Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Most patient generation ever?

some of you will be old enough to remember the mods and rockers and the tensions between them, and between them and society. Others will have read Stanley Cohen's research and his term "moral panic" and been aware of the rather exaggerated claims of the media at the time (riots? hmm) - but there certainly was antipathy. The other day enjoying the Goodwood Revival meeting I was a bit surprised to see the mods and rockers shown here, all riding original equipment (the Revival is like that), but all together with no anomosity at all. One of the fishermen on the boat moored next to mine was / is a mod, he is a very nice chap. I asked him about this and he said "we go to all the events together these days, we're all great friends now - we are far too old to be kicking off these days".

Which led me to think about the chain of teddy boys, mods n rockers, hippies, punk, etc etc. and to wonder where are the protest youth cultures of today? Are today's children now so mature that they have already reached the point the mods and rockers took decades to get to ("too old to be kicking off") - I don't think so, or is it that they no longer clash with the older generations because unlike the previous generations they don't occupy the same space as old folk (previously the beachess, cinema, etc). Perhaps they are away in online social spaces, or texting, where they don't rub shoulders with old folk, maybe? Or are they just amazingly patient...

But as we force them through factory schools reminiscent of the mods and rockers own era back so many years ago, and load them with fees for doing what the nation needs, how long honestly do we think that will patience last. And what next?

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Higher education innovation

Universities struggle so much with this new millennium. Their usual spreadsheet of a room allocation chart with its cells ends up all-too-often as a blueprint for building as the cells become physically just that. Of course walking round universities we find that most of the cells are empty for most of the time. Like most cells elsewhere, if you leave them unlocked, people escape.

So it was with a particular joy that I found this room in a university near the centre of England which had been set aside for "innovation". Inside it was just another cell with seminar style rectangular desks and dull office chairs. There was another innovation room - seen here - with exactly that room allocation timetable on the door - and even more dull furniture inside!

You could practically hear the conversation: "Innovation? yes we're on top of that - here it is in the spreadsheet, Room 250"

Oh dear, I'm not sure that many universities will make it, are you?