Living and working in conservative times: Is there a role for academic activism?

    Research output: Other contribution - including Text-based ERA-eligible Creative WorksOther types of outputs


    The issues discussed in this lecture draw on my years of engagement with learners, workers and communities across vocational, community and higher education. Much of this work has investigated responses to educational disadvantage at the same time as I have challenged the judgmental labels assigned to poor and marginalised learners. A claim that one is working for ‘social justice’ must work with these entanglements. The recent focus on growth and prosperity through regional development in Northern Australia provides some context for this view. School systems often guide our understanding of learning, yet a substantial amount of learning occurs between adults, in workplaces, between professional agencies, in communities and on the streets. Moreover, learning is central to regional development but the compulsion of metropolitan centres to assert ownership over defining regional problems and how they should be solved, is rarely examined. Academics working in these spaces are often asked to engage in evidence based research to resolve complex issues, yet that engagement involves working with increasingly conservative policy mandates and under-resourced community and industry groups. This public lecture follows my engagement with academic activism over the last 25 years as I track how this ‘other work’ rubs up against working life in a university.
    Original languageEnglish
    TypeProfessorial Address
    PublisherCharles Darwin University
    Number of pages22
    Place of PublicationDarwin
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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