The latest from the Middlesex University occupation, including activities and discussions this weekend.
Transversal Space at Middlesex University!
In response to the planned closure of Middlesex Philosophy the students have occupied Mansion House on Trent Park campus. Today we announce the opening of an experimental and communal space for educational presentations and conversations at the interface between philosophy, theory, activism and art. Transversal Space is an alternative educational experience in which the boundaries between disciplines and the relations between students and teachers are blurred. Relationships and ideas are explored in an open and collective way continuing the ethos of our philosophy department and its series of events.
A program of events for the weekend (7-9/5) is now being set up. Please come and join us on the beautiful Trent Park campus. A free shuttle bus will take you here from Oakwood station on the Picadilly line (penultimate stop in Northern direction). Let us know if you have suggestions for the program & join us at any point during the weekend.
Contact us on this email and on firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Josefine 07863565557 or Vijak 07825109703
TIMETABLE (Do check back for updates!)
Friday, 7 May 2010
2.00 p.m. – Middlesex Philosophy student Pavel Khazanov will be giving a paper entitled ‘Psychoanalysis and the Ethical Cogito’
3.30 p.m. – A close reading of the Introduction to Being and Nothingness by Middlesex Philosophy students Lord Johann Vadseth Holby, Maria Louise Rosbech, and Shanna Caughey
5.30 p.m. – A seminar on Lacan’s ‘Ecrit’ “The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalyis” by Middlesex Philosophy research student and tutor Tom Eyers
Also planned today:
– ’Spinoza for Everyone’ seminar given by Knox Peden, a big name in French philosophical scholarship. We are lucky to have him!
– An open mic: songs, stories, spoken word
Saturday, 8 May 2010
5.00 p.m. – Alex Callinicos, Professor of European Studies at King’s College London will be giving a talk. (whoop! time for some DEBATE!)
From the student occupation committee:
Some people have been asking us about things to help us with our occupation, so here are a few ideas:
-Banner materials (sheets, poster paper, paint, markers, etc.)
-Media (Cameras, videos, stereograms, carrier pigeons)
-Bedding (Blankets, pillows, sleeping bags)
Remember, our goal here is to present an alternative form of education, as an environment in which we are learning together. Transversal Space is Creative Space.
Looking forward to seeing all of you here!
Open letter to Mdx staff, faculty and students
Dear Middlesex University staff, faculty, and students,
We are writing to clarify our intentions and the purpose behind occupying The Mansion Building at Middlesex University.
Last week we were shocked at the news that the administration intends to close the Philosophy Department, including the world-renowned post-graduate programmes. While saving the philosophy department is our primary aim, we realize that this specific closure is evidence of a much broader trend in higher education. We want to be absolutely clear that we are doing this not out of self-interest, but to advocate for you, the students, faculty and staff of Middlesex University, as well all of those who care about the future of humanities in the UK.
As Terry Eagleton put it at a teach-in at Kings College London in March, what we are currently experiencing is a move towards a model of “education for the economy versus education for society.” The university administrations are using the current financial crisis as an excuse to restructure their institutions, opting to close or severely cap any programmes that are not sufficiently “economically viable” according to their criteria. With a slew of cuts and redundancies, our universities are in danger of becoming vocational training centers that churn out a highly skilled, yet intellectually and culturally impoverished work force.
Here at Middlesex, the History department was closed in 2006. Now it is Philosophy and Sonic Arts. With the plans to close Trent Park and Cat Hill, it is realistic to anticipate more closures in the humanities. We are here to communicate that your jobs, your studies are not safe. We are here to communicate that we will not take these closures lying down.
Our protest and occupation is peaceful. The administration has called the police out to Trent Park twice; both times they left within a half hour, having decided that no laws were being broken and their presence was not necessary. The occupation has not interrupted the studies of any students and we encourage you, whether you are officially tied to Middlesex or not, to join or visit us here. This is an open, safe space and everyone will be warmly welcomed. We are organizing various cultural, political and academic events over the weekend. You are all invited to participate. Information about this can be found at: savemdxphil.com.
Universities are not businesses, and education is not a commodity – it is a human right and a public service. Education did not cause this crisis, and must not be sacrificed to pay for it. Anonymous messages of support continue to come in from staff and we stand united against management’s program of slash and burn.
Meeting with management
From the student occupation committee:
At 2pm, a student delegation met with Margaret House (Deputy VC), Waqar Ahmad (Deputy VC of Research and Enterprise) and Edward Esche (Dean of Arts and Education).
After the management panel refused to reconsider the decision to close Philosophy, the meeting ended without resolution.
The occupation continues.