20 July 2011


I wrote with Mme Tlank on parenting, care work and nannying over at Mute (the letter bit is me, the clever bit is Mme Tlank) after going to the Mamsie study day I posted here about a while back.

By the way I'm aware this blog has become a shameless exercise in self promotion of late, I promise to stop this soon. Plus I have very little work pending publication now which means I actually have to (get to!) do some new stuff, which I am excited about.

13 July 2011

Short story...

at Zouch (some of you may have read this before...)

6 July 2011


published at The Literateur...yes!

Statement in relation to the outlawing of the Copenhagen Free University: All power to the free universities of the future!

Dear Friends,

Please find below a statement in relation to the outlawing of the
Copenhagen Free University, please circulate and let us know about
conditions for self-organisation where you are!

All power to the free universities of the future

The Copenhagen Free University was an attempt to reinvigorate the
emancipatory aspect of research and learning, in the midst of an
ongoing economisation of all knowledge production in society. Seeing
how education and research were being subsumed into an industry
structured by a corporate way of thinking, we intended to bring the
idea of the university back to life. By life, we mean the messy life
people live within the contradictions of capitalism. We wanted to
reconnect knowledge production, learning and skill sharing to the
everyday within a self-organised institutional framework of a free
university. Our intention was multi-layered and was of course partly
utopian, but also practical and experimental. We turned our flat in
Copenhagen into a university by the very simple act of declaring 'this
is a university'. By this transformative speech act the domestic
setting of our flat became a university. It didn't take any
alterations to the architecture other than the small things needed in
terms of having people in your home staying over, presenting thoughts,
researching archival material, screening films, presenting documents
and works of art. Our home became a public institution dedicated to
the production process of communal knowledge and fluctuating desires.

The ethos of the CFU was critical and opinionated about the
ideological nature of knowledge, which meant that we did not try to
cover the institution in a cloud of dispassionate neutrality and
transcendence as universities traditionally do. The Copenhagen Free
University became a site of socialised and politicised research,
developing knowledge and debate around certain fields of social
practice. During its six years of existence, the CFU entered into five
fields of research: feminist organisation, art and economy, escape
subjectivity, television/media activism and art history. The projects
were initiated with the experience of the normative nature of
mainstream knowledge production and research, allowing us to see how
certain areas of critical practice were being excluded. Since we
didn't wanted to replicate the structure of the formal universities,
the way we developed the research was based on open calls to people
who found interest in our fields or interest in our perspective on
knowledge production. Slowly the research projects were collectively
constructed through the display of material, presentations, meetings,
and spending time together. The nature of the process was sharing and
mutual empowerment, not focusing on a final product or paper, but
rather on the process of communisation and redistribution of facts and
feelings. Parallel to the development of the CFU, we started to see
self-organised universities sprouting up everywhere. Over this time,
the basic question we were constantly asking ourselves was, what kind
of university do we need in relation to our everyday? This question
could only be answered in the concrete material conditions of our
lives. The multiplicity of self-organised universities that were
starting in various places, and which took all kinds of structures and
directions, reflected the diversity of these material conditions. This
showed that the neoliberal university model was only one model among
many models; the only one given as a model to the students of capital.

As the strategy of self-institution focused on taking power and not
accepting the dualism between the mainstream and the alternative, this
in itself carried some contradictions. The CFU had for us become a too
fixed identifier of a certain discourse relating to emancipatory
education within academia and the art scene. Thus we decided to shut
down the CFU in the winter of 2007 as a way of withdrawing the CFU
from the landscape. We did this with the statement 'We Have Won' and
shut the door of the CFU just before the New Year. During the six
years of the CFU's existence, the knowledge economy had rapidly, and
aggressively, become the norm around us in Copenhagen and in northern
Europe. The rise of social networking, lifestyle and intellectual
property as engines of valorisation meant that the knowledge economy
was expanding into the tiniest pores of our lives and social
relations. The state had turned to a wholesale privatisation of former
public educational institutions, converting them into mines of raw
material for industry in the shape of ideas, desires and human beings.
But this normalising process was somehow not powerful enough to
silence all forms of critique and dissent; other measures were

In December 2010 we received a formal letter from the Ministry of
Science, Technology and Innovation telling us that a new law had
passed in the parliament that outlawed the existence of the Copenhagen
Free University together with all other self-organised and free
universities. The letter stated that they were fully aware of the fact
that we do not exist any more, but just to make sure they wished to
notify us that "In case the Copenhagen Free University should resume
its educational activities it would be included under the prohibition
in the university law §33". In 2010 the university law in Denmark was
changed, and the term 'university' could only be used by institutions
authorised by the state. We were told that this was to protect 'the
students from being disappointed'. As we know numerous people who are
disappointed by the structural changes to the educational sector in
recent years, we have decided to contest this new clampdown by opening
a new free university in Copenhagen. This forms part of our insistence
that the emancipatory perspective of education should still be on the
map. We demand the law be scrapped or altered, allowing self-organised
and free universities to be a part of a critical debate around the
production of knowledge now and in the society of the future.

We call for everybody to establish their own free universities in
their homes or in the workplace, in the square or in the wilderness.
All power to the free universities of the future.

The Free U Resistance Committee of June 18 2011.

Practicalities in Denmark: Please send a mail to the Minister of
Science, Technology and Innovation declaring your university
(min@vtu.dk) and cc. to the The Danish Agency of Universities

Please circulate!

1 July 2011


I wrote some sort of poetry, which I put up here before under 'Writing Restraints'. It's been published by Zouch, which is pretty cool...here it is!