Student as Producer: Keynote Presentations 2013 – 2014

This is a list of my  invited keynotes and other speaking engagements during the Academic Year 2013-2014 on the subject of Student as Producer and related matters:

University of Durham (9th July, 2014) ‘Academic Not-Identity’ at Academic Identities Conference

London Metropolitan University (8th July, 2014)  ‘Student as Producer – Reinventing the Undergraduate Curriculum’ Teaching and Learning Conference

London School of Economics (25th-26th June, 2014) Governing Academic Life –

University of Bristol, School of Education (19th June, 2014) SRHE Seminar, Co-operative Education

University of Portsmouth (12th June, 2014) Keynote at Learning and Teaching Conference ‘Student as Producer: radicalising the undergraduate curriculum – an institutional approach’

University of Oxford Brookes (9th June, 2014) Keynote, Business Faculty – Teaching and Learning event

University of Glasgow (3rd June, 2014) Teaching and Learning seminar

King’s College London (2nd June, 2014) ‘German in the World’, Department of German, King’s College, London

Liverpool John Moores University (14th May, 2014) Research and Practice in Higher Education seminar

University of Nottingham (2nd May, 2014) ‘Learning Landscapes in Higher Education’, with Sam Williams – Space Manager at University of Lincoln,  at Learning Spaces Conference

University of Westminster in association with the Higher Education Academy (28th March 2014) Engaging Change in Learning and Teaching: students, staff and institutions as Partners, University of Westminster ‘

University of Sheffield (21st March, 2014) ‘Being Utopic: value, real abstraction and the Revolution of Everyday Life’, at Against Value Seminar, following on from Against Value Conference 2012!/file/AgainstValueHandout.pdf

University of Chichester (18th March, 2014) ‘Student as Producer – A Manifesto for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education’ launch of Teaching and Learning Strategy 2014-2020

University of Nottingham (4th March, 2014) ‘Student as Producer – radicalising the undergraduate curriculum’, Learning Science Research Institution

London School of Economics (27th February, 2014) ‘Student as Producer, Reinventing the Curriculum’, seminar arranged by School of Law with open invitation

University of Warwick Summit (15th February, 2014) ‘The Measure of a Good Education’, University of Warwick, Coventry

University of Middlesex (14th February, 2014) in association with British International Studies Association – International Political Economy Group, ‘Pedagogy of Excess: An Alternative Political Economy for Student Life’  Neo-Liberalism Meets Education

Society for Research into Higher Education (10th December, 2013) ‘Student as Producer: Radicalising the Curriculum and Institutional Change in Higher Education’, SRHE Newer Researchers; Conference,  Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, Wales

West Midlands Mental Health Trust (19th November, 2013) Keynote at  seminar event ‘From Service User to Co-Producer’

Higher Education Academy – Pro-Vice Chancellors’ Network ( 14th November 2013) ‘Student as Producer’,  Future Proofing the Student Experience chrome-extension://bpmcpldpdmajfigpchkicefoigmkfalc/views/app.html

Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile (16th October, 2013) ‘Docencia Revolucionaria: Construyendo una universidad transnacional y co-operativa’, Faculty of Social Science and History




Being Utopic – anti-value in motion: labour, real abstraction and the revolution of everyday life

In this brief paper I  describe my contribution to the Against Value Seminar, University of Sheffield, 20-21st March 2014. This seminar is continuing work on Against Value in the Arts and Humanities that began in 2012.

I want to revisit  work I did with Ana Dinerstein in 2002:  The Labour Debate: an investigation into the theory and reality of capitalist work. The theme of the book was that labour has ceased to be a critical concept for social theory, becoming ‘an intellectually pretentious way of saying work’  ( Nichols 1992 10). The concept of labour has been replaced by various forms of identity and  postmodern subjectivities, shamed by its apparent aversion to gender and disadvantaged minorities, refocused as problems of  equality, and abandoned in the search of more democratic versions of civil society (p.25).


The purpose of the book was to recover the notion of labour within a framework of critical political economy. This meant dealing with labour not  as labour: reified as a thing in itself, but labour as a form of value.  For Marx, value, or abstract labour, is the substance of Capital. This requires framing the issue of the significance of labour around  Marx’s labour theory of value, or value theory of labour (Elson 1979), as the fundamental way of understanding and transforming capitalist social relations.

Chapters in the book were written by  John Holloway, Simon Clarke, Harry Cleaver, Glen Rikowski, Werner Bonefeld, Graham Taylor, Massimo de Angelis and myself and Ana Dinerstein. Each author contributed to this debate  through their own subversive Marxist traditions: Open Marxism, Autonomous Marxism, and other critical reinterpretations of  Marx’s mature social theory, by dealing with concept of labour, real abstraction and the revolution of everyday life.

Ana and I developed a notion of ‘anti-value in motion’ from the way in which Marx described the dynamic  movement of abstract labour, or the way in which Capital moves, as ‘value in motion’ ( Marx Capital Vol 2).  Anti-value in motion is contra Capital’s  determinate abstractions: real forms of value expressed  most violently as Money and the State,  unleashed against  civilian populations. Anti-value in motion means  constructing new forms of post-capitalist sociability where human life and nature are the project rather than the resource, or Utopia as a theory of abundance: the ability to satisfy needs through capacities which are already in existence ( Kay and Mott 1982)  aka communism (Dean 2012).

The Labour Debate is part of a renewed interest in the concept of labour as the crisis of Capital intensifies. Significant  contributions include work by  John Holloway, e.g. Change the World Without Taking Power: The Meaning of Revolution Today, written in 2003, and   Crack Capitalism published in 2010, as well as  writing engaged with  Moishe Postone’s Time, Labour and Social Domination: A Reinterpretaton of Marx’s Critical Theory, published in 1993.  Hardt and Negri’s refusal of the law of value in Labour of Dionysus ( 1994)  and Empire (2000) have provoked a multitude of commentaries on the significance of labour as the subject of revolution. Other important recent work includes Kathi Weeks(2011) The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics and Postwork Imaginaries. The significance of Weeks’ writing is that she deals with the negative consequences that are inherent in the nature of capitalist work, rather than focus on particular types of crisis-work: unemployment, immaterial labour or precarity. She  offers alternative possibilities to capitalist work: reductions in work-time and a social wage. These alternatives are not offered as the solution to the catastrophe of capitalist work, but a movement towards a real alternative, not in the future, but now, in the present.

For my contribution to the Against Value project I would like to bring this literature review on ‘the problem of work’ up to date. But, more than that, I will ground this scholarly work in an account of a new social institution which is attempting to bring some of these ideas against labour and real abstraction to life through the transformation of academic work.  This institution is The Social Science Centre, Lincoln –  a free, public and co-operative form of higher education. The Social Science Centre, Lincoln is part of  ‘a silent revolution in higher education’ (Enlivened Learning Teamey and Mandel 2012-2014).

Student as Producer: A MANIFESTO FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING IN HIGHER EDUCATION (University of Chichester 18.03.14)

It is a pleasure and a privilege to have been asked to speak at the launch of the University of Chichester’s Learning and Teaching Strategy 2014-2020. The document is comprehensive and compelling.

I am going to focus on a number of key themes in the strategy that are close to the work  we are doing at the University of Lincoln. The themes are ‘the emphasis on students as active participants and collaborators’ (p.3), working in ‘partnership with the student community’ (p.4), ‘Critical engagement and continual dialogue between staff and students, with students seen as collaborative partners in the development of new knowledge and understanding’ (p.8) and ‘Creating spaces for co-operative and collaborative working amongst students and staff’ (p.14). All of these themes, and the principles and practices on which they are based, are very close to the concept around which we organise the University of Lincoln’s Teaching and Learning Strategy 2011-2016: Student as Producer.

Student as Producer is the organising principle for teaching and learning at the University of Lincoln since 2010, based on the practice of research-engaged pedagogies.

  1. Against Student as Consumer (Kandiko 2013) and Pedagogy of Debt (Williams 2006).
  2. For  productivist and participatory pedagogies (Neary et al 2014), e.g., Biobunch and Making Digital Histories

Institutional Infrastructure(s):

Networks of Student as Producer


Unfinished: or how to avoid recuperation (The Politics of Abolition Mathiesen 1974)

Silent Revolution in Higher Education

‘There is a silent revolution happening in higher education, for the most part unseen…enlivened learning‘ (Teamey and Mandel 2012-2014)

And so, in the spirit of enlivened learning, I commend the University of Chichester’s Learning and Teaching Strategy 2014-2020, to you.


Seminar at Learning Sciences Research Institute, Nottinham University, 4th March: 4 – 5.30

Student as Producer – Radicalising the Mainstream in Higher Education

The plan for this session is:

Background to Student as Producer: the Reinvention Centre for Undergraduate Research with legacy projects – Reinvention: an international journal for student research, and the Reinvention Classroom.  Student as Producer is a founding member of  British Conference for Undergraduate Research (BCUR)


Reinvention Classroom (2006)


Mobile Learning (twinned with Oxford Brookes University)

Student as Producer:  research-engaged teaching as the  organising principle for teaching and learning at Lincoln since 2010, based on ongoing work since 2007


This is a flyer  (paper aeroplane)

Recent research at Lincoln (Neary et al 2014): Student as Producer: research-engaged teaching, an institutional strategy. What do students say? What do academics say? Positive Productivism contra Student as Consumer (Kandiko 2013)  [Methodology: historical and material –  ‘Living Knowledge’]

Exemplars of Student as Producer at Lincoln:  Making Digital History and Biobunch

Student as Producer and the QAA:  support for learning enhancements – commendation and effective practice

Student as Producer and the HEA –  exemplar of effective practice and  impact on Student as Partners and student engagement (radicalising the mainstream: 6.6)

Student as Producer at the level of the institution – Bureaucracy (moral and ethical framework) Teacher Education (beauty and education), Technology (hacking the university), Student Engagement and Learning Landscapes in higher education (psycho classrooms) and university architecture shapes up for a revolution

Intellectual Ideas – Walter Benjamin’s Author as Producer (1934), or How do Revolutionary Teachers Teach? (2011)

Walter Benjamin 1990 by Peter Kennard born 1949

‘Walter Benjamin’ Peter Kennard 1990 (On The Concept of History 1940 and The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction 1936 )

External impact – JISC, HEA,  University of Liverpool, University of Hertfordshire, Vanderbilt University, University of British Columbia, NMC Horizons 2014:15

Avoiding recuperation: Social Science Centre, Lincoln, free co-operative higher education. See  ‘Something New in Freedom‘ ( THE May 2013),  ‘Anyone can teach, everyone can learn’  (NIACE 2011),   ‘An Experiment in Free Co-operative Higher Education‘ ( Radical Philosophy November 2013),  ‘Occupying the City with the Social Science Centre, Lincoln‘ ( Class War University, September 2013) and ‘The University and the City – forming the urban revolution‘ [after Lefebvre] (The Physical University ed. P Temple 2014)



Neary, M., Saunders, G. Hagyard, A. and Derricott, D. ( 2014) Student as Producer – Research Engaged Teaching and Learning, An Institutional Strategy, Report for the Higher Education Academy, National Teaching Fellowship Programmes, HEA, York

Neary, M. (2014), ‘The University and the City: Social Science Centre, Lincoln – forming the urban revolution’, in Temple, P. (ed) The Physical University: Contours of space and place in higher education. Abingdon: Routledge

Neary, M. (2013) ‘Student as Producer: Radicalising the Mainstream in Higher Education’ in E. Dunn and D. Owen, ( eds)  The Student Engagement Handbook: Practice in Higher Education, Emerald Books, Bingley

Neary, M (2012) Student as producer: an institution of the common? [or how to recover communist/revolutionary science].’ , Enhancing Learning in the Social Sciences, Higher Education Academy, York

Neary, M. (2012) ‘Teaching Politically: Policy, Pedagogy and the New European University’, Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, 10 (2)

Neary, M. and Amsler, A. (2012) ‘Occupy: A New Pedagogy of Space and Time’,Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, 10(2)

Neary, M. ( 2012) ‘Beyond Teaching in Public: The University as a Form of Social Knowing’ in M Neary, H Stevenson and L Bell ( eds) Towards Teaching in Public: Reshaping the Modern University, Continuum, London and New York

Neary, M. and Hagyard, A. (2011) ‘Pedagogy of Excess: An Alternative Political Economy for Student Life’In M. Molesworth, E. Nixon and R. Scullion, (eds) The Marketisation of Higher Education and Student as Consumer, Routledge, London and New York: