Resisting higher education’s (re)production of elitism in an ethos of care-taking

Soundings - ISSN 1362-6620
Volume 2023 Number 84 & 85

Resisting higher education’s (re)production of elitism in an ethos of care-taking
Beverley Hayward pages 43-57
DOI: 10.3898/SOUN.84-85.02.2023


The University for the Creative Arts (UCA) is undergoing a transformation. This is the perspective sold to the staff as jobs are terminated. This time it is not so much a restructure as a complete closure of further education across all campuses in Surrey and Kent. The UCA is ‘stepping back’ as a Further Education provider, to focus on undergraduate, postgraduate and research degrees. In addition, the campus that most serves the local community, in Chatham, Kent, is to be closed and sold, most likely for redevelopment. This essay explores the neoliberal agenda that led to this sad erasure of a prestigious arts community, whose alumni included Zandra Rhodes, Tracey Emin and Billy Childish. It exposes the common-sense discourses employed by the university to compel the staff and student body to consent to the neoliberal methods at play. A mixed media embroidery artwork and poetry have been created for this article, and referenced is a recent exhibition, UCA - Retrospective: Creativity Past, Present & Future. Creative arts practices illustrate this story, as well as many conversations with students and staff. The stories of those living through this experience are woven within the narrative. In the sadness of loss there is also celebration, as our own transformations are made possible: leaving one collective space of creativity enables openings. To stitch and repair the soul of self and others creates understandings and an awareness. In this way freedoms are fostered, and social justice prevails.

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To cite this article
Beverley Hayward (2023) Resisting higher education’s (re)production of elitism in an ethos of care-taking, Soundings, 2023(84 & 85 ), 43-57.

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