AtHQ – Some Thoughts on Work…

Since the last Attack the Headquarters I have been thinking about the nature of work… especially with all the discussions about theory, practice, vocational and educational issues.

To start with a provocation: When Stanley Aronowitz spoke a few weeks ago, he mentioned that he saw part of his role as an academic as finding his students jobs. Perhaps if this happened here, students would be less likely to be bought out by Unilever…… how about it John?!

On a more realistic (?) note I was excited by the idea that the workers enquiries that have been written through the MA’s Marx module be published in some form, and I would be very happy to be involved with this.

Over the last year I have also been slowly producing some art works that are loosely connected to the theme of ‘work’, and at the back of my mind, have wondered about organising an exhibition in order to show them.

Thinking about collective activity, it occurred to me that these two projects might fit well together. Perhaps an exhibition somewhere in the local area could provide a platform for distributing a newspaper type publication of workers enquiries, films, discussions and debates (about the nature of work in a wide sense from meaningful activity to wage labour?) and workshops with local community groups. Local working history of the area could be explored, or people excluded from working such as asylum seekers be involved. Perhaps this would in some way be connected to the mapping of Goldsmiths and the local area that we have been talking about or just be a parallel event…..

Any thoughts?

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Comments

  • john hutnyk  On 19/06/2008 at 3:48 pm

    Thanks Claudia, and well, apart from a kinda ultra romantic view that would say all work is a trick, designed to facilitate surplus value extraction… and that unlike Stanley I think it unseemly to crow so much about it … I will at least mention here that all my completed PhD students have secured jobs or postdocs, a number even before having finished their PhD (and perhaps part of the reason some of them have not yet finished). So, for sure CCS is taking care of business in that regard (ahem, for good or ill, there is a certain success story, but how would Stanley have known).

    The latter (realistic) idea is great – and a good development of what we had talked about in the session on June 3. There are a number of locations that could be useful. Upstairs in the Amersham, the Art Space in the old Deptford Library on Lewisham Way (how ironic – a library turned into work space) or similar. Transpontine (to which I have often linked here) would be a crucial resource. I do think it really important to connect these things. The HQ should not be a navel gazing exercise, even if Goldsmiths did start life as a Naval academy!

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  • Claudia  On 20/06/2008 at 11:10 am

    - The old library space sounds good. Maybe funding can be found through Arts Council or similar.

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  • catherinebuca  On 20/06/2008 at 7:55 pm

    I thought supervisors – at least at PhD level – were *supposed* to assist with jobs and stuff. I know I would, nowt wrong with a bit of nepotism :)

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  • john hutnyk  On 21/06/2008 at 11:48 am

    Hi Catherine, its not nepotism, its called writing references, support, collegiality, and its legitimate, and as I was pointing out, any suggestion that CCS PhD graduates are not the most employable is countered by the actual facts. It is a whole separate issue as to whether we think its a good thing to flood the world with high spec readers of the various Logics (of sense, the greater, the shorter, the critique thereof, the negative dialogic…) as some sort of master plan to retool the HQs of the planet with a critical substratum of theory-service workers, who one day will pull a switch somewhere and – kapow – the whole spectacular system will fall. Though, sometimes that is what it seems we grandiosely think we are working towards. John

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  • maria_tex  On 21/06/2008 at 9:44 pm

    I am thinking of that part in Critique of Exotica where you quote from that flyer where the author was making fun of the idea of a world where everyone “works” at think-tanks.

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