As it says on the front page ‘l Love Transcontinental’ is
“…a protest against corporate banality, mass-produced goods, human exploitation and vulgarity.”
The T-Shirts they design are individually mixed, free trade and organic. There are a range of designs or you can choose your own design and they can all be ordered online.
2. REVIEW OF ‘DIGITISATION PERSPECTIVES’ EDITED BY RUTH RIKOWSKI (2011), in ‘ALEXANDRIA’, 22 (2/3), 2011 – BY BECCY SHIPMAN
I was pleased to receive a review of my ‘Digitisation Perspectives’ book in the
journal, ‘Alexandria: the journal of national and international library and information issues’ (Issue 22, 2/3, 2011, pp.75-6), which is edited by Monica Blake. The reviewer Beccy Shipman (Digital Content and Copyright Coordinator
Brotherton Library, University of Leeds) summarises the book and concludes
“If you are interested in a wide-ranging discussion of digital content and the
impact of recent technologies with much thought-provoking commentary, this
may be the book for you.”
3. ‘DIGITISATION PERSPECTIVES’ – WHAT NEXT?
I had grand plans for this ‘Digitisation Perspectives’ book when I was working on it and editing it. But ‘life’ took over; suddenly other things got in the way and seemed far more important. So, for now, it has all been put on the ‘back-burner’; whether this will prove to be temporary or permanent only time will tell. One of the plans was to hold a seminar on the topic at London South Bank University. But 2 of the contributors (who were both academics at South Bank) have now left South Bank, so this seminar has now been cancelled. Similarly, the lunch-time sessions and related networking at University College London did not take off either. Still, I have commissioned 2 people from UCL and one person from King’s College London, to write books for Chandos Publishing this year. I am managing and editing all of these projects. So that is very positive and hopefully in time, the best future direction will become clearer.
4. LATEST ISSUE OF ISC NOW OUT
The latest issue of ‘Information for Social Change’s is now out. It is available at:
The theme is: ‘Library Activist Resources and Alternative Information Networks’, and is edited by Martyn Lowe.
Issue No. 32, Summer/Autumn 2012.
In addition, John Pateman, one of the members of the ISC Editorial Board, has recently emigrated to Canada, taking up a position as Chief Librarian, Thunder Bay Public Library, Canada
5. GREGORY RIKOWSKI GOING BACK TO UEA IN THE NEW YEAR
Our youngest son, Gregory Rikowski, is returning to the University of East Anglia in the New Year, to complete his degree in ‘Film and Television Studies’, after a period of intercalation. During this period he has been thinking and reflecting and gaining work experience in a warehouse and a library. He will be returning with a more confident and critical mind-set.
6. 11 NEW ITEMS UP ON MY ‘SERENDIPITOUS MOMENTS’ BLOG
There are no less than 11 new items up on my ‘Serendipitous Moments’ blog this quarter.
I hope you all had a good summer. Ours was really, really lovely, but unfortunately, ended all too quickly. Now, the academic year, with all the ‘hussle and bussle’ starts once again.
There are a variety of news items in this update; including an exciting new contact we have made with Robert C. Smith of the Heathwood Institute.
1. ROBERT C. SMITH OF THE HEATHWOOD INSTITUTE REPUBLISHING GLENN RIKOWSKI’S ARTICLE ‘CRITCAL PEDAGOGY AND THE CONSTITUTION OF CAPITALIST SOCIETY’
We had a lovely email this summer, completely ‘out of the blue’, from Robert C. Smith of the Heathwood Institute, a new radical academic organisation and press.
Robert contacted us saying how mush he valued our ‘Flow of Ideas’ website, and that much of our work is very close to his own.
Robert said that he would like to republish an article of Glenn’s that is on our website, entitled Critical Pedagogy and the Constitution of Capitalist Society (seehttp://www.flowideas.co.uk/print.php?page=242&slink=yes)
He requested permission to republish it for the September issue of their online publication - this would form part of their guest article series. He thought it would provide an insightful analysis for their readers. Glenn delightedly agreed.
The article is now on the Heathwood Press website – see
This article from our website was previously published in Turkish – one of 10 of Glenn’s articles that were taken from our ‘Flow of Ideas’ website and published in a book in Turkish with Kalkedon Publishers, Istanbul, 2011. The title of the book is
Marksist Eðitim Kurami ve Radikal Pedagoji (‘Marxist Educational Theory and Radical Pedagogy’).
However, whilst it was lovely to see Glenn’s work being translated into Turkish (that it was valued in that way), permission had not been obtained from Glenn - see my previous news item about this in my 43rd newsletter, item 5, dated 30th October 2010 – now on my ‘Ruth Rikowski News Updates Progression’ blog – see http://ruthrikowskiupdates.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=turkish+book+by+glenn+rikowski. So this has been a serious issue for us (and not one what we would want repeated). This is why it has not been included as a news item in this newsletter before.
However, given how things are now working out it seems that a news item is now needed, so a short one is below (item 2). A fuller, more comprehensive outline and analysis might be given at a future date, but we will have to see what transpires on this and other related fronts.
Robert Smith is also a writer and researcher in the fields of philosophy and (post-Adornian) critical theory; with special interests in existential-phenomenology, psychology, systems theory, education and literary theory and author of the Consciousness and Revolt series and of ‘Experiential Coherence: further thoughts on the origin of Reconcililation’.
2. ‘MARKSIST EĞITIM KURAMI VE RADIKAL PEDEGOJI’ (‘MARXIST EDUCATIONAL THEORY AND RADICAL PEDAGOGY’) BY GLENN RIKOWSKI, IN TURKISH, PUBLISHED BY KALKEDON PUBLICATIONS, TURKEY, FEB 2011, ISBN – 9786055679798 (with a Foreword by Peter McLaren)
On doing a random google search last year, in 2011, Glenn was most surprised to discover this book, ‘Marxist Educational Theory and Radical Pedagogy’ by him, on the internet.
Now, as already stated, this was a book proposal that I referred to in my 43rd newsletter (item 5), dated 30th October 2010. The news item is about a Turkish publisher that wanted to take a dozen or so articles of Glenn’s from our ‘Flow of Ideas’ website, translate them into Turkish, and publish them in a book.
When the publisher first contacted Glenn about this, Glenn found the idea very interesting but he also made it clear to Kalkedon Publications, that he only wanted the book published in a certain structured way as he wanted “…to make sure that readers appreciate the nature, purpose and origins of what I write.”. For this reason, Glenn proposed writing a new, additional chapter which would serve as an introduction; also that he would want a Foreword and an index. Furthermore, that he needed to retain copyright. The publisher did not reply to this and Glenn heard nothing further from them.
However, we have now discovered that they ignored all this (and the related copyright issues) and they published it anyway (without an introduction and an index), but in the way that they wanted to, in February 2011. They did not tell Glenn anything about it at all either. Heavens! They did not even send him a copy of the book.
It is nice that Glenn’s work has now been published in Turkish, meaning that his work will be read by a wider audience, and that these Turks were that keen on it that they were prepared to do the necessary work to translate it. However, they are also making some money out of it presumably (none of which, incidentally, is coming our way!). Also, if it had been translated into another language, such as in Spanish and with Peter’s help, then Glenn’s work might have been read by a wider audience. But the main thing is that Glenn wanted it published in a certain way.
Anyway, let’s move on. The book is now out and is there for people to read and hopefully in time, it will find a nice niche amongst Glenn’s publications. And Robert Smith, who was very courteous, sought permission and republished one of these articles, should certainly help in this regard.
3. PETER MCLAREN BACK AT UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES (UCLA)
We were surprised to discover that Peter McLaren is now back working at UCLA, in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies – see http://gseis.ucla.edu/people/mclareHis stay at New Zealand proved to be of a very short duration (although technically he still works there part-time). There has, it seems, been much ‘water under the bridge’. Anyway, one of the many things that he is now doing leading on from this includes co-editing a book series on ‘Education and Struggle’ with Michael Peters, published with Peter Lang.
4. COMMISSIONING LESLEY PITMAN AND PAUL VETCH TO WRITE BOOKS FOR CHANDOS PUBLISHING
I am delighted to say that I have commissioned 2 more people to
‘Supporting research in area studies: a guide for academic libraries’ by Lesley Pitman
‘Digital Collections Management and Curatorial Practice’ by Paul Vetch
Lesley Pitman is Librarian and Director of Information Services, University College London, School of Slavonic and East European Studies Library. Lesley is responsible for the largest open access collection in the UK on Russian and East European Studies. She also coordinates the Research Support Strategy for UCL Library Services, Chairs the Digitisation Steering Group and takes the lead for UCL in some major digitisation projects.
Paul Vetch is Head of Research Development and Delivery in the Digital Humanities Division at King’s College, London, with responsibility for developing opportunities for new research collaborations and the management of the Research and Development team. He is also a Senior Lecturer in Digital Humanities and a King’s Business Innovation Fellow.
Lesley’s book “will provide a guide for library staff who find themselves required to support academicsresearching in the ill-defined field of ‘area studies’. This can encompass an enormous range of disciplines in a single department or centre, from literature and film studies to economics and business, and is usually made more challenging by the fact that most of the source material will be in languages other than English.”
Paul’s book will explore “the practical impact and changing influence of digital collections management infrastructure on the way in which museums function, focusing in particular on the implications for curatorial staff – those directly involved with the interpretation and presentation of heritage materials to the general public.”
I wish Lesley and Paul all the very best with their Chandos book projects.
5. DAVID KAGOTHO-NDERITU INVITED ON SKY TV AND HIS ARTICLE ‘DANGEROUSLY LIVING’ NOW ON OUR WEBSITE
Several years ago now, Glenn and I got talking to someone in our local photocopy shop (‘CopyCats’), and amazingly found we had things in common. This person was David Kagotho-Nderitu. At the time we were photocopying our House of Lords globalisation papers; we started an interesting conversation between ourselves and discovered that we agreed about various issues around globalisation. Leading on from all of this David started doing some writing and at our suggestion some of his material was then published in ‘Information for Social Change’. Other material went in the Contributions section of our website.
This summer we had a surprise email (yes, another one!) from Joanna, the producer from the ‘Chrissy B. Show’ – a new show on Sky TV. The Chrissy B. show is a TV talk show based in London which covers ‘Real issues for real people, and better yet, you can get involved.’
David has an article on our website entitled ‘Multicultural Britain – what does it mean to be Black people?’(http://www.flowideas.co.uk/print.php?page=401&slink=yes) and this was what interested Joanna as she was organising a show on ‘Multicultural Britain’ for around the end July/beginning August 2012.
Joanne wanted to interview David and include him on her programme. She also planned to have 2 other studio guests – Maghan Peterson Fenn, author of ‘Bringing up Brits’ and Sundar Katwala, Director of British Future.
David was very interested in going on the show, but now he lives in Kenya. They were hoping to get a Skype connection but unfortunately were not able to in the end, so he was not able to participate.
Still, once again, it shows the power of our website does it not and hopefully will all lead on to even bigger and better things in time.
Leading on from all of this, David then wrote another piece, and asked if we could also include this in the Contributions section of our website, which we happily did. This article is entitled ‘Dangerously Living’, is about the financial crisis, and can be found at:
6. DISSERTATION ON COMMODIFICATION OF CHILDRENS SOCIAL WELFARE SERVICES
We received an interesting email on our Flow of Ideas website, from Sean Hayes, who recently studied for an MA in the Ethics of Social Welfare at Keele University and wrote a dissertation (2011) on ‘the commodification of Children within Social Welfare Markets as a consequence of the Privatisation of Childrens Social Welfare Services’. Sean is now planning to develop all this further by studying for a Doctorate on the subject.
I read the dissertation with interest. As a working practitioner in the field, I thought Sean’s knowledge and understanding should prove to be very valuable. It was an interesting dissertation.
On reflecting, I made the point to him that we are witnessing the commodification of Childrens Social Welfare Services rather than the commodification of children themselves (the latter would only apply if we lived in a Slave society). I also made it clear to him that we think that a thorough understanding and analysis of all of this can only be done through a Marxist approach and looking at the commodification process itself in detail. Whilst in his dissertation Sean focused on the philosophers Bentham, Kant and Mill.
Anyway, it is great that some people are looking at these important areas, and also from a philosophical position, and we wish Sean the very best of luck with his Doctorate. Hopefully, it can help in some small way, and will alert some people to the dangers of what clearly lies ahead.
7. CAMPAIGN AGAINST CUTS IN BRENT LIBRARIES
This summer 2012 we went to a couple of interesting talks at Conway Hall in London. The ethos of Conway Hall is very near and dear to our hearts. Conway Hall is run by the South Place Ethical Society, which is an educational charity, deriving from a radical religious congregation founded in London in 1793. It is now a secular and humanist organisation and is “one of the oldest freethought communities in existence”.
The talks we went to were part of the Sunday lecture series. They were:
‘Schopenhauer and Character-Determinism’ by Tom Rubens ‘Don’t get fooled again’ by Richard Wilson ‘Infinity and Immortality’ by Adrian Moore
We also went to some of the events of the ‘Festival of Film and Philosophy’ week in the summer that were held there.
At a discussion on ‘Will’ following on from the Schopenhaeur talk (who of course influenced Nietzsche and Lawrence), I got talking to a lady that happened to be a librarian involved in fighting some of the library cuts. One of these campaigns was fighting cuts in Brent Libraries. She then put me in touch with Charles Rudd, who is heavily involved with this campaign and who provided me with some additional information. I said that I would happily insert this information in my next newsletter – so here it is – see below:
“Campaigners in [London Borough of] Brent have been fighting the Council’s decision to close six of its twelve libraries. In 2011 a legal challenge went all the way to the Supreme Court, which however refused us permission to appeal against the lower courts’ judgment that Brent’s action, and the consultation which preceded it, were not unjustified. Since then, “pop-up” libraries have been set up at Barham Park, Preston and Cricklewood (at least), and moves are afoot to set up community libraries in some areas, which would be run by volunteers. For details, see www.brentlibraries.wordpress.com
I hope this information is helpful to those out there that are currently actively involved in campaigns to try to save and protect various London libraries.
8. ALEXANDER RIKOWSKI OBTAINING A PLACE TO STUDY LAW PART-TIME AT BIRKBECK COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON
Our eldest son, Alexander, has obtained a place to study for a Qualifying Law Degree (LLM) part-time at Birkbeck College, University of London. This means that he will be very busy indeed, as he will continue to work full-time at New Hunts House Library, King’s College London, but it should prove to be rewarding for him, long-term.
9. 3 NEW ITEMS ON MY ‘SERENDIPITOUS MOMENTS’ BLOG
There are 3 new items up on my ‘Serendipitous Moments’ blog. These are: ‘Women in Love’ by D.H. Lawrence, ‘Sustaining Alternative Universities’ and ‘Life in the Higher Sausage Factory’ – the paper
This newsletter includes some more good news regarding our sons working in the library and information world, information about 2 new authors that I have recently commissioned for Chandos Publishing and David Black and Chris Ford’s new book on Chartism.
1. ALEXANDER RIKOWSKI OBTAINS PERMANENT POSITION AT MAUGHAN LIBRARY, KING’S COLLEGE LONDON
Leading on from my last newsletter, I am delighted to say that our eldest
son, Alexander Rikowski, now has a permanent position, working as an
‘Information Assistant’, at the Maughan Library, King’s College London. It is a wonderful atmosphere there in a very beautiful building,
He is also back working in the library that he used when he was a
Philosophy student there, so has easy access to all those lovely Philosophy
books again! What could be better!
2. VICTOR RIKOWSKI ON FRONT PAGE OF JUNE 2012 ISSUE OF ‘CILIP UPDATE’
I was very surprised and delighted to discover that our middle son, Victor Rikowski, is on the front cover of the June 2012 issue of ‘CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professioanls Update’, taking Rhyme Time with children at the Idea Store, Chrisp Street in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. See
To be honest, I initially took the magazine out of its wrapping and left it on the table for several days without looking at it. When I finally got to have a read through it, I did not even notice the front cover at first. I flicked through ‘Update’ and then, low and behold I spotted an article by Kate Pitman, Idea Store Development Manager and member of the Strategy Group of the London Libraries Consortium. She was writing about the 10 year celebration of Idea Stores in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, which is where Victor works, of course. So, I started paying attention!
The article is entitled ‘A roaring trade in ideas’ (pp. 32-34). I then casually wondered whether Victor might possibly get a mention, as he has been working very hard and has been very pro-active there, taking Rhyme Time sessions, book clubs and creative writing workshops etc. I then spotted him in one of the small pictures in the article (on p. 34). I showed this to Glenn. He then pointed out to me that Victor was also actually on the front cover. Wow – amazing! The cover is entitled: ‘Fun times and learning at Idea Store, Chrisp Street’.
As part of its 10-year birthday celebration, Idea Stores also had a Short Story Competition, and Victor ran some Creative Writing workshops for anyone that wanted extra help with writing for the competition. The story had to cover a 10-year period. Our youngest son, Gregory Rikowski, went to one of the sessions and actually entered the competition (although did not win!). Anyway, we decided to insert his short story on our website, so here is the link:
Leading on from all of this, I contacted the Managing Editor at ‘CILIP Update’, Rachel Middleton. Rachel explained that the cover picture was chosen from a number of different pictures that Idea Stores sent to them and said that she would gladly send Victor a copy. I told her something about our background, and the fact that Victor first wrote for the library and information world when he was just 14 years old – see http://www.libr.org/isc/articles/14-Victor_Rikowski.html.
I also mentioned the fact that the then editor of CILIP Update, Elpseth Hyams, came to the book launch for my digitisation book at UCL in 2011.
I explained that although I am not currently writing non-fiction material, I might make an exception for ‘Update’, if that would be useful and help to fill in some of the missing gaps.
3. COMMISSIONING JAMIE O’BRIEN AND CHRIS WALKER TO WRITE BOOKS FOR CHANDOS PUBLISHING
I am delighted to say that I have commissioned 2 new people to write
books for Chandos Publishing: these are Jamie O’Brien and Chris
Dr Jamie O’Brien is a Research Manager at University College London Virtual Environments, Imaging and Visualisation, a multi-
disciplinary research and training centre. Jamie came to the book
launch for my digitisation book, which was held at UCL last year.
Whilst, Dr Chris Walker wrote an excellent review of my digitisation
book for ‘CILIP Update’, January 2012 (see my newsletter No. 49, item
13). Chris is a part-time lecturer at Leeds Metropolitan University and a Law Librarian at the College of Law in York.
The tentative titles for their books are:
‘Spatiializing Knowledge’ by Jamie O’Brien
‘Qualitative Research and Grounded Theory for LIS Professionals and Students’ by Chris Walker
I wish James and Chris all the very best with the writing of their Chandos books.
4. BOOK LAUNCH FOR ‘1839: THE CHARTIST INSURRECTION’ BY DAVID BLAKE AND CHRIS FORD
Friends and comrades of ours, Dave Black andChris Ford have a new book just out about the Chartist Movement. The book is entitled:
‘1839: The Chartist Insurrection’ by David Black and Chris Ford, Unkant Publishing: London, 2012 ISBN 978 0 9568176 7 9 (pbk).
Glenn went along to the book launch at the Workers Education Association, in East London, and it proved to be an interesting and enjoyable event.
He also purchased a copy of the book and proceeded to read it very quickly!
The book is very thorough and detailed and really paints a very full and clear picture of the whole event, providing accurate information and filling in many of the missing gaps. It makes it very clear just how significant the whole Chartist movement was, and that it was not just something that can be ‘swept under the carpet’. Interestingly, when I spoke to my sons about this, none of them had heard of the Chartist Movement. ‘Did you not study it as part of your basic history at school?”, I asked. ‘No’, they replied. Well, that just about says it all and helps to explain why Dave and Chris thought it was so necessary to write this book. It will, I am sure, prove to be an invaluable resource as well as a guide for future struggles. Dave and Chris thank various librarians for helping them to gather the historical material together. The book was a lot of work and took them many years to research and write.
There is a valuable endorsement of the book on the back cover by Ben Watson, who says:
“In retrieving the suppressed history of the Chartist insurrection, David Black and Chris Ford have written a revolutionary handbook. Without romanticism or condescension, they track the difficulties of unifying local revolts without selling out to the ‘representative politics’ favoured in the parliamentary charade. As today’s anti-capitalism faces the problem of anger without organisation, the lessons of the Chartists become crucial. Dialectics is not something to be derived from pure philosophy: by looking at the political problems of an insurgent working class. Black and Ford resurrect the true One-to-Many dialectic.”
Dave also spoke at the book launch for my globalisation book, which was held at London South Bank University, in 2005. Dave’s talk was very good and he had lots of wise words to say about ‘value’, in particular.
We wish Dave and Chris every success with their book.
5. 6 NEW ENTRIES ON MY ‘SERENDIPITOUS MOMENTS’ BLOG
There are 6 news entries up on my ‘Serendipitous Moments’ blog:
2 entries about library privatisation threats and cutbacks (demonstrating that the predictions that I first made in 2001 are very much now coming to pass); 1 entry about critical pedagogy and 3 focusing on the classics.
These are: ‘The Creative University and Paulo Freire’, ‘Strike: Greenwich Libraries Staff to Strike over GLL Takeover’, ‘Walk and Rally for Greenwich Public Libraries’, ‘Jane Austen and Douglas Kennedy’, ‘Let Other Pens Dwell on Guilt and Misery’ and ‘Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy’.
The newsletter was written in March 2009, and it is the 2nd news item.
My great grandparents ran schools in Essex and Cornwall at the end of the 19th century. They were both qualified teachers, and of course this is something that I am very proud of. And clearly, it has all had quite some influence on me, in one way or another (with my love of books and learning etc).
This second cousin contacted me, saying that we had the same great grandparents. Wow! My great grandfather emigrated to Canada and one of his children went with him and decided to stay. She then went on to have 6 children. And these relations are descendants from that line, of course.
Anyway, another Canadian second cousin recently contacted me and came to the UK and we were fortunate enough to be able to meet up with him and exchange family information, genealogy, thoughts and ideas. Once again, it was surprising and interesting to find what we all had in common, and helped to give us a better sense of who we are and where we come from. Several of us spent a lovely afternoon together. It helped us all to piece together some more pieces of the jigsaw. Perhaps, one day I will get to write something more substantial about our family history. We will have to wait and see.
Here’s sending all good wishes to my cousins across the oceans.
7. ‘COLD HANDS & QUARTER MOON' ALBUM REMIXED AND FOR SALE
Victor Rikowski has now remixed his ‘Cold Hands & Quarter Moon’ CD. He went to Bangor recently, and distributed copies to his friends. An earlier remix of one of the tracks (‘Human Herbs’) can be found on YouTube at:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs
If anyone would like a copy (£5.00 + p.& p.), then please do get in touch.
Hope you have a good summer!
N.B. Many thanks to Tina Besley for providing information about the ‘Creative University and Paulo Freire’ (an entry on my ‘Serendipitous Moments’ blog in item 5 above), and to David Marzella for providing information about the Strike in Greenwich Libraries (2 entries on my ‘Serendipitous Moments’ blog in item 5 above).
Some more good news from us in regard to our sons: Alexander Rikowski, our eldest son, is now working (as from February 2012) at Guy’s New Hunt’s House Library, King’s College London as an ‘Information Assistant’.
This newsletter also includes information about 2 talks that Glenn gave fairly recently; his re-invigoration of Marxism and Education and related articles, and a Symposium on the work of Paula Allman.
All that and a number of other items, including a book by Adam Winger, which I commissioned for Chandos Publishing, are all included in this newsletter.
1. ALEXANDER RIKOWSKI CURRENTLY WORKING AS AN ‘INFORMATION ASSISTANT’ AT GUY’S NEW HUNT’S HOUSE LIBRARY, KINGS COLLEGE LONDON AND PREVIOUSLY WORKING AT THE IDEA STORE Our eldest son, Alexander, is now working at Guy’s New Hunt’s House Library, King’s College London, as an ‘Information Assistant’ (on a temporary contract). He is loving the work and the academic environment there. Finally, he is making his King’s degree work for him, it seems! Let’s hope that all this continues.
Prior to this, Alex worked for a while as a Temp for the ‘Idea Store’, working with Victor at the Chrisp Street branch in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. And prior to that, and following on from his degree, he was a ‘Civil Enforcement Officer’, where he learnt a lot about conflict management, good team work practice and various aspects of traffic regulations and law. But not surprisingly the job became unsafe so it was time to move on!
2. SYMPOSIUM ON THE WORK OF PAULA ALLMAN HELD AT THE INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON ON 4TH FEBRARY 2012, AS PART OF THE MERD SEMINARS – MERD XVI A Symposium on the work of Paula Allman (who sadly passed away last autumn 2011), in praise and celebration of her writings and publications took place at the Institute of Education, University of London, on 4th February 2012. This was run as a part of the MERD (‘Marxism and Education: Renewing Dialogues’) seminars – MERD XVI. Paula, incidentally, spoke at the very first MERD (in 2002) – see http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=events&sub=MERD
The Symposium was convened by Tony Green, Alpesh Maisuria and Glenn Rikowski. Tony booked the room and filmed the events of the day (at the request of Paula’s daughter); Alpesh took the bookings and Glenn invited the speakers and also spoke himself.
There were some 20 odd people there – all people that clearly held Paula and her work in very high regard. There were 6 speakers altogether and they all knew and admired Paula, as well as highly rating and valuing her work. They were:
Peter Mayo (University of Malta) Helen Colley (University of Huddersfield) Sarah Carpenter (University of Toronto)
Margaret Ledwith (University of Cumbria) Mike Neary (University of Lincoln) Glenn Rikowski (University of Northampton)
Peter began the day, and gave a lot of interesting and useful background information in regard to Paula’s work and about Paula herself. In particular, he put her on the right road, helping her to get her first book published.
Then, Helen and Sarah in their talks, emphasised how much they valued Paula’s writing and how they used and were continuing to use Paula’s work and ideas in their own areas of writing and research and building on all of that. They had also both held reading groups on Paula’s work at their respective universities. In addition, in her talk, Helen emphasised the big influence that Glenn’s work has had on her.
In the afternoon session, Margaret took a general left/critical position and placed Paula’s work and influence within this. One of the topics she covered was child poverty.
Meanwhile, Mike’s talk was extremely intellectual, stimulating and alternative. This included Mike having a critical edge on Paula’s work itself. Mike praised her work but also felt that Paula saw the struggle as being something outside of the system, rather than something that we are all immersed in. Or as Mike and Glenn have expressed it on previous occasions – we all live and breath within the ‘social universe of capital’. In addition, Mike was not sympathetic to Paula’s pedagogy of love approach; thinking that it was too romantic, and that, instead, we needed a pedagogy of hate. Personally, I find this is a real strength of Paula’s work; she has great hope in humanity. I think if there was more love for humankind in general, we would all be much better off. But anyway, it was all very absorbing stuff and all makes for interesting debate.
People were very engaged with the whole day, and there was an interesting discussion at the end. This was partly sparked off by Glenn’s talk, where Glenn emphasised that Paula saw Critical Educators as people that should be gathering and spreading the seed; spreading the wise words about revolutionary critical pedagogy (a term that Paula coined) and many of the other ideas that were encapsulated in Paula’s work. And in particular, as he said, it is important to make the most of what Paula did in regard to understanding and summarising much of Marx’s work and making it more easily accessible and readable to others. That was certainly a real achievement on her part.
Glenn said, basically, that it was up to the people at the Symposium to get the ball rolling. But unfortunately, there were not any firm suggestions about how to take Paula’s work forward at the Symposium, no definite decisions were made and there were no firm commitments. Hopefully in time, people will start to realise the importance of it all in a fundamental way and will start to take some more decisive action; such as the setting up of reading groups, modules, conferences, open discussions etc around Paula’s work.
Anyway, Glenn did what he felt was right in regard to making this Symposium happen and helping to further increase awareness and knowledge about Paula’s work.
Leading on from this, there have been suggestions for publishing a book based on the Symposium, with Sense Publishers and/or with Palgrave MacMillan.
After Paula retired she concentrated on getting her single-authored books published above all else. She was very single-minded and determined about it all, and that was a very wise decision, we think, particularly given the state of her health. It was very important to her that she used her time sensibly and productively.
Paula’s ability to understand and summarise some of the key aspects of Marx’s work is incredible. In On Marx she does this for Marx’s Capital Volumes 1-3 and she says:
“This very brief but relatively comprehensive précis of Capital Volumes 1-3, Marx’s brilliant ‘outing’ of capital’s essence as well as the manifestation of this essence in the concrete reality of fully developed capitalist societies, should enable a brief consideration of capitalism’s culpability in some of the major problems facing humanity.” (p. 21)
But for me, the most inspiring part of her work revolved around the faith and love she had in humanity; her hope that in a world beyond capitalism people could be at one with their species being, be able to find fulfilment and self-expression and to realise their full potential.
In On Marx Paula says that:
“In future communist/socialist societies, infinite humanisation would be a major objective, fully supported such that individuals would be able to develop all the potentials of which there were capable.” (p.62)
But also in referring to being human she has this to say:
“What it means to be a human being and for all people to be able not only to live as human beings but also to be able to develop their potentials more fully is also at stake, but then it always has been.” (p. 66)
So, it will all require a lot of thought and effort, but is something that is very worthwhile, well vital, in my view, if we are ever to live together in a really decent, civilised and humane way.
And finally at the end of On Marx she says that:
“The ultimate intent is to prepare people to become committed to and engaged in the process of humanisation through the struggle for revolutionary self and socio-economic transformation.” (p. 67)
Yes, indeed – becoming really human and becoming at one with our species being. And then, as Marx says, we can be in a world where people can live:
“From each according to her/his ability to each according to her/his need.”
3. PETER MCLAREN’S UK TOUR IN 2012 Peter McLaren, who is now Professor of Critical Studies in Education at the University of the Auckland, New Zealand, did a tour of the UK at the end of January/beginning of February 2012. He gave talks on Critical Pedagogy at the University of Limerick, Ireland; Middlesex University (as part of a one-day conference on ‘Critical Pedagogy/Critical Education’), Anglia Ruskin University and the Institute of Education, University of London.
4. GLENN RIKOWSKI’S KEYNOTE SPEECH AT ASTON UNIVERSITY, BIRMINGHAM As part of what Glenn has called his ‘Comeback Tour’ he gave a Keynote Address at the International Professional Development Association Conference last November 2011, which was held at Aston University, Birmingham. The Conference topic was ‘Learning: a public good or a private commodity?’ and Glenn’s talk was entitled ‘Higher Education in Crises of Capital and Labour’. For more information see:
5. GLENN RIKOWSKI’S GUEST LECTURE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF EAST LONDON – ‘LIFE IN THE HIGHER SAUSAGE FACTORY’ Leading on from this, and continuing with the ‘Comeback Tour’Glenn gave a guest lecture at the University of East London, to the Teacher Education Research Group. This was on the topic of ‘Life in the Higher Sausage Factory’ (inspired by a Marx quote of course!), and was held on 22nd March 2012. Glenn wrote a 15,000 word paper (approx), which will probably go on our website at some point. There were some 20 people there, the talk went well, and there was a lively and interesting discussion following on from it all.
At some point he also intends to put material that he wrote some 30 years ago (whilst he was at Warwick University) on our website, so that will also be added to the list. Then, there will be a full historical picture and record!
7. GLENN RIKOWSKI’S RE-INVIGORAION OF ‘MARXISM AND EDUCATION’ Glenn has, indeed, done so very much to re-invigorate Marxism and Education as a topic. He was first inspired by the whole subject when studying for his PGCE at the Institute of Education, University of London, in the mid 1970s. This led on from our joint enthusiasm for Marxism when we were undergraduates. Not liking capitalism and wanting to find a better way of living and operating, Marxism provided us with hope and inspiration.
With some of his writing colleagues Glenn has argued and wrote ‘for’ Marxism and ‘against’ Post-Modernism. He brought many to Marxism and Education for the first time, enthusing and inspiring them, brought others back to it, and made the whole topic more ‘respectable’ and popular in general.
Leading on from all of this, and summarising many of the developments that have taken place from the 1970s to present on the topic, particularly in regard to Marxist Educational theory, Glenn wrote a paper and gave a talk for the 4th Historical Materialism Annual Conference. This was held on 9th-11th November 2007, in the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. The paper was entitled ‘Marxist Education Theory Unplugged’. This is also now available on our website.
And it is Marxist Educational Theory that Glenn has really developed and will continue to develop. We need to adapt and develop Marx’s work (and not treat it like the Bible), and make it relevant for capitalist life today. Only by such means can we really hope to move beyond this sick, money-making and exploitative world: to move towards a world beyond capitalism. And so, Glenn’s project for the last 30 years has been to do this in regard to Education specifically.
8. COMMISSIONING ADAM WINGER TO WRITE A BOOK FOR CHANDOS PUBLISHING - ‘DEVELOPING ARCHIVES AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS: FROM THE GROUND UP’ Last autumn I commissioned Adam Winger from the Stevens Institute of Technology, USA, to write a book for Chandos Publishing, which he is making good progress with, with his co-author Trevor Alvord from James Madison University, USA.
The book is entitled: Developing Archives and Special Collections: From the ground up.
Below is some further information about the book – extracts from the Advanced Information (AI) Sheet that Chandos circulates. As the AI says, the book traces the moving from a disorganised archive to an ‘integrated digital presence’, so in this way, it encompasses some of the areas that are covered in my ‘Digitisation Perspectives’ book.
I wish Adam and Trevor every success with their book.
“Archives and special collections organize rare books, manuscripts, and unique objects. They must at once process and preserve special materials, and make these accessible to the public. Developing Archives and Special Collections details the strategies and obstacles in moving from a relatively disorganized archive, reminiscent of an attic, to an organized and robustly integrated digital presence, detailing the process of developing an archive, from inception to completion….”
Key Features Include · gives a model for developing an archive from the ground up, into a digital presence · provides practical applications that include processing concepts, basic conservation, digital collection tools, and marketing ideas
Contents Include Introduction: History of the Stevens Family and the Institute; The history and state of the archives; Conceptualizing an action plan Gaining Intellectual Control: Discovering the collection; Conceptualizing organization; Planning for action Processing: Physically arranging the collection; More Product Less Process; Basic materials preservation Description: Using description standards; Accessioning ; Creating finding aids and container lists Digital Collections: Creating digital collections; Diversifying digital collections; Creating a web of digital collections Partnerships, Marketing and Outreach: Innovative thinking in partnerships to achieve your goals; Developing advocates for your library; Making your work visible.”
9. ‘FREUDIAN CRISIS IN THE MODERN ERA’ BY GREGORY RIKOWSKI, ON OUR ‘FLOW OF IDEAS’ WEBSITE Our youngest son, Gregory, has been taking a lively interest in the work of the Freud family recently, and in Psychology and Psycho-analysis, in general. Leading on from this, he wrote a piece which he entitled ‘Freudian Crisis in the Modern Era’, and this is now on our ‘Flow of Ideas’ website. See: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/print.php?page=402&slink=yes
He has uncovered a lot of important stuff here, particularly in regard to the propaganda/public relations work of Edward Bernays (the nephew of Sigmund Freud), who is someone that Glenn and I had never heard of before. One is always learning, eh!
Finally, Gregory is currently doing some voluntary work in Westminster Libraries – yes, the library tradition in the Rikowski family continues….This is bringing a smile to all our faces!
10. 2 NEW SONGS BY VICTOR RIKOWSKI UP ON YOUTUBE AND REMIXES OF SOME ‘COLD HANDS & QUARTER MOON’ NUMBERS (working towards an album) Victor has 2 new songs up on YouTube.
The first is ‘The Lamb’ which is a poem by William Blake that Victor has put to music. The whole mix is by him. Victor originally wrote this (a simplified version) when he was in the 6th form (17 years old), studying for his A’ Levels at Havering Sixth Form college. It is lovely to see that he has now returned to it, and turned it into a really beautiful song.
These entries are: information about the Symposium on the work of Paula Allman, ‘The Freud Exposure’, ‘The Woman in the Fifth’ and ‘Life in the Higher Sausage Factory’.
12. 5 COPIES OF MY DIGITISATION BOOK IN LONDON SOUTH BANK UNIVERSITY LIBRARY AND BOOK BEING USED AS A CORE TEXT I was pleased to discover that there are no less than 5 copies of my ‘Digitisation Perspectives’ (Sense Publishers, 2011) book in London South Bank University Library.
Dr Dieu Hack-Polay has been using the book (but just his own chapter) as a core text on the ‘Strategic International HR’ module that he teaches on. Dieu is a colleague of mine and contributed a chapter to the book, at my invitation.
13. BOOK REVIEWS OF ‘DIGITISATION PERSPECTIIVES’ IN ‘CILIP UPDATE’ AND ‘MANAGING INFORMATION’
A great review of ‘Digitisation Perspectives’ edited by Ruth Rikowski Sense Publishers, 2011 was published in CILIP Update, January 2012, p. 38. The review is by Dr Christopher Walker, Researcher and Lecturer in the Faculty of Arts, Environment and Technology, Leeds Metropolitan University. Walker concludes his review saying that the book “…offers information professionals and students an excellent starting point, in a readable, accessible form…”
Monica Blake also provided a thorough review of the book for Managing Information (Vol 18, Iss 10, 2011, p.56).
Some great news from us this autumn: in October our middle son, Victor Rikowski, obtained a full-time permanent position as an ‘Idea Store Co-Coordinator’ at the Idea Store, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
More information about that, and some other news items, are below.
1. VICTOR RIKOWSKI OBTAINED A PERMANENT POSITION AT THE ‘IDEA STORE’ IN THE LONDON BOROUGH OF TOWER HAMLETS, AS AN ‘IDEA STORE CO-ORDINATOR’ IN OCTOBER 2011 Very exciting – our middle son, Victor, obtaining a full-time permanent position at The Idea Store, a public library/community resource in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. He started working there as a temp in the early summer (shortly before he got his degree results), loved it from day one, and really wanted to work there permanently.
Victor was very determined about it all, and now he has succeeded. He has already set up a Creative Writing workshop there (leading on from his degree). Many different workshops and courses take place on a wide range of subjects at the Idea Stores, (e.g. fitness, cooking, I.T., fashion, business and finance), all at very affordable prices. To enrol or for more information about all these courses call 0207364 5665, or visit the website.
Victor has taken an Ancestry work shop and he regularly takes the ‘Rhyme Time’ session with children – playing his guitar and singing, telling stories, colouring, helping children with their homework etc. Furthermore, he also now participates with the sessions for the over 50’s – again, playing his guitar and singing etc. He does all that and much more at the Idea Store.
2. A ‘MARXISM AND EDUCATION: RENEWING DIALOGUES’ SEMINAR IN PRAISE AND CELEBRATION OF PAULA ALLMAN’S WORK – TO BE HELD AT THE INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON,
ON 4th FEBRUARY 2012 In celebration of Paula Allman’s work (Glenn holds the view that Paula has written the best books ever on Marxism and Education), Glenn is organising (with Tony Green and Alpesh Maisuria) a free one-day seminar at the Institute of Education, University of London, to be held on 4th February 2012. This will be held under the ‘MERD (‘Marxism and Education: Renewing Dialogues’) banner’. Sadly, whilst in the process of organising this event, Paula passed on (we knew that she was living on borrowed time). But it is lovely that this seminar is being organised, in praise, celebration and appreciation of her work. The following people will be speaking:
Sarah Carpenter, Helen Colley, Margaret Ledwith, Peter Mayo, Mike Neary, and Glenn Rikowski.
3. WOODBERRY DOWN COMMUNITY LIBRARY IN LONDON BOROUGH OF
HACKNEY RUN BY VOLUNTEERS David Marzella, a union rep in Greenwich Public Libraries informed me about a library in the London Borough of Hackney that is solely run by volunteers. The library is called Woodberry Down Community Library.
The article written on 29th November 2010 is interesting and informative. Woodberry Down is a large run-down estate in Hackney with a population of 280,000. Woodberry Down Library used to be a large library in a very impressive building apparently. It was in the middle of the estate and was popular with the local community.
But then, the council had financial problems which resulted in closure of the library in 1996. The community occupied the building in protest, but were unable to stop the closure. Some other libraries were also closed at the time, leaving only 7 branches open in Hackney.
The building was turned into the Robin Redmond Community Centre. Then, in 2006, after some regeneration funding, a survey of the local people was conducted, and it was established that there was a need for some kind of library. A group of council officers came up with the idea of: “a community-led library, run by volunteers, owned by the community and only requiring low revenue expenditure.”
In March 2007 a small room in the community centre was opened – this was now to be the library. It was to be staffed solely by volunteers and funding for the room was to come from regeneration money. ‘Lady Starling’ says:
“…it is a library run by the council, but just with unpaid workers. It has all the support and infrastructure of the council library service such as new stock and the linked IT system; but also the constraints. The volunteers are employees in the hierarchy of the council with the same lack of autonomy, but just without the pay. The books, equipment and IT are centrally ordered…”
‘Lady Starling’ concluded that there was a good community atmosphere in the library but that it still felt “like a library run on the cheap”.
At the end of October 2011 I decided to go and visit the library with 2 of my sons, Alexander and Gregory, and see it all for ourselves. A friendly and helpful volunteer spoke to us and showed us round. She explained that the library had gone into a new building just 8 weeks before, so there was still much work to do in regard to publicising the new location etc. The library was indeed very small. Having said that, there were actual books in it (thank goodness!) and there was a children’s section, which apparently was well used. Groups of children (from nurseries etc.) go and use the library on a regular basis.
Having said all that, when we were there, there were no other users there at all and it did seem to be tucked away, and difficult to find (we certainly had some difficulty in finding it). Neither did it really have the feel of a library, but felt more like a resource centre housed within a big complex.
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for Woodberry Down Community Library and where the future of library volunteering is going in general. Apparently, Hackney Libraries are, yet again, currently being restructured.
4. ‘LIBRARY SYSTEMS CONSORTIA: A STRATEGY FOR DEVELOPMENT AND
SURVIVAL?’ – TALK GIVEN BY WILL BLACKBURN AT A CILIP IN LONDON MEETING ON 10TH October 2011 I had not been to a CILIP in London meeting for quite some time, so decided to go along to this one, with my youngest son, Gregory. The talk was about libraries joining consortias “to cut costs, streamline operations…”
However, Will Blackburn frequently used language and vocabulary in a way that it was difficult to decipher, we thought; it seemed to be more a process of camouflage. If people are in the process of cutting back our libraries I think they should be honest about it.
Instead, Will said, for example, that the consortia can ‘strengthen the library position’ and enable libraries to ‘fight the good fight’.
Even the definition of the consortia, and what it was actually about, remained somewhat elusive. Will Blackburn also emphasised the need to continually change and evolve and the ‘lack of sovereignty’ in the consortia.
So, anyway, this is the way in which many things are drifting in the library and information profession. We need to take stock and re-assess.
Still, it is good that CILIP in London continue to hold these meetings (given the cutbacks etc) and alert people to these important happenings and developments.
The latest issue of ‘Information for Social Change’, No 31, Summer 2011, edited by Martyn Lowe is now out. Contributors include: Martyn Lowe, John Pateman, Jeff Cloves and Julie Biando Edwards.
ISC are also currently undergoing some changes, particularly in regard to social networking tools – so watch this space!
6. PIECE ON ‘MULTICULTURALISM’ BY DAVID KAGOTHO NDERITU NOW AVAILABLE ON OUR ‘FLOW OF IDEAS’ WEBSITE http://www.flowideas.co.uk/print.php?page=401&slink=yes David Kagotho Nderitu was someone that we connected with a few years ago, who then, at my suggestion, wrote some material for Information for Social Change.
David recently told me about an article that he was writing about ‘Multicultural Britain’ and wondered if it might be something that ISC would be interested in. ISC still, as yet, have to make a decision but meanwhile, David was happy for it to be inserted on our website, so here it is. The title of the piece is ‘Multicultural Britain: what does it mean for black people?’
7. ALEXANDER RIKOWSKI’S ESSAY ON DESCARTES ACCOUNT OF THE MIND AND THE BODY IS NOW ON OUR ‘FLOW OF IDEAS’ WEBSITE http://www.flowideas.co.uk/print.php?page=398&slink=yes Another essay that Alexander Rikowski wrote whilst he was a Philosophy undergraduate student at King’s College London (in his 2nd year) is now available on our website. This is on the topic of Descartes account of the mind and the body. This became an important topic for us this autumn, because of the interest that our youngest son Gregory is currently taking in Descartes philosophy. See also item 7 below, which refers to my entry about Descartes on my ‘Serendipitous Moments’ blog.
8. 7 NEW ITEMS UP ON MY ‘SERENDIPITOUS MOMENTS’ BLOG http://ruthrikowskiim.blogspot.com/ There are 7 new items up on my ‘Serendipitous Moments’ blog. 2 items about workshops that Victor Rikowski has been involved with and organised at the Idea Store – Ancestry and Creative Writing Workshops; a piece about Industries for Females (with ‘tongue in cheek’); ‘The Wise Man and the Foolish Man’; some brief thoughts about the philosopher Descartes, a news item about Diana Edmonds, becoming Head of Libraries Division within Greenwich Leisure Ltd. and an item about Social Dancing at the Guild Hall.
9. ‘CHEERFUL SIN’ VIDEO – SONG WRITTEN, PRODUCED AND SANG BY
VICTOR RIKOWSKI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIbX5aKUjO8 With the money that Victor has been earning, he decided to buy himself some new musical instruments and musical equipment. One of the results of this has been that he has made a video of a song that he has written, entitled ‘Cheerful Sin’, which is now on YouTube. We think that this is a very beautiful song, and hope that you agree!
10. GREAT REVIEW OF MY BOOK, ‘DIGITISATION PERSPECTIVES’ IS NOW AVAILABLE IN ‘THE HIGHER EDUCATION ACADEMY’ - REVIEW BY ERIC JUKES http://www.ics.heacademy.ac.uk/publications/book_reviews/full_review.php?id=729 A great review of my book ‘Digitisation Perspectives’, Sense Publishers, 2011, is now available on the ‘Higher Education Academy’ website. The reviewer, Eric Jukes (who was also at the book launch), outlines the areas covered in the book, gives the book a 5/5 rating and ends by saying:
“This is an excellent work and one which is well recommended, firstly for those involved, or embarking on, a digitisation project, for librarians, knowledge and information professionals, academics and, even those who might want to probe into the ethics of digitisation…”
That’s all for now. The next newsletter will be distributed at end March 2012.
1st January 2012
N.B. Many thanks to David Marzella and Eric Jukes for providing information for items 3 and 10 respectively.
I live a varied life - writing and editing; teaching and lecturing; enjoying music, especially dancing and singing; coming from a library and information background; love books and reading; enjoy my immediate family (have 3 sons) and friends; love the theatre and going to concerts (e.g. the Royal Festival Hall, the Globe Theatre). I could go on and on...but better probably to just read my Updates! They tell you lots about me.