university in crisis

In this gathering, to be held in 2014, we will discuss the crisis of the university and the emergence of the so-called ‘anomalous universities’, as well as spaces for production, sharing and dissemination of critical thought (focusing on practices of discoursive curating among cultural institutions). Anomalous universities are informal institutions whose main goal has to do with an “attempt to rethink political action in relation to the struggle around knowledge”, doing politics with knowledge. Their name derives from the ‘anomalous wave’ of student protests in Europe against the Bologna Process. They fight to make knowledge a ‘common’ good against the neoliberal drift of university by both multiplying centers of knowledge and producing and sharing critical knowledge. Some of these experiences are:  UNIPOP (Portugal), UNINOMADE (Italy), Universidad Nomada (Spain), EIPCP (Central Europe) or Edufactory (transnational).

We want to invite some of them to share their experiences with us. This invitation will be done in partnership with Unipop and Universidade de Évora/festival Escrita na Paisagem. We will also invite artists and programmers interested in curating discourse such as as Rumo do Fumo/Vera Mantero, Prado/Patrícia Portela,ão Fiadeiro; Mark Deputter/Teatro Maria Matos.

Our understanding of the foundational narrative of performance studies as a field led us to rethink the relations between social and political forms of life and its underlying epistemologies. Performance studies’ mythic roots go back to the Sixties counter-cultures in the US, with its political refusal of all hierarchies, its focus in the body and its interest in non-western cultures. However, as an academic field, it was born in the Eighties, a period marked by culture wars, when critical thinking took shelter in institutions such as the University. Performance Studies embodies the contradiction of simultaneously producing critical knowledge to react against neoliberalism and existing inside its institutions. By the same time, the term performance was also being used in both computer science and economics, as Jonh Mckenzie suggests – thinking of performance as a new paradigm (akin to Foucault’s concept of “discipline”). Nowadays, when the centers of knowledge are being reconfigured by internet technology, the welfare state seems to be ending and the University is going through one of its biggest changes over the course of the last decades, where can Performance Studies stand?


– Santos, Boaventura de Sousa (2011), “A Encruzilhada da Universidade Europeia”, Revista do SNESup, 41.
– Bill Readings (1996), The University in Ruins. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
– Roggero, Gigi & Anna Curcio (2010), Hacia una gramática del conocimiento vivo.
– Towards a Global Autonomous University. The Edu-factory Collective. New York: Autonomedia, 2009.