Thursday, May 29, 2014

the medes


the medes is a volunteer collective of academic writers, artists, photographers and videographers advocating for social change

the medes [thəmēds]

We are an online multimedia publication that seeks to bring honest reporting and emotive art together through innovative media to promote social equality within our community.
Founded in Denver, Colorado in early 2012, the medes is a project of the nonprofit organization, Media Action Network (MAN) and was originally started out of frustration with the lack of coverage in mainstream media on the myriad of social justice issues facing our communities today.

We are run entirely by a volunteer collective. This collective consists of a wide-variety of contributors: writers, researchers, graphic designers, artists, photographers, and videographers. By blending the academic pursuit of social equality with artistic ability, we focus on social justice both from a written and visual perspective. We seek to bring awareness to the gamut of issues – including many in the human rights and environmental categories – which receive little to no attention through conventional media outlets.

the medes is run entirely on volunteer time and donation dollars.  If you would like to be a part of this effort in any form other MAN projects, please visit our contact page or our donate page.


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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Academics Raise Alarm Over U.S. Trade Deal

Academics raise alarm over US trade agreement
22nd May 2014

Higher education must be excluded from any future trade partnership between the EU and the United States to avoid an influx of private universities, according to university groups.

Concerns have been raised as discussions are under way about a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, designed to reduce barriers to trading goods and services. Discussions on the TTIP began in July last year and are proceeding on the basis of a negative list approach, meaning that unless a subject is explicitly excluded, it could be up for negotiation. If higher education is tabled, the implications are that both sides could open their borders to free competition from elsewhere, a stark change for many EU countries in which universities are state-owned and protected.

Howard Davies, an adviser at the European University Association, says higher education is a public good that should remain outside the remit of such an agreement. It’s mainly a member state jurisdiction, and member states should continue to have the right to run their systems as they please, he says.

Education International, the global federation of teachers unions, is also pushing for education to be exempt. ‘Including it in an EU-US partnership would directly lead to an increase in privatisation, which we oppose’, says Guntars Catlaks, the unions senior coordinator for research. Negotiators are also considering agreements on the mutual recognition of professional qualifications, intellectual property, e-commerce and data protection, which could affect universities.

Some member states may support a TTIP higher education agreement as they are in favour of commodification. In the UK there are universities that have opened campuses abroad and the whole ambience is entrepreneurial, says Davies. But that’s not true of other countries.

However, awareness of the TTIP negotiations in universities and rector associations remains low, which could be a problem if higher education is included in a final deal. If an agreement is reached, it will be presented to ministers and the European Parliament and there won’t be much time for lobby groups to amend whatever has been decided, says Davies.

The Parliament and environmental groups have been pushing for more transparency in the discussions to aid public debate. Davies says this has made the negotiating parties more nervous about public opinion. But it will never be totally transparent because you can’t conduct negotiations in a glass box, he says.

This article also appeared in Research Europe
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Steven Kelk, Sunday 7th July 2013 (from GATSeducation Yahoo Group:
Negotiations begin on new services deal (05 July 2013)

Trade talks aimed at developing a new global services pact have begun following an agreement on a negotiating framework earlier this year.

The Trade in International Services Agreement (TISA) is being negotiated by the so-called ‘Real Good Friends of Services’ within the World Trade Organisation: Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, European Union, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, and the United States.

Informal talks within the group began last year in response to pressure from business groups frustrated with the impasse in WTO negotiations to develop new and enhanced commitments under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).

In March, negotiators agreed to adopt a ‘hybrid’ framework for the talks which would involve countries making market access commitments on a ‘positive list’ basis, and national treatment on a ‘negative list’ basis. With a positive list approach, countries agree to liberalise only those service sectors that they agree to, while with a negative list agreeing to liberalise all areas except those explicitly excluded.

The WTO members engaged in the talks have indicated that no service sector will be excluded, but some are pushing for priorities. A joint Australia-EU paper issued late last year suggested 10 issues should be the focus of the TISA: cross-border movement of professionals; domestic regulation and transparency; financial services; professional services; information and communications services; transport and logistics services;  maritime services; environmental services; energy services; and government procurement.

‘While education services are not a specific focus of the talks to date, we nevertheless need to watch developments closely, says Education International’s trade consultant David Robinson. ‘For instance, the inclusion of domestic regulation could affect rules around the  accreditation of schools, and around qualification requirements that could  have an impact on the design and delivery of vocational education and training’.

Robinson added that the targeting of financial services for further liberalisation is particularly worrisome given how weak regulatory oversight played a key role in the economic crisis of 2008.

‘If there’s anything we’ve learned over the past few years it’s that the liberalisation of financial services has been a catastrophic disaster for the economy, for government finances, for working people, and for public services including education,’ Robinson said. ‘Trade deals threaten to constrain policy space precisely at a time when governments need to rein in the financial sector’.

Robinson noted reports that the financial industry is lobbying to use trade deals as a way of weakening domestic regulations.

According to U.S. Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, there are ‘growing murmurs’ about the financial industry’s efforts to ‘do quietly through trade agreements what they can’t get done in public view with the lights on and people watching’.

In letter published in May, Peter Allgeier, a former U.S. Trade Representative and now president of the Coalition of Services Industries, said that trade rules require that regulations are ‘least trade and investment distorting’ and do not constitute a ‘disguised barrier to trade’.

Meanwhile, WTO members not participating in the TISA talks have criticized the initiative as undermining the multilateral approach of the WTO. Brazil, China, and India have been vocal opponents of TISA.


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Higher Education Policy


Society for Research into Higher Education

Date - 18 June 2014, 13.00-16:00
Venue - London Metropolitan University, 166-220 Holloway Road, London, N7 8DB
Network - Higher Education Policy

This seminar will consider the often contested relationship between teaching and research in higher education. It is particularly timely given the recent call by David Willetts, Minister for Universities, for a cultural change towards a greater emphasis on teaching. The context is one in which research reputation is critical in the global prestige economy of higher education, but where designations of academics and universities as ‘teaching-only’ are not uncommon in an increasingly diversified and stratified HE sector. 

‘‘Can we speak of ‘teaching’ and ‘research’ any more, and what does this mean for academic work?”
William Locke, (Institute of Education University of London)
The separation of teaching and research is the result of policy and operational decisions made over some forty years or so to distinguish the way these activities are funded, managed, assessed and rewarded.  This separation has gone so far that institutions and individuals that wish to, must make deliberate efforts to optimise the beneficial relationships between the two core activities.  It could also be argued that the descriptive terms ‘research’ and ‘teaching’ no longer adequately capture the vast array of activities that institutions providing higher education now undertake.  Yet the processes of extension, fragmentation and disintegration, paradoxically, may be creating new spaces and opportunities for reintegrating and reinventing the core activities of higher education.
For this potential to be fully realised, however, may require a very different division of labour and, in particular, a significant reconfiguring of academic work.  This contribution will build on an international study of the academic profession, current evidence of changes in the academy during the recession and studies undertaken for the HEA.

“Re-Rethinking links between research, teaching and educational agendas: Should we?”
Dr. Vicky Gunn, (University of Glasgow)
This presentation will note the discursive re-valuing of teaching agendas within research-intensive institutions as part of an apparent shift in emphasis within UK (in different ways depending on the devolved funding regime) and European contexts.  In such a renewed policy focus, pragmatic questions about what this might mean in actuality have yet to be answered.
As this discursive shift is also happening at a time of change in the way academic career pathways are developing, the links between the researcher roles and teaching responsibilities are being embodied through reward and recognition criteria which do not necessarily align with the more centrally driven agendas outlined in the policy statements.  Indeed, reward and recognition criteria tend to focus on individual activity and are not necessarily underpinned with a problematised understanding of the orientations towards aspects of research as well as education that seem present in the academic community.
This paper will outline two sets of orientations: those related to being a researcher as identified by Hakali & Ylijoki (2001) and Åkerlind (2008) and those related to the educational outcomes academics ascribe to what a university education is about (Gunn & Fisk, 2013).  It will suggest that from these, within research-intensive contexts in particular, we might need a new frame of reference for research-teaching linkages, one that encompasses the discussions and practices of the last decade, but reorients curricular activity towards the spaces of researcher development as it is now constructed. 
The discussion will draw on the presenter’s work relating to the development of graduate attributes through research-teaching linkages (QAA Scotland) and her recent HEA commissioned review, Considering Teaching Excellence in HE since 2007.

Lunch will be available at 1pm and the event will start at 1.40. After each paper there will be time for questions and discussion, followed by an opportunity to discuss issues raised in both papers over tea or coffee.

For further details about the Higher Education Policy Network, please contact the network convenor, Prof. Carole Leathwood, Institute for Policy Studies in Education, London Metropolitan University,

To reserve a place:

Note: Unless otherwise stated SRHE events are free to members, there is a charge of £60 for non-members.


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World Congress on Education (WCE-2014)


Call for Papers, Extended Abstracts, Posters, Workshops and Tutorials!
World Congress on Education (WCE-2014)
Organised by the University of South Africa (UNISA)
September 15 - 17, 2014,
Nelspruit, Pretoria, South Africa
The WCE is an international refereed conference dedicated to the advancement of the theory and practices in education. The WCE promotes collaborative excellence between academicians and professionals from Education. The aim of WCE is to provide an opportunity for academicians and professionals from various educational fields with cross disciplinary interests to bridge the knowledge gap, promote research esteem and the evolution of pedagogy. The WCE-2014 invites research papers that encompass conceptual analysis, design implementation and performance evaluation.

The topics in WCE-2014 include but are not confined to the following areas:

*Accessible World*
Aging and Disability
Augmentative and Alternative Communications (AAC)
Assessment and Early intervention
Baby Boomers
Building and Sustaining an Inclusive Community
Cognitive Disabilities
Curriculum Adaptation and Modification
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Developmental
Disabilities Disability and Diversity
Human Rights/Disability Rights
Legal Issues (Legislative and Policy)
Learning Disabilities
Living In(ter)dependently
Support Services
Postsecondary Education
Public Health, Diversity and Disability
Resiliency Across the Lifespan
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Study Skills Development
Sustainable Environment
Climate Change

*Adult Education*
Competitive Skills
Continuing Education
Higher Education
Adult education
Vocational Education
Transferring Disciplines

*Art Education*
Music Education
Writing Education
Imaginative Education
Language Education

*Business Education*
Educational Administration
Human Resource Development
Academic Advising and Counselling
Education Policy and Leadership
Industrial Cooperation  
Life-long Learning Experiences
Workplace Learning and Collaborative Learning  
Work Employability
Educational Institution Government Partnership  
Patent Registration and Technology Transfer
University Spin-Off Companies

*Course Management* 
Accreditation and Quality Assurance
Academic Experiences and Best Practice Contributions
Digital Libraries and Repositories
Digital Rights Management
Evaluation and Assessment
E-content Management and Development
E-content Management and Development. Open Content
Grading Methods  
Knowledge Management
Quality processes at National and International level
Security and Data Protection
Student Selection Criteria in Interdisciplinary Studies  
User-Generated Content

*Curriculum, Research and Development* 
Acoustics in Education Environment
Counsellor Education
Courses, Tutorials and Labs
Curriculum Design
Social Networking
Study Abroad Programmes
Faculty Development
Distance Learning: Assessment, Methods and Technologies
Teaching and Learning Experiences in Engineering Education

*Educational Foundations*
Early Childhood Education
Elementary Education
Geographical Education
Health Education
Home Education
Rural Education
Science Education
Secondary Education
Second life Educators
Social Studies Education
Special Education

*Interaction and Cultural Models of Disability* 
Adaptive Transportation
Augmented and Alternative Communication
Healthcare Specialists
Hospitality and Tourism
Labor Market Integration
Medical Experts
Sport, Fitness and Leisure
Special Educational Centres
Social Innovation and E-Service Delivery
Social Workers
Student and Adults with Disabilities
Usability and Ergonomics

*Learning / Teaching Methodologies and Assessment* 
Simulated Communities and Online Mentoring
e-Testing and new Test Theories
Supervising and Managing Student Projects
Pedagogy Enhancement with e-Learning
Educating the Educators
Immersive Learning
Blended Learning
Computer-Aided Assessment
Metrics and Performance Measurement
Assessment Software Tools
Assessment Methods in Blended Learning Environments

*Global Issues In Education and Research*
Education, Research and Globalization
Barriers to Learning (ethnicity, age, psychosocial factors ... etc.)
Women and Minorities in Science and Technology
Indigenous and Diversity Issues
Government Policy issues
Organizational, Legal and Financial Aspects
Digital Divide
Increasing Affordability and Access to the Internet
Ethical issues in Education
Intellectual Property Rights and Plagiarism

Important dates:
Research Paper, Extended Abstract, Case Study, Work in Progress and Report Submission Deadline: June 01, 2014 
*Notification of Paper, Extended Abstract, Case Study, Work in Progress and Report Acceptance Date: June 15, 2014 
*Final Paper Submission Deadline for Conference Proceedings Publication: August 01, 2014 
*Workshop Proposal Submission Deadline: June 25, 2014 
*Notification of Workshop Proposal Acceptance/Rejection: July 05, 2014 
*Poster/Demo Proposal Submission: June 25, 2014 
*Notification of Poster/Demo Acceptance: July 05, 2014 
Participant(s) Registration (Open): April 01, 2014  
Early Bird Registration: February 01 to June 30, 2014 
Late Bird Registration: July 01 to August 15, 2014 
Conference Dates: September 15 - 17, 2014 

For further information please visit WCE-2014 at

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Marxism in Culture: Summer 2014


Seminars take place on Friday 17:30-19:30 in the University of London's Senate House (Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU).
Unless otherwise stated, seminars are held in The Court Room.

Please note the final seminar this term takes place on Tuesday* (time and location remain unchanged).

Friday 9 May
Roundtable with Warwick Research Collective (WReC)
'Combined and Uneven Development: Towards a New Theory of World Literature'
Friday 6 June
Esther Leslie (Birkbeck)
'Liquid Crystals of the Revolution'

Friday 20 June
Mark Abel (Brighton)
'Explanation or critique? What is the role of Marxist musicology?'
Location: Bloomsbury Room G35


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Historical Materialism Sydney Conference 2014


We call this conference in a historical moment marked, at the level of public discourse, above all by uncertainty in the face of a continuing crisis of both capitalist production and the ideological, political and social forms that have hitherto underpinned it. This uncertainty is expressed, implicitly or explicitly, not just by the managers, functionaries and prognosticators of capital and state, but also by those movements that claim to systemically oppose it.  Additionally, our conference coincides with the centennial of the outbreak of World War I.

Eulogies to bravery aside, this conjuncture – of present distemper and historical disaster – allows us to ask again, and hopefully ask differently, many of the questions considered central to the broad Marxist tradition. The Great War, for many in that tradition, marked the spectacular limit point or exhaustion of a particular configuration of capital accumulation, the result of which – as figures as preeminent as Engels had prophesied – could only be bloody. To what extent do we face a similar limit point today, even if we have thus far been spared the scale of sacrificial slaughter of that previous one?

This question cannot be answered by scholars and activists operating in isolation; instead, it requires sustained theoretical and practical activity across virtually the entire field of Marxist research and practice: the critique of political economy opening out to critiques of the state; examinations of the relationship between the state, capital, and the social movements that contest both; investigations into the specificity of class and its relation to other structural forms of oppression; considerations of the nature and form that a communist revolution will take today (1914 marking too, of course, the failure of one such conception); interrogations of the relevance of imperialism and settler colonialism to the current conjuncture; and critical analyses of the production of nature on a world-scale. To answer or even just correctly pose these questions requires an engagement with Marxism’s multifarious inheritances, but will also imply openness to new data, integration with the experience of new social struggles, and fresh theoretical perspectives informed by these.

We ask for submissions of 250 word abstracts for papers on these and other topics that engage with this broader tradition, critically or otherwise; panel proposals should include short abstracts for each paper coupled with an outline of the panel as a whole. We especially welcome contributions from activists and scholars outside of (or peripheral to) the academy.


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Saturday, May 3, 2014

'Think Hope, Think Crisis': John Holloway at UCL

John Holloway


Professor John Holloway, of the Autonomous University of Puebla (see, will be giving a public talk entitled "Think Hope, Think Crisis" at UCL, London, on May 7th.

Professor Holloway is an internationally renowned radical Marxist theorist whose two most recent books, Change the World Without Taking Power (2002) and Crack Capitalism (2010) have had a profound impact in debates over social change in both social movements and universities worldwide. Holloway argues that we need to rethink the concept of revolution in the 21st century, away from the idea of taking power via the state (or indeed any institution) and towards an everyday struggle to bring together our own "power-to-do".

His talk, which will take place on Wednesday 7th May, 5-7pm in Room G03, 26 Bedford Way, WC1H 0AP, will engage with the potentials for social change in a time of crisis (see abstract below).

For more information please contact

Please note, attendance will be on a first come basis (no tickets). We have a capacity of 120, but please arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Abstract for talk:
"At the beginning of his great work The Principle of Hope, Ernst Bloch challenged us to learn hope. Now, sixty years later, his challenge is both more difficult and more urgent than ever. How can we think hope, the radical hope of a different world, in the present situation? And how do we relate it to the present crisis of capitalism? The crisis as rupture of capitalist domination should open the world, but it seems to close it. Think hope, think crisis, but how?”


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