Poetry as Productive of Persistent Multiplicities

  • Michael CrowhurstEmail author
  • Michael Emslie
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Arts-Based Educational Research book series (BABER)


As I/we described in Chapter 2 there are many problems with the modern university. For example the proliferation of standardizations, an overbearing and extensive audit and accountability culture, and top down command and controlled decision-making. These conditions sit beside the requirement that academics be creative, innovative and free thinking. Frustrating and stressful contradictions are present at every turn. I/we have been a member of various committees and participation on these has been distressing and troubling and has generated significant negative and detrimental emotional effects. Difficult and taxing critical incidents frequently occur. The temptation in such circumstances and environments is to leave committee work and to carve out a safer space and retreat to this safe place and protect oneself. In this paper I/we argue, drawing on Nancy Fraser (1997), that while strategic retreat is a choice that is justifiable and understandable that this is not always possible, desirable or what people are able or want to do. There are occasions when people either have no choice but to stay and try to persist in problematic situations in the neoliberal university. In this paper we focus on a composite partially fictionalized triggering incident that I/we worked through where I/we felt that I/we had to engage. I/we outline the critical collective/auto/ethnographic and arts based techniques that assisted I/we to persist in this tense place. I/we also briefly consider why I/we think this approach was helpful.


Poetry Persistent multiplicities Complex assemblages Affect Critical/collective/auto/ethnographic Arts-based research 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationRMIT UniversityBundooraAustralia
  2. 2.Youth WorkRMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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