Organizing Meeting

Thank you to all those who attended the organizing meeting on Wednesday 2nd October 2013 and also to those who sent their apologies.

We currently have around twenty members of staff and research students who have registered an interest in the Higher Education and Theory (HEAT) reading group, thirteen of whom were able to attend the organizing meeting, which means we have enough participants to make the group work. Please do spread the word and invite other colleagues who you think may be interested in the group.

Reading-GroupAt the meeting, we discussed and agreed the general focus and aims of the group, as a cross-faculty reading group on theories of education, open to all staff and research students at the University of Westminster. The group supports and supplements the Higher Education Research Centre’s (HERC) general focus on pedagogical research, with particular relevance to its research interests in critical reflection, transdisciplinary knowledge, and the integration of practice and theory. The specific intention of the group is to foster an increased awareness of the contributions of major critical thinkers to pedagogic debate and practice, supplementing the sociological, psychological, and empirical focus of current educational discourse with a broader transdisciplinary emphasis on the importance of other theoretical (philosophical, political, historical, legal…) contributions to educational theory. The idea is that a productive critical perspective will be opened up on contemporary pedagogical practice through such viewpoints, one that will also allow participants to make connections between their research and their own practice as teachers by re-reading theoretical texts pedagogically.

The hope is that the HEAT reading group will stimulate new conversations and connections across the university, encouraging pedagogical reflection but also fostering further research and writing. If the group is successful, we would like to consider the possibility of a workshop with papers from participants and perhaps invited guests at the end of the year.

We agreed there would be a minimum of three reading groups per year, with the aim of meeting at least once a semester (and the possibility of meeting more frequently if time and interest permit).

Jean-Francois_Lyotard_croppedThe consensus of those at the organizing meeting was that the first reading group should meet on Wednesday 13th November 2013 (Week 8), from 1pm – 3pm in the main Regent Street building (room tbc). We agreed we would read Lyotard’s The Postmodern Condition, and that those who wished to could contribute to discussions of the text before and after that meeting by posting on this blog (access will be set up for all participants). A suggested reading schedule has been posted here to facilitate online discussions.

Suggestions for texts to read in Semesters 2 and 3 can posted on this blog or can be emailed to the reading group organizers (contact details here). A number of suggestions for possible texts were made in the organizing meeting, including works by Gillian Rose, Chantal Mouffe, Hannah Arendt, Simone de Beauvoir and John Dewey’s ‘Democracy in Education’. Suggestions will be collected and a group decision made at the next reading group meeting on 13th November.

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