Campus Alberta’s “Sleep of Reason”: Satiric Response to Government of Alberta’s Cuts to Advanced Education

Earlier this week, Greg Clark, the new leader of the Alberta Party, tweeted at #abpse commentators asking him questions about his party’s views on Advanced Education, “I can see why Lukaszuk is afraid of you guys.” There is no evidence that the Minister of Enterprise and Advanced Education Thomas Lukaszuk feels any concern whatsoever about the commentary on Twitter’s #abpse feed. But this image, tweeted earlier this week in the lead-up to today’s rally at Mount Royal University in Calgary, shows one artist pitting art against the Government of Alberta’s March 7th cuts. It is fitting that the response from an institution whose Arts programs have been so severely cut as a result of the Government of Alberta’s 2013 budget should come in the form of a reworking of the already satiric late eighteenth-century print “The Sleep of Reason” by Spanish painter and printmaker Francisco de Goya. The Minister might want to start paying attention to the perspectives driving such a response.

sleep of reason-lg“The autonomy of art contains the categorical imperative: “things must change.” If the liberation of human beings and nature is to be possible at all, then the social nexus of destruction and submission must be broken.”

Herbert Marcuse, The Aesthetic Dimension (1978)

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4 Responses to Campus Alberta’s “Sleep of Reason”: Satiric Response to Government of Alberta’s Cuts to Advanced Education

  1. Laurie Adkin says:

    Herbert Marcuse and Mary Shelley are two of the thinkers most relevant to our times.

  2. Unfortunately Thomas Lukaszuk is not asleep, he’s simply too dense to understand the travesty he’s unleashed. Appalling behavior by a government that labelled itself as progressive and the only alternative to the “regressive” Wildrose.

  3. Brad Bucknell says:

    We read today that AASUA President, Kevin Kane, has met with The University’s President, and that Dr. Samarasekera has again expressed a desire to re-open the contract that we have already signed. Specifically, she wants back the 1.65 % increase we will receive for 2014. (I am not even sure if 1.65% keeps up with the cost of living.

    Kevin Kane has already informed her that the loss to VSPs will create even more pressure on those of us left behind to maintain programs. He also informed her ” … that Council directed me to seek access to the University’s financial records in order to conduct our own independent financial analysis and to discharge our due diligence, before we could begin to engage in any meaningful dialogue on this subject. President Samarasekera is open to the concept of providing access, however, she is requesting a clear definition from the AASUA as to what information we want.”

    I would suggest that we need to see virtually everything, and in particular, we would want to look very closely at the relationship between the “structural deficit” and the increase in administrative positions and staff that have proliferated at Central over the last ten years.

    President Samarasekera has suggested in her State of the University address that we be “open to change.” (This means that we adopt an attitude of supposed freedom in a moment where we have virtually no choice at all.) To many of us, “change” has begun to look increasingly like the same old thing: the Provincial Government will take about $60 million OUT of higher education province-wide, and then put about that much BACK into the Minister of Enterprise and Advanced Education’s dream of a “Leadership” institution; once more, outside “experts” will descend upon campus and help create this dream (I don’t think they work for free); and once more the story will be that, while we, the faculty, may be “experts” somewhere, we certainly are not here, at this university. Not only that, we are scapegoated as being “expensive” and so, not for the first time in the last five years, we must “give back” to the university. (Someone has to pay for true experts, after all!)

    The fact that Minister Lukaszuk can take away and then return the same amount of money to a different project simply proves that the whole budget shortfall due to a “bitumen bubble” was simply not true. Hardly a surprise.

    We do, as “taxpayers” already pay for advanced, PUBLIC education services; now we must pay again — and be damn glad about it too, it seems — by returning portions of our salaries. We the faculty are nearly always “the problem,” and outside experts nearly always the solution.

    Odd, isn’t it, that faculty have for many decades contributed in their various ways to the $300+ billion dollar revenue generation which, apparently, our alumni have collectively contributed back to the Province (NOT the PCs)? And yet, we are always “the problem.” And we are certainly never “expert” enough to be able to have a true place in the re-shaping of public policy on education or even on the shaping of this university.

    Perhaps we don’t charge enough……

    Get the figures on the increase in Central Administration’s proliferating positions, and we may see from where the structural deficit really emerges

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