you want to be an artist, you go to Art School, and get marks. And, yes I think that’s why, you don’t really know. You’re trying to say something with an artwork and – whether or not the lecturers think that it works or not – chances are you actually don’t really know because it may not be out in the public or, I’m not sure, it’s very hard.

Joe was one of the extreme cases who experiences made him ffundamentally question the legitimacy of the academy – which while not a bad thing in itself – in his case, and many others, led to dismissing the value of informed interpretation all together.

After 3 years of listening to dribble from hippy art students try to give meaning to their senseless paint splatter, I now realise it is pointless to attempt to describe what is good art and what is rubbish. In the same way one can’t say for fact what is beautiful and what is ugly. As a result of its subjective nature there is no right or wrong. Ending up with a bubble of people that feel an incessant need to question the idea surrounded by the reality that the vast majority of the population accept their beliefs on the matter through mass media and subconscious advertising. 

Like no other discipline, the creative arts enables students to think, feel and be in the problematic and creative liminal spaces of the academy and in life; of theory and practice; of ideals vs realities. And this is one of the few assessment traditions where interpretations are made in an oral, public nature. I see situating the artist-student as a way in which the problematic of interpretation becomes an educational opportunity – rather than about schooling. It is not, to be clear, about student satisfaction. Nor about studentship. It is also not a pretence of a utopian world where authorship is returned to the artist student to determine the meaning or reading of their work.

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Let me explain by showing u some of my research. This image above relates to the analytical framework I developed to map the interpretative approaches used in assessment – from the sources we reference and focus on – to the nature of the interpretation itself whether referring to external sources or factors from what was presented in the assessment submission (such as the students’ biography, the subject matter etcetera), or only what was included (from artists statement to back up material to the art object itself), to how those aspects operated or figured in different contexts, spaces etcetera and a concern for their effects.

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What I’d like to point out is not what we know from published research and our own experiences – that expectations of our roles in assessment contexts, summative formative etcetera often differ between individuals (as indicated in the slide above) nor that, despite our best attempts at transparent criteria and shared understandings, we differ in what we give value to in our assessments.   Nor what the mapping below shows – that there are factors from outside the current institutional cultures (such as education, our own intentionality as artists of our own works; or as audiences of contemporary art) that influence our approaches to teaching- such as in these two individuals cases, rather it is that the artist is not situated within interpretative approaches. I found that consistently. Actual intentionality is not utilised as a valued reference point for summative assessment discussions.

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Instead supervisors, who students presume know and are invested in the development of their authorship and critical faculties act as mediators between different interests. How does it manifest? While, the majority of staff when acting as assessors use reader-responses or connoisseurs – adopting anti-intentionalist approaches in practice regardless of the person/process/product espoused approach of the art school. And when acting as supervisors? They overwhelmingly act as value maximisers (best reading for that group is propounded); they practice hypothetical intentionality (using licence to re-present aspects of works to suit the current milieu of the assessors).

While all this was going on… What did students, across the geopolitical contexts and different curricula really want? What did they value, over and above the value ascribed by marks and social validation of supervisors they admired/ respected as fellow artists?

Nominal Authenticity – that is, how the work relates to their actual intentionality as the artist; their strategy for how it is read/ experienced/ received/ operates: what they want it to do. In my research I found that while students’ desires and intentionality were not recognized as valid in summative assessments, as authors of their work, they were highly valued by these students, over and above all else in fact. Students expected – and utilised in their own self-assessment of the success of their work after their submission shows – their nominal authenticity. Ie what they wanted the work to do – to achieve – did it work? Was it successful?

In my research, this was not found to be a dominant feature of interpretation by art critics, nor that made by assessors in creative arts ed. Overwhelmingly, despite learning processes which may acknowledge and even show bits of the person, the learning and artmaking process, and the product, interpretations which carried the most weight were anti-intentionalist. Is that disturbing? Perhaps not for u, but students were devastated by the prospect that it would not. Listen to Yusuf’s concerns:.

Do I then go for that because I’ve been told by the tutors? Or do I want to make a piece of work because I want to make it and I want to make this out of this? That was my question. Do I make it work for me or for the grades?

His experience of feeling torn between making strategic or meaningful choices mirrored that of a number of students, in addition to Joe, although they were awarded vastly different grades (Yusuf was awarded a distinction whilst Joe barely passed).

 When I do this for the course, I feel like a tit if I done it ‘cause… I don’t know why I done it, I’m just doing it, just tick the box.

 Producing artworks for a system of exchange in which this student did not believe, created harsh self-judgment, leading him to judge the work, and eventually over repeated experiences, himself as inauthentic. Fran’s story was one of continual indecision, leading her to depend on her assessors rather than develop her own critical skills. 

I live in this constant state of ‘Should I be doing what the tutors tell me just because they’ve told me?’ Or ‘should I be doing what I think is right?’. And like every decision is like ‘have I done this ‘cause this is what I want to do?’ Or ‘because somebody else has told me that this is what I want to do?’.

Jade’s experience of indecision eventually led despair, when the goal of the educational endeavour was no longer what she desired – engagement with a subject and the development of her authorship – but rather became about negating that desire to please her assessors and get the necessary grades to pass.

Why emphasize this? Because that is the life long quest of a maker – such agency is a bit part of ‘the point’ of studies. Not determinism, but learning to be more cognisant of our effects in the world. I don’t think it is coincidental that a paradoxical finding has continually resurfaced in my research –  those students whose development meta-level thinking about interpretative approaches were actually those who in the main had experienced and were cognisant with some conflict with what they saw as ‘authentic’ aspects of their process. It has a major learning benefit. However, such meta-level thinking was more often unsupported by their teaching interactions and assessments.

The more surfaced the complexities of the interpretative process is, NOT the most simplified it is, the more chance ur student has of developing the critical skills and resilience necessary for navigating, comprehending, reworking/ thinking/ adapting/ choosing/ resisting as an artist in the world. The crit and panel assessment offers untapped wealth where we weigh debate, take on the voice of the diverse communities wrestling and jostling for attention at assessment.

Can a student’s nominal authenticity be the only criteria? No. Otherwise u r sitting at the level of what has been described as psychological-creativity rather than historic-creativity particularly, for post-graduate students. But hearing of, actively seeking, the reading of others better enables the student to decide the path – and to disagree with u (and others) about how such reception may impact on their process along the way.

And all readings equal? No. There are consequences to deciding to disagree. In academia, the assessors (their role and position), and the tradition of making to which they ascribe, perhaps also certain contemporary aesthetics, will impact on the value and overall judgement. Ask those students in the minority or whom come from artistic communities beyond the western influence or with legacies of exclusion, oppression and conflict, if you are in any doubt. Just as it is in other bounded spaces in the professional world. Here is where the harsh cold facts of power can and should be unpacked, if the student is to become conscious of how they play out later – what disadvantages them, which communities will find resonance with their work, how context, time place shift things. This emphasis (on what I call operative criticism) is perhaps most important for those choosing to truly challenge artistic practice.

And ultimately how meaning and significance of their work is shaped.

Because while I am concerned with power, I am also concerned that our separation of authorship from interpretation runs the risk of relinquishing the artist of responsibility. Developing a sense of wisdom, ethical wisdom, may not be a dominant concern in all art ed. Here I must admit my own leanings, that I am informed by a postcolonial anxiety around representation and how, without care and foresight, what we make and how we negotiate subjects, can have dire consequences. It is about our own positionality as image makers; the positionality of our educational traditions; but also about the text – how knowledge is created, represented, legitimised. Should we not do what we can to help students to develop the concern, resourcefulness, the openness to be assured enough to handle the uncertainty of the ways in which their text may operate in the world – because they have the skill and appetite to engage with interpretations?

So what are the challenges of situating the artist-student in assessment?

Perhaps, not the student. Perhaps the greatest challenge to this is ourselves. Adopting interpretative approaches from one space instead of another, we stop acknowledging that we MEDIATE discourse communities and their interests, and that we do this alongside the student as fellow potential maker and reader. We mis-represent the complexity, and mis-educate our future fellow artists. We go for surety. External referents as Certainties. Packaged and legitimated. I would say this is our greatest challenge. Ourselves.

Notes on networks, connections and ‘work’

In this past fortnight, I have been fortunate enough to be accepted as a member of a newly formed network and as an associate fellow of a prestigious research institute.

The network is newly formed, though the debates and concerns which have led to its formations are not. Universities have always been fraught spaces, with foundations on shifting sand. A disparate collection of individuals, nationalities, institutions and disciplines grouped together under the over-arching umbrella of ‘Critical University Studies‘ ,  this network is being steered by Alison Wood whose interest in intellectual labours of the past seems to have peeked her concerns for how the university(s) in the UK are being buffered about in the present. In late January, we had an engaging day of workshopping ideas about what the field as an object and subject might be. To my mind, there seemed acknowledgement of the tensions between our perspectives of dis/belief in the evolutionary possibilities of ‘the university’, with strong conviction that the critical project needed a pragmatic turn in the current political climate.

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Image above: Taken at the first engagement of the network, which is supported by a British Academy Rising Stars Engagement Award. If you would like to know more about the network, please contact Alison, who is seated second on the left of the front row. I am the more grey-haired person second to the right in the front row.

The institute is The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice which brings together seasoned and early researchers to grapple with the global challenge of ‘Peace, Security and Justice’. I applied to become an associate fellow, as I would like to facilitate fruitful connections between academics in various institutions in South Africa and those affiliated with this Global Research Institute. Legacy issues continue within the cultural institutions of higher education and critical arts education – traces of trauma, troubled knowledge and memory, a sense of injustice, persistent inequality, dynamics of de-legitimation and machinations of domination. Yet they are largely under-researched when it comes to Higher Education Studies, and from my lived experience, seem to have little currency within political rhetoric. Discourses of ‘transformation’ have rather been adopted, which mediate different interests. There is an urgency within higher education institutions in the country (which are currently beset by unrest and anxiety) to develop frameworks which reckon with historical responsibility in addition to facing pressing demands in the present, as there are facets within the current generation of students and academics actively seeking informed intellectual approaches.

Such connections were an integral part of my own desire to come to Belfast, to learn from the expertise here. Similarly, I hope to provide the participants, of the post-graduate courses I will be coordinating, such networking opportunities to explore similar areas of enquiry in diverse contexts across the globes, in the hopes of understanding complexities and nuance, and forging ways through to explore solutions. I feel extremely honoured to be provided both opportunities, and am anxious (as always) to get some fruitful work underway.

Questions of authorship to guide curriculum development of a Higher Education Studies course connecting international contexts

While I was working on how to respond to the possibilities of a Higher Education Studies course, that brings together the often disparate islands of teaching and learning, research, policy for agents across diverse international contexts, I was fortunate enough to get an opportunity to present at the colleagial space of Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE) conference,
Higher Education rising to the challenge: Balancing expectations of students, society and stakeholders’, in 2017.

I began the talk foregrounding my positionality and interest in decoloniality, and critical notions of authorship, agency, assessment and interpretation  – which I touch on elsewhere on this website – and about the attempt to work towards a course that would operate from Northern Ireland, with its marginal/ central positioning in Ireland/ the UK/ EU, and in particular the willingness of many academics here to engage with legacies of conflict in their research and teaching. I spoke about how I hoped this would offer fruitful spaces of exploration and critical work, to which I hoped to add from my own lived experiences and expertise from South African Higher Education Studies, to create conducive environments to connect with participants of such courses.

I also touched on my own historical melancholia and ethical doubt, where I see value in processes of redress, and equity on a grand scale, my concern about the complicity of education at the macro-level; balanced with hope for the potential of connection, growth, access, strength in the global South to challenge and transcend machinations of domination.

My concern? An approach of operative criticism when questioning: how can I take responsibility for the ways in which the text, authorship, and reception/ readership of such a course operates, and the significance for the influences and tensions of other authors, texts, and readers-assessors of this programme at micro-and macro-curriculum level?

While I am of course concerned with the external referents and politics of representation with the micro-level curriculum, attempting to ensure

  • it is heterogeneous, representative of varied perspectives, lived experiences, communities etc;
  • and that the work students do and our negotiations also refer and relate to their actual practice in HE, their biographies, aspirations; their students, philosophies of teaching and learning etc;
  • that the exchange between us relates to genres, conventions, other texts of HES, critical campus studies, educational development of staff and students, and other portfolios reports etc of engagement as appropriate to an HES course
  • and my own role as peer, assessors, supporters etc – those internal referents of the course specific to the discourses of this field;

The questions I discuss here at really at the level of concern with how these operate – how they figure – their significance.

Is the author, the proper noun of the institution, its geopolitical location in a developing/ed context? The academic as figure – agent, provocateur, labourer, public intellectual, academic activist, worker…? Is the text, about a curriculum-led orientation; the discourses its trades on and agenda it drives; the ways it operates and is co-opted beyond itself…..

I have framed four central questions of authorship to guide me as a wrangle and wrestle my way into forming, establishing a course which I believe may create ethical and pragmatically productive spaces for those within HEIs – to grow, learn, reflect yes, to research, challenge, transform, connect.

Before I go into these, it is important to explain why I turn to ‘authorship’ when it is an area considered passé in continental philosophy and contemporary ‘western’ criticism for some time, has provided a valid and poignant ethical reference point to challenge the ways in which the programme is being designed, coordinated and sustained. Politics of representation? Yes. Political correctness for its own sake? No. This is more about the crisis of legitimation in addition to the violence of delegitmation, and hopefully heralding a more conscious, critical space for such education.

The return or re-assertion of situating the author, as the actual author and as the figure of the author, has for some time been seen in those ‘margin’ to the mainstream – many feminist approaches, postcolonial émigré consciousness and exile-as-witness perspectives, and the more recent decolonising arguments in their varying emphasis. For those critical of neo-liberalist agendas, what is of value here is how these concepts, are co-opted and delegitimised by Capital, for instance.

I would argue that the ways in which these are constructed and positioned in helpful in dis-entangling influences and interests at macro- and micro-level of the curriculum.

Who is the author of a curriculum of HES offered from the EU/ UK/NI to various participants as readers in various international/ developing contexts?

What is the mediating text of the micro-level curriculum between them? How does it enable the authoring of their own curricula for their students?

Is the participant, academic staff or staff working with educational concerns at HEIs, positioned as co-author or co-constructors, or are they the texts being acted upon,  with their institutional interests authoring a curriculum to school them in their interests? Are the readers assessors, evaluators, ultimate legitimisers? Would they be the various institutional authorities, their QA mechanisms, or the global agenda of the north on the south once again?

Is the text of the course – Development? Individual career Advancement? Pedagogical Innovation? Epistemic access or heteronomical disruption? Are these at the level of the individual participant, for their students, for their institutions or their communities? Or for bums on seats?

The spectre of authorship – what history, inheritance, claim, origin, power and position has authority?

What is the sub-text of the course?

What are some of the tensions inherent to de/legitimising knowledge in Higher Education Studies?

  • Mastery of central topics / idea in disciplines (theories of learning for instance) or a discourse-interest of pertinent concerns?
  • Anxieties to establish a discipline – which referents give us credibility as a science? Theories ontological frameworks disciplinary traditions.
  • How do we learn from other practice-led spaces (if ED DeV is a central concern and the critical formation of HE practices and policies) such as the the arts – where practice and dynamism of the prof comm of practice is often subsumed by academic discourse and interests, of gatekeeping?
  • And when out participants do author texts, which qualifiers and referenents do we privedge over others (published literature in journals; which journals from which geopolitical locations; which disciplines;blogs; lived experience; student feedback; statistical significance or the diverse experiences; portfolios, reports, musing; observations of practice…
  • What knowledge is local? Indigenous? Eurocentric? How might the participants, as authors of their own texts, be enabled to negotiate this question of deligetimising knowledges in ways that creates opportunities for them to become open to praxis? Heteronomy? The positioning of knowledge?

But then how is that received by those wanting skills, increasing of capacity, benevolence for those less fortunate – a helping hand –  as part of development studies for developing contexts, or new lecturers to be quality assured rather than the research-productive old guard to be challenged in terms of their reproduction of conditions for exclusion and assimilation?

Are educational development courses aimed at or for ‘support’, delegitimised in similar ways to many working in this area as not academic, practice-based and professional… how then to have participants start at a level positioned as such, and move more expansively to HES as a field of study in which they are insiders, agents, contributors?

Policing, development management – the same formative and summative purposes at play in assessment and evaluation of courses, play out here too.

I added teacher intentionality and student experience here to indicate the tensions at micro-level within the course – my own critical orientation and objectives for connecting those across the global South, learning from peers, connecting us across borders; seeing development as not individual but challenging of mechanisms… and the participants desires, expectations, perceptions, interests, aims, processed, institutional contexts = and the ways these feed into how development is positioned..

This all points to the possibilities of agency – my concern – in co-constructing the curricula. But is this naïve? Many would argue that the ‘market’ for such a course is not just the academics but their institutions and national agencies, or funders, all with agendas which constrain/ enable such agency and its relation to co-construction. Even my agency to co-construct…

‘What about the UK professional framework?’ ‘The HEA?’ ’Market intelligence?’….

And how much of that relates to ethical responsibility in terms of global challenges, such as equality, digital capability, sustainable development?

And the more thorny issue – for whom, what and how is research in Higher Education Studies? Whose interests does such research serve?

[Note about the images selected from my slides: I had a bit of fun challenging myself to have the entire presentation fit into my old business cards, which has recently been ‘retired’ for new institutional branding. A playful tribute to the urban legend of Max Ernst fitting an entire exhibition in a match box]