One of my favourite articles on higher education was written in 2019 by Helena Ostrowicka and Lukasz Stankiewicz. The title was, ‘The truths of business and the lies of academia: the order of discourse on higher education’. The article is centred around a text written in 2012 by Andrzej Klesyk (the President of the one of the largest financial institutions in Poland) about universities and their graduates.
One of Klesyk’s desires was this, “We are looking for those who think independently and not for those who are able to memorise the keys and formats of the tests”. His text and the article itself contained criticism of universities, whose graduates were supposedly unprepared to enter the job market and lacked competencies looked for my employers. Klesyk’s text became a reference point for 1. A heavy debate on the quality of academic education and 2. A new discourse concerning universities, which described them as the ‘”factories of the unemployed”.
I was asked recently what we should be trying to chase in our graduates. And I paraphrased and built on Klesyk’s line when I answered, “we are looking for honest, courageous independent thinkers who can deal with the unknown”. I shared my desire with a cohort of students today. As I believe that they – along with higher education – have what it takes.
Those who seek the truth and deal with the consequences.
‘I Said Hey’ ⎮ Panel Twelve ⎮ 12 / 12 ⎮ Cathartic manual typographic trial art based on articles and notes and meeting quotes⎮ 2019.
148m x 210mm (A5) Portrait.
Mixed Media. Manipulated paper. Manual print transfer. Graphite. Charcoal.
Godin 2013; Ostrowicka & Stankiewicz 2019 ; Klesyk 2012; Pezda 2013; Gazeta Wyborca 2012; Watson 2019; Piepmeier 2008; Sissay 2014.
The art itself is a nod to Ashleigh Watson for opening my eyes to the liberating power of mixed-methods research – to Alison Piepmeier for proving to me that the weirdness and embodied and esoteric nature of ‘zines matter’ – to Adam Busby and Mitch Re yes from Shillington Graphic Design College for teaching me about typography and grids and alignment and the power of keeping shit simple – to Chris Ashworth who asks, “Where is the human in the work?”, and making me wonder if I can make paper look edgy and cool by simply driving over it in my car.
I could give credit for idea that it is perfectly fine to stand up and say, “Hey this is not ok” to many people and many things but on this occasion in addition to Klesyk, Pezda, and the Gazeta Wyborcza I will add the Nantucket Project with it’s 2014 focus, ‘Seek the Truth and endure the consequences’ and one of my favourite spoken word poets Lemn Sissay (who is also the current Chancellor of the University of Manchester) for the following lines from his 2014 speech, ‘Poetry is the Voice at the Back of the Mind’,“I brought a new narrative to a family that already thought they had their narrative sorted. We’re all ok with the story aren’t we. We know what are are not talking about. We know what we are talking about. And everything is ok as long as we do that”.
Ostrowicka & Stankiewicz ⎮ Sissay ⎮ Lanier ⎮ However …
… the future form of the system is supposed to avoid the mistakes of the past. But you have to have the stomach to acknowledge and own those mistakes first. And it is ok to destroy narratives that aren’t real. If we lost our way it’s ok. We can find our way back. See that things could be better. And then seek. And move. And act. To make them so.
My All Students
You have this in you . Chase
those your unknowns.