About Music for Deckchairs

 There’s two kinds of scholarship today: there’s Titanic studies and there’s deckchair studies.

— McKenzie Wark
And as the smart ship grew
            In stature, grace, and hue,
In shadowy silent distance grew the Iceberg too
— Thomas Hardy

I’m an academic at an Australian university, and I used to say that I teach online, but now I think one way and another we all do.  I’m a cinema historian, and I’ve also had the privilege of leading our institutional educational design team for the two years of our LMS transition.

So, specifically, I’m interested in the mechanisms that regulate work, innovation, technology procurement, profit and risk in higher education.  As someone once put it in the search that led them here, this is a blog about:

“shared governance consensus bullshit.”

I’m not writing any of this in any official capacity, obviously.

This began as a way of thinking about what higher education means to those of us who work in it, and thanks to the all people who have turned up here, it’s really about how higher education is changing.

As an educator, I’m interested in whether we can get beyond universities to make more open pedagogy amplified by hospitality rather than compliance, and for the moment I’m taken with Jesse Stommel’s proposals for a reflective hybrid pedagogy:

The intellectual bravery we need right now is to believe that we can imaginatively rebuild something valuable in digital space, something that has what we value most about education: the protections, the safety, the excitement, the moments of ecstatic learning, the epiphanies, the collaborations, the debates, the discoveries, and the moments of quiet reflection.

For three years the blog had a banner image adapted from a famous photograph of a New York 3D cinema audience posing for photographer J R Eyerman in 1953;  the version I used was taken from a pencil case, photographed by my friend R J Thompson in 2011. At the centre of the crowd, there’s a stern-faced woman, who put on her good hat to go out and meet the technological marvel of her age. She keeps me thinking about what it means to show up and watch, from inside the spectacle.

The new banner image in 2015 is from a sketch report of the sinking made by John B “Jack” Thayer, Titanic survivor.

You’re welcome to leave comments here or get in touch: @KateMfD or katebowles@internode.on.net.

— Kate Bowles

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