Graduate School at Goldsmiths

Well, in a fit of over-enthusiasm that belongs to some sort of undiagnosed workaholicism, and because I think there should be a revolutionary way to remake our universities, I applied for the post of Dean of the new Graduate School at Goldsmiths. I was interviewed on tuedsay, and the SMT have not yet made their decision (SMT= Senior Management Team, a committee name certainly in need of rebranding, if not firebranding). I wait and see, as do the other candidates. Its been interesting discussing with Carrie from Education in the meantime… as we wait. If anything, the circulation of ideas about what Goldsmiths might be/has been useful, so – with all sorts of embarrassment at the shameless self promotional aspects of making applications – I include here the response I made to the SMT request for a “1000 word vision”. Apologies to Peter Sloterdijk and all the other education activist comrades who helped generate this sort of bluster way back when. And sorry for some of the more prosaic quality rhetoric that is now obligatory in the administered society. Those were heady days… From Mark I am reminded of the bit in Adorno that alibis it all:

Whoever makes critically and unflinchingly conscious use of the means of administration and its institutions is still in a position to realize something which would be different from merely administered culture (Adorno 1991 :131)

May 29, 2006

Re John Hutnyk – application for Dean of the Graduate School

My enthusiasm for this post is fundamentally based upon a theoretical, practical and political interest in ways to institute connections between the diverse intellectual elements of the cultural and creative work represented at Goldsmiths. I have a background (see CV) in postgraduate research organisation stemming initially from student activism, followed by policy experience as a researcher-organiser for several Australian postgraduate student organisations (including advise to the peak lobby group CAPA: Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations) and subsequently as an academic, conference organiser, supervisor, researcher, editor and in recent years as the person who revamped PhD provision in the Centre for Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths (as PhD Convenor and ‘Academic Director’ alongside Professor Lash). My interest in organising as such is complimented by a substantive skill base, and facility for forging new institutional forms of action and engagement across departments, among emergent networks and through co-operative involvement. I would stress that my personal commitment dovetails centrally with the idea of a Graduate School insofar as the questions that have always driven me in my research, teaching and practical work have to do with ways to inspire and co-ordinate disparate but similar creative energies. Goldsmiths offers a fantastic array of intellects, personalities, and genius that will/can/must be organised.

How to do this is an issue of enormous potential and delicacy. In the first three months of this post (and continuing thereafter via a Graduate School Advisory Committee) there will need to be a rolling series of consultations with heads of departments, members of the postgraduate research committee, postgraduate research co-ordinators, GCSU, international office, admissions, web-team, and other relevant units, to further develop a future shape for the Graduate School. While the mandate of the Graduate School should be influenced by these consultations, it is imperative to move forward now and many of the suggestions already offered, and those below, could be implemented at a very early stage. The Goldsmiths’ mission, values, and wider discussions will also be part of an ongoing debate driven by the ideas that were behind the Graduate School plan.

With the ideas in the attached document, I submit my expression of interest in the post of Dean of the Graduate School. I affirm my longstanding concern, professionally and intellectually, with the core practices that would make the Graduate School a success. My commitment to the Centre for Cultural Studies can be confirmed by any of the (50+) PhD students in the Centre who would readily attest to the success of that programme; I would now like to bring my experience into a wider format as I see this post as complimentary to what I do best in CCS, and also as constituting a logical extension of my career. I would very much like the opportunity to elaborate upon all these points in discussion with the selection committee.

Sincerely
Dr John Hutnyk CCS

The Graduate School at Goldsmiths.

A place of progressive thinking, practice, research and activity…

The Graduate School of Goldsmiths is a great idea. It can unify the inspirational and rampantly creative conglomeration of people and projects that inhabit the New Cross campus. It will allow us to further focus our postgraduate and research mission, and allow us to promote ourselves coherently and visibly in the national and international public eye. Consolidation of our existing strengths in an identifiable (branded?) identity will have obvious benefits in terms of academic standing, recruitment, and a sustained reputation – a strong Graduate School at Goldsmiths can secure long-term intellectual identification of/with Goldsmiths (we are not just a teaching factory, but must position ourselves as a permanent intellectual home for students, alumni and staff).

Goldsmiths is already an excellent atmosphere in which to pursue advanced research, with enthusiastic students and dedicated staff. What we need to do now is two-fold – to consolidate Goldsmiths’ reputation as an environment for graduate research with an open engaging structure, with excellent institutional support (buildings, procedures, formal and social action), and to coherently promote Goldsmiths as a serious and sophisticated, cutting edge, intellectually driven, world-class scholarly milieu. What we need most perhaps is a new catalyst with which to advance what is best about Goldsmiths as a significant and dynamic place for graduate research (and we do desperately need to deal with some infrastructural limitations, provide a physical presence, enhance library resources, etc).

A place of scholarship and excellence, expression, diversity and commitment…

It must be admitted that the Graduate school would serve competing tendencies.

What we might consider for the Graduate School is a structure and a space that provides the solid, reassuring, competent and institutionally secure environment that facilitates the best of scholarship in the university tradition, provides connections and support for research careers, training and progress, AND at the same time offers a haven for an uninhibited intelligence, where ideas and motivation can thrive, in an environment that is more than just cramming, training and protocol. A social environment with a serious intellectual and inspirational focus, a place of ideas.

As Dean, I propose to work towards a Graduate School that provides support for research culture and research students. I see the Graduate School becoming an attractive, strategic, local, national and international draw card, complimenting departmental research cultures, and fostering Goldsmiths’ inherent, but often incipient, interdisciplinarity. The Graduate School would seek to develop:

- Refined codes of practice, regulations reviews, monitoring; development of research students/supervisor guidelines and review of all published documentation; clarify lines of support for postgraduate inquiry, problem solving, day-to-day focus;

- Targeted and stimulating training framework, skills and academic development, dedicated career advice for research degree students; fostering entry into scholarly community (and into other professions);

- Quality assurance, accountability, democracy, transparency; commitment to independence of thought, open exchange of ideas; debate;

- Scholarships and bursaries; dedicated support for staff to include research fellowships in their grants; develop links with Max Planck, Clore, India PMI and UKIERI funding schemes,

- European and other initiatives to secure resources for postgraduates from home and overseas;

- Close links with the International Office, Admissions, Student Records, Student Support, the GCSU (promote idea of a Graduate Officer), web-team, and other Goldsmiths administrative units; work towards coherence of MA programmes and plans for MA and PGSE involvement in graduate School;

- A series of high profile Graduate School workshops with leading intellectuals in various fields (see below); a named list of Graduate School Associate Faculty (from the departments) to give profile and standing;

- A Graduate School lecture series, possibly co-ordinated with Inaugural Lectures; Graduate Summer Schools; International visits, liaison, collaboration on the Frankfurt/Copenhagen (and future India, China) models;

- Dedicated advanced publishing and publications support for students, including web publishing, blogs, podcasting and possibly through a new Postgraduate Hallmark (with a more dynamic newspaper style design) and;

- A spectacular new Graduate School publication (see below)


A place of ideas and inspiration, public and private…

I propose a Graduate School that is formal and mature, scholarly and prestigious, which will also make space for speculation and the flash of insight. In various disciplines, a doubled (and multiple, even dialectical) configuration has long been recognised. I propose making multiplicity a key metaphor for initiating a series of workshops to establish the Graduate School first and foremost as a forum of exciting and expressive thinking. For example: through a series of cross-theme interdisciplinary workshops (perhaps five events in the first year, with published proceedings in a newspaper and/or web format): an invited international speaker would give a public GS lecture and spend two or more days in workshops listening to and commenting on graduate research presentations, thus combining public profile with intensive advanced teaching. These events could be written up, linked to publications in newsletter or in more ambitious formats (see below). These workshops would thereby have public promotional and internal pedagogic dimensions. They might be initiated through joint proposals from two or more departments of the college at a time, but opened to the entire GS, for example:

there might be a suggestion from Anthropology and English for a reflection of the importance of ‘non’-anthropologists to the traditions of cultural commentary evaluating the popularity of William Burroughs, Kurt Vonnegut, Ursula Le Guin, Peter Carey, Will Self;

or perhaps from Design and Visual Cultures, a practically informed critique, and exhibition, of the role of Dada and Surrealism as conduit of radical thinking and of creeping commercialisation;

from CUCR and Computing the importance of rhetorical flair, numeracy and repetitive/econometric tropes for the literature of world bank policy documents;

from Politics and Psychology, the articulation of problematics party politics and promotion with the sloganeering of ‘the personal is political’, through feminism, psychoanalysis and self-help literatures…

from the Screen School, CCS and Music, a workshop on ways to radically re-invent Music – television (with spin-off development to rival MTV.

There are many possibilities and these are not at all the most original ones that could be imagined, but rather are simple speculative illustrations to be replaced by negotiated and developed ideas sought through a call for proposals to the departments and graduate students. Funding for such initiatives would be paramount, with some college funds and outside sources tapped as needed.

A spectacular new Graduate School publication to make Goldsmiths Research visible, voluble and shining in the public eye…

Goldsmiths must remain a leader in its fields and to this end the college needs a flagship scholarly publication. This publication must rival surpass international benchmarks and serve as a key identifier of the College. For comparisons sake we might think of the impact that ZKM publications have had for the Karlsruhe Centre for Art and Media Technology; the ZONE books series; Semiotexte and Autonomedia; the MIT Press (indeed, we might work towards a book series through a prominent publisher – Polity or Pluto would be interested). This publication could carry short articles by the many prominent visitors and associates of Goldsmiths, and it could showcase Graduate Student and Staff research, writing, photography, innovative work of all kinds. It would have very high end printing ideals and sophisticated, stylised lay-out. It would become the flagship publication of the Graduate School, and perhaps of the College. It would be a must have item on every thinking persons coffee table – the critical glossy of all glossies. We might call it “Scribble” or some other reference to the idea of making visible the diverse creative and critical activities that go on in postgraduate research at Goldsmiths every day behind many doors, inside many lecture and seminar rooms. We have suffered without such a flagship publication – the award winning College prospectus and the (frankly quite tame) mid-1990s history of the College can only do so much – we need a dynamic, new, and HOT HOT HOT publication.

This publication would require participation by a number of parts of the College, to be co-ordinated by the Dean and others recruited to the editorial team:
Editorial Committee (staff and students, relevant College units)
Designer (cutting edge, key input from students)
Commissioning co-editors (Dean plus student for training experience)
Referees (high standards)
Publisher (high production values)
Distribution (global, a key promotional device for the Graduate School)

Finally, a Graduate School Dean fit for purpose…

John Hutnyk May 2006

OK, that’s it. A bit over the top, but something that can be renegotiated into a Goldsmiths five year plan that might be bareable. To include a slick new renovated premises (I can see a building across the way that would be fine) a cafe with good coffee and food, conference centre, seminar and study rooms, corrals, lounges, couches, and an intelligent life. Something that we almost have, but not quite, and are always in danger of wrecking, if its not already gone.

The first pic (at teh top) is nicked from the pure and applied site – a business network, consultancy and training initiative – a “spin-out company, to handle all the commercial activity within the university”. This site is one that I only just discovered today (sort of keeping it quiet?, or Goldsmiths is just way to big?). I’ll comment more on these corporate-university spin-offs later, having written on these for Nettime (in the Nettime Reader [downloadable here]) and The Assembly, and elsewhere on think tanks. Its lovely to see all those ‘incubaton’ metaphors still thriving. Stop and stare: Pure and Applied – http://www.puregoldsmiths.com/pureapp/index.html

The second pic (just above) offers an opportunity to ‘meet socialist studetns’ – I guess the swampies keep them locked up the rest of the time. Hope to see em more often.

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Comments

  • bri  On 26/06/2006 at 8:26 am

    Wow, that is terrifying. (As are the spin offs – Attainable Utopias – ‘licensed to dream’). Though it looks like they are not terribly active – 2005 seems to have been the heyday. Pity, they seem a particularly good match for the Goldsmiths rebranding exercise. They could have come up with similarly wonderfully empty statements – gotta love ‘PureGold’ though! And hey, they are focused on the ‘Creative and Cultural Industries’, just like the CCS. Maybe you could partner up.

    Best of luck today, you know that even just having you in the prcoess has stoked a lot of fires that might be burning for a while…

    Like

  • Maria Technosux  On 26/06/2006 at 3:19 pm

    I have a question I have always wanted to ask:

    Why must academics always resort to quoting Adorno (or quoting Bourdieu, or quoting Lubiano) in order to somehow “justify” their positions in academia?

    I remember Dr. Mimi Nguyen’s old website (which she took down), where she said that she hated having to work a “Brotjob” at a book-store as a student because of having to deal with racist customers who would ask her or her friend, as she was folding the book-wrapper, “Do you do origami too?” (they’re Asian Americans).

    Clearly an academic position is preferable to doing this kind of scut work and having to smile to racist customers.

    “I am an academic because I don’t wish to return back to such a racist underpaid workspace, and I consider my education the way out of this sorry fate.”

    Instead of such a simple statement, on her new website, she gave us the usual rhetoric,
    quoting Wahneema Lubiano where she said:


    [T]he academy itself is part of what George Lipsitz has called “the enormous industry of meaning making.” The pressure that is organized under the sign of multiculturalism and placed on universities, colleges, and the public school system to change curriculum, admissions, and faculty and staff composition, has forced such institutions to respond, in however adequate and attentuated a fashion, to the demands of traditionally marginalized cultures for the inclusion of individuals, for group power, and for some reorganization of these institutions. It can be made to do more. But why would we want to make a sinking ship do more? Apart from the fact that the ship is something that is going to pull us down if it doesn’t transform, if it isn’t made to transform, we will have abandoned it to others. To abandon the university as a site for this kind of work is to abandon the incredibly powerful if co-effected relationship between the university system, the primary and secondary educational system in the United States, and a military and international global economy.

    http://www.worsethanqueer.com/slander/120699.html

    This kind of rhetoric about “saving a sinking shit lest it be abandoned to the right-wingers” of course sounds way more heroic than simply stating that you don’t want to do scut work.

    So why not just say:

    I am an academic because I don’t want to do scut work.

    I am an academic because this is one of the few jobs where I can avoid becoming “working poor”.

    I am an academic because I did not spend 10.000 bucks on my education reading Foucault’s _The Birth of the Prison_ year in year out just to end up that the doors of the Military/Industrial complex begging them for a job, any job. (or: being forced to take on such a job because of workfare programs that strip one of ones academic titles).

    I am an academic because of all the workfare programs that were forced down my throat by the Social Services since I became unemployed, working for half the minimum wage at the University is still preferable to working for half the minimum wage at a spam-call-center (and sorry for going on and on about this, but what I describe here is the real work-life story of several unemployed academics in the Netherlands. My school, the University of Amsterdam, has colluded with the Social Services, thus exploiting unemployed academics in this way for years now).

    What is wrong with simply telling (this part of) the truth?

    Other than this, good luck.

    Like

  • John Hutnyk  On 26/06/2006 at 5:43 pm

    Maria – all tru adn fine points, but of course you are a creature of this ship too I guess – (wish I could link here to the various posts on pirates…). In any case, I am an academic because at one point long ago I could no longer get a job doing what I used to do in a factory when I was ‘working poor’ – I am a ‘qualified picture framer, wahey! – and it was not totaly shit work, but close. The beauty of the current predicament is that having spent all this time since then reading and writing about Adorno while my we all watched the ship sink (bailing furiously in our own corner perhaps, but not adequately organised), its now aqualung time. Or did you really mean shinking shit – a truly great typo if accidental. – J.

    Like

  • Anonymous  On 26/06/2006 at 7:53 pm

    Aqualung my friend, don’t you start away, uneasy…

    Anyways, why not mention being academics so others maybe don’t have to work shit jobs? [Or would that require recourse to too deep-of-theorists (though in this context, I'm not sure Lenin would be as maligned as dear old Adorno)...]

    But sadly, Lenin might not have a voice in the Grad School after all – though how exciting if you could engineer a take-over of Goldsmiths! One ship at a time, ’tis the pirate way.

    Like

  • John Hutnyk  On 27/06/2006 at 9:25 am

    And Maria, more on the sinking shit typo. I find I managed my own (we have a ‘theme’) when I was writing to explain myself to the PhD students… ie to explain why I think a Leninst/bad Marxist might want to do an admin job (the Adorno quote also has this ironic pathos, no). Anyway, the first sentence gives it away bog by bog:

    “Some people may know there was a call for applications to do a half time job running the new Graduate School at Goldsmiths. See below, bog report.

    The Senior Management Team are supposed to have decided this today [monday - now tuesday still no 'result', which is how it should have been with the Italian dive squad last night], so I guess my involvement was an exercise in trying to influence a direction of the college (I was afraid the idea was turning very bureaucratic in committee and I think at least my comments on Academic Board and elsewhere steered it back towards some sort of intellectual project not promotional branding – ie back from the world of Quality Assurance and Harmonisation – of course these are ever so crucial also). Anyway, several PhD students have seen this and commented on or about the blog, so I am making it more public.

    It was never the case that I was giving up on CCS I must point out, just uncertainty about my having only half a post. Seems I have left Anthro but not secured full time in CCS yet. This anomaly has been rectified verbally, but not on paper. Scott and I meet with the Pro-Warden in two weeks to sort it out.
    be well
    -J”

    Like

  • Jeff Kinkle  On 27/06/2006 at 10:25 am

    Alongside Adorno this quote by his other half is slightly less encouraging but perhaps worth considering…
    “a revolutionary career does not lead to banquets and honorary titles, interesting research and professorial wages. It leads to misery, disgrace, ingratitude, prison and a voyage into the unknown, illuminated by only an almost superhuman belief.”
    Max Horkheimer

    Like

  • Anonymous  On 27/06/2006 at 5:13 pm

    John,
    thank you for sharing your thoughts on how the new GS could be: thanks for having made things public, which is indeed very political, as a graduate school should be – a political pirate bay open to swift and agile ships.

    When imagination is sinking, enclosing culture in the artificial boundaries dictated by industries, perhaps nothing more than a thriving community of young students-artists-activists can counter the bureaucratic turn of university administration and take critical thought back where it should belong…

    good luck!
    a~

    Like

  • Mark F.  On 28/06/2006 at 2:28 pm

    Hey John,

    Re-functioning the institution at the moment of a founding, eh? Sounds like the theoretical core of my thesis (kinda). Regardless of whatever the Name of Lenin might bring to this, maybe try seeing this as an ‘anomic’ event/space? State of exception, eh? Law (and whatever the ‘law of law’ might mean) and culture (or your possible Leninist motifs, which you obviously should be wary about) intermingling at the moment of a founding. I guess these are questions rather than comments. What ‘laws’ or ‘conventions’ are already on the books? Goldsmiths’s books? The State’s books? Instead of grafting onto a so-called pre-established schema, maybe see how such ‘conventions’ can be re-configured, re-functioned, or re-per-form-ed (and you don’t have to be ‘loud’ about it)? And regarding the comment above about Adorno and positions, I don’t think it’s mere name-dropping in John’s case. Aesthetic Theory: ‘the secret omnipresence of resistance’? I interpret that as meaning: you don’t need the flashy displays of ‘revolution’ (commodified, check), you don’t need silk-screened Che Guevara t-shirts (way way annoyingly commodified, check), you don’t need a safety-pin lodged into your nose (awww, but I like Vivienne Westwood). In other words, the Name of Lenin is not necessary, especially if you and OTHERS can make this a genuine collaborative effort. Or to be an annoying Deleuzian (jk!), a ‘rhizomatic’ one. If capital is about that line inscribed between owners and non-owners (among other issues, but wouldn’t that be the fundamental one for Mr Marx?), what are you doing to get rid of that line? (That’s if you agree that that line is re-iterable, not systematic)

    Sorry. I’ll shut up now!

    Like

  • John Hutnyk  On 29/06/2006 at 7:30 am

    And so I did not get the post, but this does not mean there should be no further debate about the shape of the goldsmiths graduate school. I’ll volunteer for the committee, not least to find out just why it was thought my ‘having no financial plan’ was sufficient reason to not give me the job. It went to Carrie from Education. Hey ho, hi ho, since when do pirates need a fiancial plan?

    Like

  • Mark F.  On 29/06/2006 at 9:42 am

    Booooooo. Sorry you didn’t get the job.

    As for pirates, they may not have a ‘financial plan’, but they sure as hell worry about booty a lot, no?

    Booty. Now that’s a word one doesn’t use everyday…

    Like

  • Maria Technosux  On 29/06/2006 at 2:03 pm

    Or did you really mean shinking shit – a truly great typo if accidental

    I SWEAR the Gawd it was a typo! Hahaha! It is certainly the kind of Freudian slip/typo Andrea Fraser would have come up with (like her “sincere jesture” instead of gesture)!

    Tex.

    Like

  • Maria Technosux  On 29/06/2006 at 3:00 pm

    re: Anon


    Anyways, why not mention being academics so others maybe don’t have to work shit jobs?

    When imagination is sinking, enclosing culture in the artificial boundaries dictated by industries, perhaps nothing more than a thriving community of young students-artists-activists can counter the bureaucratic turn of university administration and take critical thought back where it should belong…

    I have encountered so much hostility from academics when the Group of Unemployed Academics was started in the Netherlands, that I find it hard to believe that academics are making sure others don’t have to do scut work. Most of them respond with a “burn the bridges behind me”/”live and let die” kneejerk reflex when confronted with the existence of their unemployed colleagues. If any sympathetic academics do exist, please send them over to the Netherlands!

    Overall, I am very skeptical of any claims that academics are “doing it for the people”, even when the people they refer to are the people of their own academic field. Read the text below and you will understand why:


    Because I’m a blasphemous girl, I haven’t dedicated my academic career to this amorphous thing everyone keeps bringing up to justify their work and to dismiss mine: “the people.”

    Nope, I have no charts, no graphs, no “useful” suggestions for “community organizing” or “uplifting the masses.” (My annoyance is no secret in the department, I say it all the time to professors and other students.)

    I fist-pound for parody, poststructuralism, dystopian moments, ambivalence, sex, and ghosts. Because it’s theory, and worse, feminist and queer theory (with a dash of performance and film), it’s “inaccessible” and “unclear.” Pointless, is the suggestion. “The people” can’t use the stuff, or don’t care. (This works only under the assumption that “the people” are all male and heterosexual. Which, I think, is the general assumption or at least the not-so-neutral ideal of “community” some people are working with.)

    Writing, in my department, has to have purpose. A political purpose. You (a general “you”) write because you want to better the conditions of “the people.” If I can’t offer a discernible blueprint for social justice, well, why am I wasting my time writing?

    http://www.worsethanqueer.com/slander/11498.html

    Elsewhere she wrote (I can’t find it) something along the lines of: “If the revolution by the people ever comes about, we academics will not have anything to do with it.”

    I wanted to tell her: “Considering how anti-intellectual some populist movements are, maybe you are merely wishful-thinking that you won’t be dragged along, and you might end up having to do with it in ways you don’t like or want to even think about when you claim that such sweeping movements will merely pass you by.”

    In my most cynical moments I tend to think that academics insist on “doing it for the people” because they, unlike Dr. Mimi Nguyen, assume the very opposite, i.e. that they will inevitably have to do with it, that they will be dragged along, and are a-priori trying to exonerate themselves because deep down inside they assume a worst case scenario should this happen. In their heads it’s paradoxically already happening.

    Tex.

    Like

  • Padraig  On 30/06/2006 at 10:22 am

    I think I need to get a t-shirt with ‘sinking ship/t’ emblazoned on the front. It would certainly reflect my feelings when I heard the reasons for you not getting the job. A Graduate School is a cost centre and needs to make money, or so I was told. Well sucks to that. I’m off to jump on a passing pirate ship… I look very nice with a cutlass about my waist.

    Like

  • John Hutnyk  On 08/07/2006 at 5:30 pm

    Earlier it was anthropologists being head hunted by television. Then there was Saatchi & Saatchi’s CULT-GEISTT global intelligence network, and various other corporate education fandangle-athons: the ‘pureGoldsmiths’ link at the end of my failed attempt [above] to revamp ALL graduate provision at Goldsmiths (OK, it was a mad idea) and various comments on think tanks. Now its getting that the world is tailoring services to make industrial linked drones of us all.
    Read the letter on my links page that I’ve just posted, its a madness: Letter re Industry
    j.

    Like

  • James B  On 11/07/2006 at 1:22 pm

    Thanks John for bringing the Attainable Utopias (off-shoot of PureGoldsmiths) project to our attention. If this is at all representative of the GS governing thinking I guess that’s where you went wrong with your application – you didn’t quite manage to embody their motto – ‘No problems…only visions’ (although you had a good go.)

    The AU website invites us to dream, and to submit what we come up with to the DreamExchange, where it has a chance of being planted in the DreamNursery and eventually the DreamGarden. At first it appears that what they are talking about could not be more alien to dreaming, e.g.:

    - Dreaming is defined as ‘daring to think beyond the possible’ – as long as you keep it ‘attainable’;
    - Dreams are allowed to ‘reflect your deepest desires’ – but must always be ‘consensual’;
    - Dreams can only be ‘positive’.

    However, it soon transpires that the AU Dreamscape is in good psychoanalytic health, with a fully functioning superego to engineer repression. The Dreamscape is divided into a public and a private sector. Only the Attainable Utopias staff are actually allowed to plant Dreamtrees. You can send them your seedlings, but if they don’t like them (why? because they’re too dreamlike to be attainable? too attainable to be visionary?), your Dreams die there and then. But don’t worry: a helpful Code of Conduct explains how to dream acceptably. It’s no surprise that the DreamScapeMap (http://attainable-utopias.org/tiki/tiki-index.php?page=DreamScapeMap) bears a resemblance to Freud’s diagrams of the unconscious/ego-id-superego.

    Of course, such cynicism is against everything AU stand for, and I am guilty of the sin of thinking that 20th century history has anything to do with the 21st century:

    “Is it true that most of us find ‘dystopia’ more imaginable than utopia? If so, it is rather odd. As citizens of the 21st century we have never had more access to more information or technology. Our collective knowledge has never been more extensive. Our institutions of learning have never worked harder in finding better solutions to more problems. So why are we cynical and pessimistic about the idea of Utopia?” (http://www.attainable-utopias.org/new/material/papers/au_booklet.pdf)

    Anyway, commiserations on not getting the job, we’re all worse off as a result…

    Like

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