Breaking Our Silences on the Neoliberal Academy
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Breaking Our Silences on the Neoliberal Academy

Breaking Our Silences on the Neoliberal Academy

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University of Warwick

Coventry, United Kingdom

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Breaking our silences on the neoliberal academy: facilitating change from a postgraduate perspective


As PhD students, we often hear the refrain ‘if you want to get into academia, doing your PhD alone is not enough’. But with the subsequent requirement to produce papers, teach, organise and attend conferences, participate in additional collaborations or project work, not to mention keep up online engagement with those in our fields, what time is left for self-care, activism, or the care of others?

This one day workshop aimed at PhD students offers a space to critically reflect on our personal experiences and the structures which shape them, and to hear from those slightly further down the academic career path. Speakers include the University of Warwick's Dr. Maria do Mar Pereira, Dr. Meleisa Ono-George, Dr. Laura Schwartz and Dr. Julie Walsh. The University of East Anglia's Dr. Victoria Cann of the Res-Sister's Collective and Dr Lena Wanggren (University of Edinburgh) will also be presenting. Both Dr. Cann and Dr. Wanggren have produced chapters for the forthcoming Being an Early Career Feminist Academic: Global Perspectives, Experiences and Challenges. 

The aim of the workshop is to build on our critiques by exploring strategies that can be applied to overcome negative aspects of academia, including those of resistance and support which we can implement. To do this, we will consider the following through a combination of keynote speakers, participant papers and workshop sessions:

  • What are particular processes of casualisation, extensification and elasticisation, and forms of neoliberal performativity (Ball, 2003) (e.g. dynamics in the PhD common room, ‘You should be writing’ and other social media feeds) occurring at the PhD level?

  • How have these, or might these, be resisted?

  • How can we help one another?

We recognise that such processes impact individuals differently according to (dis)privilege so our aim is to foster a strong intersectional ethos in our discussions. We are currently welcoming reflexive papers drawing on personal experiences around these topics. We encourage participants to be creative, personal and discursive with their papers, rather than necessarily drawing exclusively on academic research. Please submit an abstract of no more than 200 words to e.ablett@warwick.ac.uk along with a brief biography including name, institutional affiliation and contact details. The abstract deadline is Friday 23 September.

The workshop will be followed by a wine reception and a performance by Shit Theatre, an improv duo currently touring their feminist show ‘Woman’s Hour’.

This event is generously funded by the University of Warwick ESRC Doctoral Training Centre, Warwick Sociology, Warwick History, CADRE, the Centre for the Study of Women and Gender and the Social Theory Centre.

This event is now sold out. If you would like to be added to our waiting list, please contact k.mahoney@warwick.ac.uk.

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Coventry, United Kingdom

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