The Radical Librarians Collective would like to send out fullest solidarity to the workers at the Leicester Square School of English. The owner, Craig Tallents, closed down the school without notice, owing staff thousands of pounds in unpaid wages.
On top of this, LSSE management literally left students out in the cold. Having not been told of the school’s decision to close, newly arrived international students came to the school on Monday morning, having already paid for and been promised accommodation that LSSE management knew they would no longer be in a position to provide. Luckily, occupying teachers were their to help them out, but LSSE management were perfectly happy to leave these vulnerable students stranded in central London.
In response to these injustices, staff occupied the school and have organised a campaign to secure their rightful wages. So far, they caused the owner, Craig Tallents, to resign from the posh Bancroft’s School and have caused him to take down the website of his company, Asparagus Management Consulting.
Dr. Gül İnanç from Nanyang Technological University is looking to design HE programmes for refugees. Please read these slides for further information on the back ground to the project
However, so for the role of librarians has been omitted from the discussion, and I see a great opportunity for RLC to contribute…Basically, we reckon we can offer the sorts of things many of us do, but for refugees. Sounds good, right?
A few emails later, Gül has asked “how Radical Librarians can contribute to [planned] online courses, which will be designed for the refugee students.” This will be discussed at the SNIS Workshop (http://www.snis.ch/workshop_incubator_winners) in Geneva on the 24th of Nov.
I imagine some technical/infrastructure possibilities in terms of LibraryBox (although if the courses are online, possibly not… that might need some clarification, but a possibility?) , Critical Information Literacy, OA/information sources etc. Indeed, I recognize the limited information about infrastracture may make this difficult to form concrete ideas, but we may be able to help frame this if we can think of necessary tools etc.
So, how can we support Higher Education for refugees? Do you have presentations that could be used as a basis for the project, then modified as appropriate? Can you think how you of opportunities for learners in this context? Please feel free to chuck your ideas in and discuss in the comments here.
Sadly, even in 2014, manipulative behaviour by those in dominant positions of power continue to occur. Earlier in the year, several cases of men exerting pressure on women emerged from the vlogging community, and there is evidence from within the library and information profession that oppressive practices occur in our professional spheres.
However uncomfortable these revelations have been for us as a community, it is important that we can freely challenge, critique, and debate such behaviours. Radical Librarians Collective strongly believes that this is the way a resilient and supportive community can evolve towards true equality, and this cannot be achieved reactively. Radical Librarians Collective believes in creating and propagating safe spaces by consciously examining our relative positions of power.
We believe that the lawsuit launched by Joe Murphy against Lisa Rabey and nina de jesus sets a dangerous precedent of hampering open discussion of such issues. Litigation will put many more women at risk and will alienate those whose voices vitally need to be heard in order to ensure safe spaces. Abuse in itself occurs under domination. Stripping victims of their means of defence amounts to victim-shaming, and that is the message that this litigation sends.
We therefore issue our full support for #TeamHarpy. Litigation in the face of allegations of sexual harassment is an assault on the rights and freedoms of women. We urge that this action be halted and, furthermore, that all conferences and gatherings within the profession provide a strict safe space policy that is stringent and binding to all who attend. Safe space policies must be articulated and consciously accepted by all members present. Anything less amounts to complacency, and allows only the loudest voices to be heard. A recommended policy can be found here, and the Radical Librarians Collective have effectively used this for our own previous meetings.
No matter the setting, everyone should feel not only able to voice concerns about harassment in all its forms, but to expect that such concerns are tackled head on rather than ignored or overlooked.
Radical Librarians Collective 22/09/2014