Call for Papers: ‘Space to Learn/Think/Work: The Contested Architectures of Higher Education’. Architecture and Culture Vol. 9, Issue 1 (March 2021)

Editors: Igea Troiani and Claudia Dutson

Deprived of welfare state support, Higher education has changed markedly since the mid 1960s, mainly due to its privatisation. The neoliberal university has taken hold in many developed countries so that nowadays the imperatives of Higher Education have moved away from a liberal, openly accessible, broadly based education to one that will “commercialise scientific research, launch entrepreneurial degree programs, establish industry partnerships, and build entrepreneurial cultures and ecosystems” (Enterprise, entrepreneurship and innovation – the entrepreneurial university from concept to action. < http://ncee.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/From-Concept-To-Action.pdf>). This shift manifests itself in an anti-intellectual criticism of the university (often framed in terms of spatial metaphors of ivory towers, echo chambers, halls of mirrors, cloisters, and silos) as well as in ambitious real-estate developments, opening of overseas campuses, and expansion of property portfolios with new buildings in which one finds an excess of ‘spaces for collaboration’, ‘vibrant meeting points’ and multi-coloured, office-style soft furniture. Because the university has been characterised as being cut off from real-world concerns of the office workplace, many Higher Education institutions now use business strategies to incorporate real-world experience within education.

This issue of Architecture and Culture entitled ‘Space to Learn/Think/Work: The Contested Architectures of Higher Education’ invites submissions that directly address the realities of Higher Education and neoliberalism worldwide, whether from areas that have embraced new, overtly market-driven educational models or from those which have actively resisted change. Can educators and architects redefine the role of the university in society in the West and the East to avoid The University in Ruins? (Bill Readings, The University in Ruins, (Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 1997). If so, how?

This issue of Architecture and Culture invites critical analysis of the neoliberal university and its spatial practices in the here and now. We invite contributions from academics and practitioners in architecture, cultural theory, interiors, and related spatial practices, in philosophy, and other [disciplinary] areas.

Contributions might address, but are not limited to, the following themes:

  • The architectures of education
  • The academic-industrial complex
  • Spatial practices of resistance
  • The incubator (Entrepreneurs in the University)
  • The Live Project (Academics in the Real World)
  • Studio practice and the competitive workplace
  • Academic labour, administration and performance review
  • The Managerial University and the Corporation
  • Real estate, the university brand and signature campus buildings
  • The new University of Excellence and commercially driven market forces
  • The University Establishment, class/gender/race and social mobility
  • Picket lines and teach-outs
  • The spatial forms of ‘slow scholarship’

The call for papers with the full synopsis and information for the authors is available here.

Submissions accepted until 01 July 2019.

Issue publication (online and print): late March 2021.

If you have any queries or require further information, please contact Igea Troiani Igea.Troiani@xjtlu.edu.cn and Claudia Dutson claudia.dutson@network.rca.ac.uk

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