Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Breaking our silences on the neoliberal academy: facilitating change from a postgraduate perspective


Breaking our silences on the neoliberal academy: facilitating change from a postgraduate perspective

University of Warwick, Wednesday 26 October, 09:00-17:30

As PhD students, we often hear the refrain ‘if you want to get into academia, doing your PhD alone is not enough’. But with the subsequent requirement to produce papers, teach, organise and attend conferences, participate in additional collaborations or project work, not to mention keep up online engagement with those in our fields, what time is left for self-care, activism, or the care of others?

This one day workshop, aimed at PhD students, offers a space to critically reflect on our personal experiences and the structures which shape those experiences and to hear from those slightly further down the academic career path. Speakers include the University of Warwick's Dr. Maria do Mar Pereira, Dr. Meleisa Ono-George and Dr. Laura Schwartz. The University of East Anglia's Dr. Victoria Cann of the Res-Sister's Collective and Dr Lena Wanggren (University of Edinburgh) will also be presenting. Both Dr. Cann and Dr. Wanggren have produced chapters for the forthcoming Being an Early Career Feminist Academic: Global Perspectives, Experiences and Challenges.

The aim is to build on our critiques by exploring strategies that can be applied to overcome the negative aspects of academia, including those of resistance and support which we can implement. To do this, we will consider the following through a combination of keynote speakers, participant papers and workshop sessions:

• What are particular processes of casualisation, extensification and elasticisation and forms of neoliberal performativity (Ball, 2003) (e.g. dynamics in the PhD common room, ‘You should be writing’ and other social media feeds) occurring at the PhD level?
• How have these, or might these, be resisted?
• How can we help one another?

We recognise that such processes impact individuals differently according to (dis)privilege so our aim is to foster a strong intersectional ethos in our discussions. We very much welcome reflexive papers drawing on personal experiences around these topics. We encourage participants to be creative, personal and discursive with their papers, rather than necessarily drawing exclusively on academic research. Please submit an abstract of no more than 200 words to along with a brief biography including name, institutional affiliation and contact details. The abstract deadline is Friday 23 September.

If you wish to participate in and enjoy the day without submitting a paper, we’d love to have you join us. Simply register here. The workshop will be followed by a wine reception and a performance by Shit Theatre, an improv duo currently touring their feminist show ‘Woman’s Hour’.

A small amount of money will be available for travel bursaries for attendees on a first come, first served basis. Please contact e dot ablett at warwick dot ac dot uk for more information.

With best wishes,

Heather Griffiths, Liz Ablett and Kate Mahoney

University of Warwick