Tactics and Praxis: Creativity, Pleasure and Ethics in Academic Work

9 July 2020 - 10 July 2020

SG1/2, CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DT

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This conference, which develops out of our series of seminar workshops, (https://www.tacticsandpraxis.org), aims to reinvigorate approaches to academic work in its relation to creativity, ethics and pleasure. We take our cue from the ‘diversionary tactics’ described by Michel de Certeau in The Practice of Everyday Life, which he believed could foster ‘a return of the ethical, of pleasure and of invention within the scientific institution’ (1984: 28).

The conference will explore cutting-edge work that brings praxis and research into contact in creative ways. In so doing, we will challenge the dominant emphasis on outputs, which views academic labour primarily in terms of productivity. We aim to investigate and encourage creative approaches to intellectual endeavours and research, as well as to interrogate the institutionalization of academic writing and publishing. We will examine the potential of valuing affect, the body and creative praxis, not only as an antidote to the pressures of neoliberal academia, but also as offering new ways of thinking and acting, ethically, politically and intellectually.

Active creative practice will be integral to the conference proceedings, in both structured and unstructured activities. Taking inspiration from the work of Faith Ringgold and others, as well as the projects of the Craftivist Collective (https://craftivist-collective.com/) and traditional community quilts, a collaborative quilt will be created during the conference. We will examine how habitual academic labour might be reinvigorated through a creative understanding of ‘craft’, set into relation with concepts of stitching, (inter)weaving and montage.

Administrative assistance: conferences@crassh.cam.ac.uk