The Urmadic recognises that universities worldwide are failing to produce the projects and knowledge needed to respond to critical global circumstances: environmental, social, cultural, geopolitical, economic and political. Disciplinary divisions of knowledge have created restrictive practices that are unable to deal with the relational complexity and problems that our species has created. This condition of limitation has been made worse by universities becoming service providers of intellectual capital for the labour market. Related to this has been the instrumentalisation of learning and the rise of the institutional power of the sciences and technology with a corresponding neglect of the humanities.
These operative conditions are underscored by a business model based on maximising student numbers to generate as much income as possible. Certainly, there are exceptions, but dominantly, universities of the global north and south have become instruments
of neoliberal economics. They have invested in capital works and reductive learning management/quality assurance systems that facilitate monitoring and conformity, rather than sound and appropriate pedagogy. Our critique is just one registration of the failure of the modern university. Bill Readings' University in Ruins, published in 1996, was an early marker of what has become a substantial and diverse critical position.
Rather than just another project seeking an alternative form of
the university, The Urmadic takes cognisance of what drove the transition from the ancient, to the medieval, to the modern university — which was the production of new knowledge appropriated to advance the institution that acted to transform it.
The Urmadic is characterised by: the need to create a new learning horizon of trans- and post-disciplinary knowledge; the remaking of the forms and agendas of ‘the arts and humanities; and the production of a new kind of learning environment. Actions are underway to build a pathway and to grow a community of interest. Our free subscription zine, Urmadica is part of this action; another is the construction of an institutional foundation to create and deliver new knowledge and publications. News of the advancement of our projects will appear under 'project notes'.
We are a diverse transdisciplinary group of international educators and practitioners, working in and beyond higher education.
Our interests span critical issues of unsettlement and migration; culture and climate change; cities and design futures; decoloniality and borderlands; environmental destruction and conflict; technology and the naturalised artificial; and politics and imagination.
Heath Campbell, Australia, Italy
Aura Cruz, Mexico
Tony Fry, Australia/England
Fredy Mora Gámez, Colombia/Austria
Melinda Gaughwin, Australia
Ruben Hordjik, Sweden
Carolina Martinez, Colombia
Abby Mellick-Lopes, Australia
Dulmini Perera, Sri Lanka/Germany
Hector Tabares, Colombia
Madina Tlostanova, Circassia
Maria Vlachou, Greece/Austria
Anne-Marie Willis, Australia/Egypt.