|Photo of the Slade School of Art Protest by Angela Last|
Il y a dans l’échange des savoirs non pas un équilibre, mais une croissance formidable que l’économie ne connaît pas. Les enseignants sont titulaires d’un trésor incroyable – le savoir – qui prolifère et qui est le trésor de l’humanité.
In [the exchange of knowledge] there is no equilibrium at all, but a terrific growth which economics does not know. Teach[ers] are the bearers of an unbelievable treasure – knowledge – which multiplies and is the treasure of all humanity.
[Michel Serres - quote highlighted, and originally translated, by Angela Last]
With yesterday's vote on tuition fees in the House of Lords going the way of the UK Coalition Government, very sadly, we now await the publication of University prospectuses detailing actual fees increases, as well as, more importantly, government announcements on the precise cuts to be made to university teaching grants.
But we will not wait quietly or passively. And we need to focus our attention even more intently than before on how best to move forward with our campaign against the marketisation/privatisation of higher education, and, specifically, against the effects of this on Arts and Humanities education in the UK and elsewhere. Please join our Facebook group, or comment below, if you'd like to be a part of this exploration.
In the meantime, DEFEND the ARTS and HUMANITIES salutes the recent actions of the Social and Cultural Geography Research Group. With around 460 members SCGRG is one of largest and most active research groups of the Royal Geographical Society. In the context of UK cuts in higher education and the associated rise in tuition fees, it has just replaced its regular mission statement, with the following, beautifully worded position statement:
The committee of the Social and Cultural Geography Research Group (RGS-IBG) would like to express their personal support for the geographers and other students who have sought to open up creative spaces to challenge the inevitability of such rapid and deep public spending cuts in higher education. Our position is that creative, innovative thinking is critical to social and ecological justice, and the stripping away of the intellectual capacity of higher education, through the removal of public funding for teaching and its replacement with a market for students and for knowledge, is detrimental to the achievement of more equitable ways of thinking and living.
“To illustrate the importance of knowledge sharing, I would like to tell you a little lesson in economics: I have a block of butter, and you have three Euros. If we proceed to do a transaction, you will, in the end, have a block of butter, and I will have three Euros. We are dealing with a zero sum game: nothing happens from this exchange. But in the exchange of knowledge, during teaching, the game is not one of zero sum as more parties profit from the exchange: if you know a theorem and teach it to me, at the end of the exchange, we both know it. In this knowledge exchange there is no equilibrium at all, but a terrific growth which economics does not know. Teachings are the bearers of an unbelievable treasure – knowledge – which multiplies and is the treasure of all humanity.” (Michel Serres)
With thanks to ER for the link