Conference: Doing and Undoing Academic Labour

by E Wayne Ross on May 30, 2012

‘Doing and Undoing Academic Labour’

7 June 2012, 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

University of Lincoln (UK)

In recent decades, a wealth of information has been produced about academic labour: the financialisation of knowledge, diminution of professional autonomy and collegiality through managerialism and audit cultures; the subsumption of higher education into circulations of capital, proletarianisation of intellectual work, shift from dreams of enlightenment and emancipation to imperatives of ‘employability’, and experiences of alienation and anger amongst educators across the world.

This has also been a period of intensifying awareness about the significance of these processes, not only for teachers and students in universities, but for all labour and intellectual, social and political life as well. And now we watch the growth of a transnational movement that is inventing new ways of knowing and producing knowledge, new forms of education, and new possibilities for pedagogy to play a progressive role in struggles for alterantives within the academy and beyond.

Yet within the academy, the proliferation of critical work on these issues is not always accompanied by qualitative changes in everyday practice. The conditions of academic labour for many in the UK are indeed becoming more precarious and repressive – and in unequal measure across institutions and disciplines, and in patterns that retrench existing inequalities of gender, physical ability, class, race and sexuality. The critical analysis of academic labour promises much, but often remains disconnected from the ways we work in practice with others.

This conference brings together scholars and activists from a range of disciplines to discuss these problems, and to consider how critical knowledge about new forms of academic labour can be linked to struggles to humanise labour and knowledge production within and beyond the university.


  • Mette Louise Berg – ‘Situated reflections: on gender and becoming an academic’
  • Anna Curcio – ‘Race and Gender in the Edu-Factory’
  • Richard Hall – ‘Educational technology and the war on public education’
  • Maria Do Mar Pereira – ‘(Im)Possible Labour? Critical Education in “Performative” Universities’
  • Dean Lockwood, Rob Coley and Adam O’Meara – ‘What a relief to have nothing to say…Academic labour and language in the rhizome’
  • Andrew McGettigan – ‘Value for money: degree awarding powers, standards and academic labour’
  • Justine Mercer and Howard Stevenson – ‘The frontier of control revisited: managerial authority and academic labour revisited’
  • Sara Motta – ‘The messiness of motherhood in the neoliberal university’
  • Gigi Roggero – ‘Occupy Knowledge’

Public / Free / Open
This conference is public, free and open to everyone; we warmly invite you to attend. Please register via the website so we know how many people will be attending. If you have any questions about the event, please contact Dr. Sarah Amsler at

Getting here
Doing and Undoing Academic Labour will be held in Learning Landscapes, MB1019, the University of Lincoln. Click here for a map of the campus.

We hope to see you here!

Best wishes,

Dr. Sarah Amsler
Sr. Lecturer in Education
Centre for Educational Research and Development
University of Lincoln
Lincoln LN6 7TS