Down with the getters-on

Various – Academics Against Networking (indie)

Teaching in art schools over the last fifteen years, I watched the social form shift. It went from the tail end of 1968, happenings and hanging out with no clear purpose, to heated ethical discussions which blur into – essentially – business networking. The art scene in Manchester is pernicious. ‘Professionalism’ and ‘radicalism’ are one and the same. People slam their positions online in the way that Ford once marketed cars.

Thankfully other people see it too and are starting to dissect it. Academics Against Networking is a collective taking the phenomenon apart – the way that supposedly disinterested intellectual pursuit and careerism have meshed – but also precarious academic labour and the state of universities generally.

The recent UCU strikes have clearly thrown them further together, a point to remember as we start the long uphill march of the next four years.

But Academics Against Networking are not crazed separatists either, they understand that we are all complicit by degrees. Their ‘zine is excellent and MROB recommend it. It includes poems and reflections on precarious labour and the seemingly intrinsic psychological sick building syndrome that beds in as soon as a place is declared a ‘university’.

– Steve Hanson