The Glasgow Effect: A Discussion (with Loki, Katie Gallogly-Swan & Ellie Harrison)

This discussion from the Glad Cafe revisits the whole Glasgow Effect issues … Please listen, share and comment …

03 Feb 2016: The Glasgow Effect: A Discussion (with Loki, Katie Gallogly-Swan & Ellie Harrison) by Ellie Harrison on Mixcloud

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  1. Fran says:

    Admirable that this conversation has happened, and am sure could continue. It covers so many of the issues that Ellie’s project has kicked off. I’m glad the personal attacks on her were discussed and the misogynist nature of much of them. I worry though that Ellie doesn’t seem to acknowledge an insensitivity or naivety on her part and still feel that she is exploring something that many of us already know. I’m not sure who her findings will be aimed at. Thought Loki spoke especially well, particularly the point he raised about chips. Maybe Ellie will have learned something already.

  2. Alf Baird says:

    “We simultaneously silence and suppress the working class” (KGS). Nae doot aboot that. Related to this, supposedly well spoken, ‘highly’ educated ‘Brits’ are not used to being critiqued by the Scots working classes. It unnerves them. That’s whit this stushie is really aboot, naw?

    ‘Elite’ uni’s in Scotland are stuffed full of researchers mostly from outside Scotland doing research that is often of dubious worth to Scotland (see: Culturally, few of them really ‘get’ Scotland and that is understandable when their knowledge of Scotland or the Scots is limited. Think of all those ‘academic experts’ employed by Scottish uni’s interviewed by the BBC or by Holyrood Committees; the vast majority come from outside Scotland – yet as we listen intently to their doubtless eloquent contributions we dinnae ask oorsels the daft laddie/lassie question, i.e.: “where are the Scots academics/experts”?.

    Rather than Scots uni’s virtually always importing well spoken ‘experts’ in a’ fields, and focusing primarily on high-fee imported post-grads (who then get the research posts afterwards), Scotland surely needs to nurture its own Scottish researchers (irrespective of their background or how they speak!). Then we might begin to do more research of the kind which will actually advance our economy and society; the current state of our economy and society tells us all we need to know about the real effectiveness of much of the current research. At the same time we might advance wir ain fowk fir a change.

    1. Alastair McIntosh says:

      What Alf says would strongly connect with many in the community in Govan, where the general attitude is one of: “So you’re an academic? Show us what good you’re going to do for us,” and where there can be positive anger expressed at researchers who come to peer in, rather than to be with, and sometimes not even the courtesy of sharing findings.

      At the GalGael, we apply the brush test. If they’re willing to take up a brush and do a bit of grafting around the workshop, then maybe they’re worth giving some time to. We’ve had some really good people like that whose research is useful rather than narcissistic (i.e. primarily self-serving).

      The feeling against academics can be very strong. One of our guys just says: “I hate academics.” It is not an anti-intellectualism. He (yeah, Livvy, he’d like to be named, because we’re talking about real people in real places) could wipe the floor intellectually with most of them. Rather, the suspicion is coming from a Scots Challenge (Andy Samuel of Aberray’s term) born of being trampled on from outside by people whose social class conditioning has blinded them to the depth, intelligence and even beauty of what’s before them in grassroots Scottish communities.

      To do social (or artistic) research requires humility to the point of empathy. That “bias”, if it is, can be declared. It’s absence – social disconnect or dispassion in the name of either objectivity or disinterest (or innate sense of superiority) is a different sort of bias, and usually held unconsciously thus more damaging.

    2. Kay Mckellar says:

      This maybe true of Dundee university in general but and this is an important but in this context, the art school that Ms Harrison works for, Duncan of Jordanstone college of art, bucks that employment trend.
      There are rightly, lecturers from all over the world but in the lists of staff you will find a majority scottish bent.
      Artists such as Prof janice Aitken, Prof Murdo MacDonald, Prof Tracey Mackenna, Prof Euan McArthur, Gair Dunlop et. al. By no means an exhaustive list, just a fraction of the staff I’ve had the pleasure of an education from. These people hold top positions It’s not just support staff positions that scots hold.
      I don’t see what your point actually is otherwise?

      1. Alf Baird says:

        “I don’t see what your point actually is”

        Its not that difficult really. Future academics tend to be those with PhDs or at least a postgrad degree or two. If at certain elite uni’s in Scotland some 80% of postgrads come from outside Scotland this implies that the pool of future academics is therefore mostly going to be coming from outside Scotland too. You may be aware that many PhD students tend to pick up full time academic posts in the institution from which they received their PhD. This suggests most future academics in Scotland will not be Scots, and this might already be the case (as I believe it is).

        In addition, virtually all academic vacancies in Scotland, and especially senior posts, are advertised in the Times HES, and via other international media. This implies that the applications for these posts will tend to be dominated by people from outside Scotland (given the weight of rUK and global population vs Scottish population). For very senior posts, such as principal, a requirement tends to be that applicants should have held a post of vice-principal and this again favours the larger number of applicants from outside Scotland.

        Hence the reason so-called ‘Scottish’ universities are invariably not led by Scots:

        The Scottish cringe is nae doot a further influence:

        The foreign:indigenous imbalance in many uni depts and institutes can be substantial – if in doubt I suggest you take a close look. There is also some evidence of ‘academic colonisation’ occurring, i.e. where a senior academic is recruited from outside Scotland and is followed soon after by his/her former colleagues, associates, PhD students etc. A key issue appears to be the lack of adequate regulation, in that Uni’s can do pretty much what they want, even to the extent of paying prinicipal’s (or CEO’s ?) scandalous remuneration packages approaching £400k a year, and at a number of uni’s there are well over 100 senior staff on salaries above £100k, which all seems a bit OTT for what are basically glorified administrators.

        Of course, you may make a different conclusion, assuming you have other evidence.

        As for Dundee, this may be informative:

        As for djcad, I think the overall direction of travel seems broadly consistent which the points I made above:

        1. Kay Mckellar says:

          Eighty scottish academics out of ninety three.
          No, I don’t think the broad movement follows your point at all Alf.

          1. Alf Baird says:

            There are only 66 ‘academics’ at djcad, not 93. Your estimate also seems inaccurate, based on a quick scan. Irrespective, its only one example; there are several hundred departments and institutes across all 19 HE organisations, and thousands of ‘academics’.

            ‘Top management’ seemed par for the course, no? And this was interesting:

            Amazing how often gamekeepers turn poacher in de-regulated Britain.

          2. Kay Mckellar says:

            Ninety three is the correct number, God knows what’s going on with the search facilities.
            My figures are fairly accurate +/-4,(because I don’t know ALL the staff).
            I know these people, I’ve attended Djcad since 2011, been delivered of an education by most of the fine art/time based art /art and media staff members, I’m still studying for my MA at the moment.
            Sadly, there has been a loss of staff in the last two years, as far as I know it’s still ongoing. Fourteen full-time equivalent positions lost when a large proportion of the staff are part time is a lot.
            Brilliant academics, philosophers and artists,many of whom where Scottish. I know this is beside the main point but we have lost so many great thinkers. That has to be harmful to the quality of the education provided.

            The top management are a whole other matter.
            Truly we could do without the majority of that crowd and not miss them.
            Complete waste of money.
            Don’t get me started on the ‘Transformation’ agenda or Ms Alexander and her cosy little job with its huge salary.

            You see, I don’t truly disagree with what you’re saying, I just don’t think we can afford to just claim colonialism as the cause. It’s much more complicated than that.
            I’d like to see stronger union support in an independent Scotland, so that’s the route I will plug away at.

            I do agree it’s a starting point though, and taking any point to measure the circle will work.

  3. howauldzyergranny says:

    There was a friend of mine who just couldn’t get it. He had been trained as a social worker and he could not under any circumstances get that he was now in a room of equals. Every time it went round the room he would take it upon himself to raise the energy levels, to fill the room with positive vibes.

    We used to call him the facilitator.

  4. Josef O Luain says:

    All the top cops are English. Nobody needs me to point out how strange this is, surely?

    1. Alf Baird says:

      There are inevitably going to be costs to Scotland’s integration, subjugation, oppression, or colonialism, call it what you will. For instance, I can’t imagine a situation whereby most of Denmark’s public institutions were being run by well-spoken, ‘better qualified’ Germans, with all the ‘big’ public sector jobs in Denmark advertised mainly in Berlin (less so in Copenhagen). Unless that is, Denmark had been made into a German Lander (i.e. conquered). Thankfully (for Danes), Denmark is independent, and can therefore happily employ and promote its own people into top positions throughout their nation. Scotland appears to have a long way to go, by comparison.

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