PLANK zine contribution: learning, exchange, and play

In September 2015, Hollie Mackenzie, Dr Iain MacKenzie and I hosted the first iteration of Learning, Exchange, and Play at an event hosted and organised by PLANK (Politically Led Art & Networked Knowledges) at King's College London. I blogged about this previously following the subsequent release of the first LEP film, LEP I, here. 

Following this event, the team at PLANK sought contributions for a zine based around the day's events, which was launched/released in June 2017. In it contains a short piece by myself, Hollie, and Iain discussing and reflecting on some of the ideas and practices in this first version of LEP. You can download our short contribution here.

The full reference is:

MacKenzie, Iain, Mackenzie, Hollie, and Heaney, Conor, 'Learning, Exchange, and Play: Practicing a Deleuzian Pedagogy', PLANK Zine, Issue 1: Techniques of Art and Protest, 2017,  41-45

If you want to find out more about PLANK, and the other activities and events they're involved with, you can check out their blog here: 


publication (article): the teaching excellence framework: perpetual pedagogical control in postwelfare capitalism

Myself and Hollie Mackenzie have just had a paper published in Compass: A Journal of Learning and Teaching in a special issue on the Teaching Excellence Framework (which I have blogged about previously), which the Conservative government are seeking to introduce into the tertiary education sector, and which would see the creation of new university league tables centred around teaching-based metrics. 

The abstract for the paper is as-follows:

In this paper, we argue that Success as a Knowledge Economy, and the Teaching Excellence Framework, will constitute a set of mechanisms of perpetual pedagogical control in which the market will become a regulator of pedagogical possibilities. Rather than supporting pedagogical exploration, or creating conditions for the empowerment of students and teachers, such policies support the precarisation and casualisation of both. We develop these claims through a reading of these policies alongside Gilles Deleuze’s Postscript on the Societies of Control, and situating it in the context of what Gary Hall has termed postwelfare capitalism. We conclude by reaching out to others in the tertiary education sector and beyond to ask if this really is the direction we wish to take this sector in the UK.

The full reference is as-follows:

Heaney, Conor and Mackenzie, Hollie, 'The Teaching Excellence Framework: Perpetual Pedagogical Control in Postwelfare Capitalism', Compass: A Journal of Learning and Teaching, 10 (2), 2017

You can download the paper here. The journal itself is Open Access, and you can download all the other articles from this edition here.

selected excerpts from deleuze (1990) and the economist (2017)

The Economist published an article entitled 'Lifelong Learning is Becoming an Economic Imperative' this month. 

Gilles Deleuze's Postscript on the Societies of Control was first published in 1990 in L'Autre journal (which, as far as I'm aware, no longer publishes). 

Here are excerpts from both placed alongside each other. 

In many occupations it has become essential to acquire new skills as established ones become obsolete [...] To remain competitive, and to give low- and high-skilled workers alike the best chance of success, economies need to offer training and career-focused education throughout people’s working lives [...] Universities are embracing online and modular learning more vigorously. Places like Singapore are investing heavily in providing their citizens with learning credits that they can draw on throughout their working lives.
— The Economist
the corporation constantly presents the brashest rivalry as a healthy form of emulation, an excellent motivational force that opposes individuals against one another and runs through each, dividing each within. The modulating principle of “salary according to merit” has not failed to tempt national education itself. Indeed, just as the corporation replaces the factory, perpetual training tends to replace the school, and continuous control to replace the examination. Which is the surest way of delivering the school over to the corporation.
— Deleuze, pp. 4-5
Individuals, too, increasingly seem to accept the need for continuous rebooting […] Another survey, conducted by Manpower in 2016, found that 93% of millennials were willing to spend their own money on further training. Meanwhile, employers are putting increasing emphasis on learning as a skill in its own right.
— The Economist
Many young people strangely boast of being “motivated”; they re-request apprenticeships and permanent training. It’s up to them to discover what they’re being made to serve, just as their elders discovered, not without difficulty, the telos of the disciplines. The coils of a serpent are even more complex than the burrows of a molehill.
— Deleuze, p. 7

(Continuous re-booting - software updates - is what The Economist recommends for us all.)


learning, exchange, and play II

On 15th and 16th January 2016 - as part of the 'Transforming Moments: Dissonance, Liminality, and Action as Learning Experiences' conference at the University of Kent, Canterbury - myself & Hollie Mackenzie constructed a second iteration of the 'Learning, Exchange, and Play' space. We worked with Ben Cook from Anti/Type Films who directed and produced this excellent short-film on the experience. We invited participants into a classroom configured as a space of encounters.

This film was premiered at the conference 'Undisciplined Environments: International Conference of the European Network of Political Ecology (ENTITLE)' at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) (Stockholm) in March 2015, as part of the panel 'The Affective in Political Ecologies: Arts as Ways to Cultivate Resistances'.

The 'Learning, Exchange, and Play' Series is a series of experimental films produced as part of an ongoing campaign which seeks to open up the space for creative, alternative, and non-instrumentalised pedagogical stylistics in the face of the neoliberal homogenisation of teaching possibilities in contemporary education. 

learning, exchange, and play I

On 18th September 2015 - as part of the 'Techniques of Art and Protest' conference hosted by the PLANK Research Network - myself, Hollie Mackenzie & Dr Iain MacKenzie hosted a workshop entitled Learning, Exchange, and Play: Practicing a Deleuzian Pedagogy. In this workshop, we invited participants into a classroom configured as a space of encounters.

We also worked with Ben Cook from Anti/Type who directed, produced, and scored this excellent short film on the experience.

This space - a first iteration of a larger project on philosophy, experimental pedagogy, politics, and art - would not have been possible without the wonderful people behind The Dark Would at the University of Warwick.