Marta and Sixian recapitulate the year of surprises that was 2016 as we usher in the new year.
2016 was a year of surprises.
In June, the results of the referendum unleashed shock and disbelief amongst the many foreign researchers and students who are working and studying in UK universities. Being based in England, we continue to grapple with the aftershocks of Brexit and its implications. As academics, but also as researchers in the field of Higher Education we cannot help but wonder how this development will affect the university sector – as well the lives and career trajectories of a number of scholars and students.
In this context one must also mention the heated debates around TEF – the Teaching Excellence Framework which sparked many critiques and even an occupation protest at the university where we are based – Warwick. The protest ended peacefully, and the students celebrated Christmas at their homes, rather than at the occupation site, but this event shows that the issue of the ‘Metrics Tide’ in HE is not a theoretical puzzle, but a question with visible ethical and pragmatic implications for the whole academic community. In his letter regarding the end of the student protest, the VC of Warwick comments on this and flags up another issue: The Higher Education and Research Bill, which will no doubt become a hot topic in 2017.
In November, Donald Trump winning the presidential elections in the United States struck many as an electoral upset. 2017 remains a year where the world would come to grips with the American electorate’s choice. The academic world is not as disconnected from this event, as the president elect has a track record of activity in education – namely setting up the controversial Trump University LLC (also known as Trump Wealth Institute and Trump Enterpreneur Initiative LLC) – a curious case study for those studying the history of ‘Academic Capitalism’.
At the homefront, we are working hard to grow our Hypotheses blog and we hope to share many more interesting insights into academia and how researchers work in the coming new year.
We hope to remind our readers or researchers who are interested in discourse studies about two upcoming conferences in 2017:
(i) DN#19 Discourse Net Conference – Discourse, Knowledge and Practice in Society 07 and 08 July 2017, Bucharest, Romania
Keynote Speaker: Isabela Fairclough (University of Central Lancashire)
Distinguished Guest: Norman Fairclough (University of Lancaster)
Deadline for submitting paper proposals: 15 January 2017
(ii) DNC #2 Second International DiscourseNet Congress- Interdisciplinary Discourse Studies: Theory and Practice 13-15 September 2017, University of Warwick (Coventry, United Kingdom)
Keynote Speakers: Ann Phoenix (University College London, Institute of Education, UK) and Michal Krzyzanowski (Örebro University, Sweden)
Deadline for submitting paper proposals: 01 March 2017
The DISCONEX team would like to wish all our readers a Happy New Year! May 2017 be a year full of both academic and personal fulfillment!