Today, British universities entered their third week of strike. Like Lisa Smith, I am member of the striking University and College Union, and I have decided not to cross picket lines, be they actual or virtual.
Lisa explained the reasons behind the strike in her post last week. I would have little to add to her clear exposition. She rightly stressed how activities such as blogging about our research and editing The Recipes Project are not counted in our workload:
This isn’t a complaint. You see, we love what we do: we really do. And the system depends on our love. But the pension cuts undermine our goodwill. And it is this that is integral to our willingness to work above and beyond for the sake of education.
The strike in itself, however, is a form of education for many. In most striking universities, there is a lively programme of ‘teach out’ or ‘teach in’ sessions (the choice of preposition varies). Staff and students reflect on important issues such as: how to deal with the marketization of education; how to build a sense of community withing universities; and how to improve mental health in the sector.
Many academics have also turned to blogging as a form of ‘teach out/in’. I have chosen to do so myself in my blog Concocting History, even though I realise that I sometimes come very close to crossing the virtual picket line by writing on topics quite close to my research.
Here is a selection of other blogs that are dealing with this unprecedented strike in British universities. The selection is of course highly personal, and I would love to hear about other wonderful blogs out there.
Peter Kruschwitz explores examples of strikes in ancient Greece and Rome in The Petrified Muse.
Sara L. Uckelman writes openly about the toll the strike can take in Diary of Dr. Logic.
Michael Munnik entertains us with stories of chicken sandwiches left in his office – and much more beside – in An Earth without Grammar.
Peter Matthews reminds us what it means to be on strike in Urban Policy and Practice.