The quest for Another Academy and the Education Unit at BIRARADA Association 

One of the founding aims of the BIRARADA Association is to create the appropriate setting and means for the emergence of “another academy”. The members of the Association are academics who question the hegemonic institutional structures and mechanisms, and thus academic activities that function in favor of the status quo. By reconsidering and reflecting on our own academic socialization and scientific practices, we, as members of the Association, adopt the goal of establishing the grounds for the collective production of knowledge and learning processes. In this regard, we consider it inevitable to purge the relationships and interactions that constitute the intertwined ‘learning processes’ and ‘knowledge production processes’ from established practices that involve hierarchy, and commodification of knowledge.

We believe that the pursuit of another academy cannot be envisaged without the notion of another form of society and the struggle for a new life. We consider this quest as a matter of re-designing the entire academic field and life alongside knowledge production spaces and practices, and with different forms of subjecthood. By doing so, we aim to provide the participants in these practices the opportunity to re-making themselves through their own differences as well as their relations with knowledge and their ways of knowledge acquisition.

The following questions guide us in our quest for another academy:

Considering that knowledge production is basically about the practice of understanding, interpreting, and transforming nature, society and individual, how can we refrain from turning academic knowledge practices into means of domination and of instrumentalizing nature, society and people?

How can we reconstruct the spaces, subjects and processes of scientific practice and learning?

The Education Unit was established in order to answer these basic questions in a collective form, to reflect on our knowledge and knowing processes, to seek ways to create new forms of relationships and connections, and thus to accelerate our search for another academy by organizing and carrying out the process. The Education Unit adopts as its main objective the establishment of a collective platform so that the search and construction of “another academy” can proceed with an emancipatory academic imagination.

It is evident that we cannot even envision the idea of another academy without emancipating our academic imagination – the prerequisite for which is to distance ourselves from the state- the capital- the free market. It is also among the objectives of the Unit to produce tentative and refutable responses in relation to the internal and external hindrances that shape and limit our capacity to imagine and as well as the possible ways to overcome them. Asking and responding to these questions seems more possible outside the existing institutional structure of the university. In this sense, thinking and acting outside this structure can be a starting point for the construction of “another academy”.

The quest for another academy requires funding. So far, Solidarity Academies have tried to find solutions to this problem by finding some sources of funding for the courses [educational programs /academic programs] they have offered. However, at this point, it is getting harder and harder to continue this path. Therefore, the Education Unit has set the agenda of searching for a sustained solution to this problem among its targets. Because it raises the fundamental problem of how “another academy” can finance itself, in other words, how it can provide the financial resources necessary for its survival without commodifying knowledge.

To create and advance the imagination of “another academy”, we aim at

  • challenging hegemonic knowledge production in the selection of the themes and topics in learning processes.
  • ensuring that the outputs of the process are thought-provoking and critical.
  • categorically rejecting alienated and alienating forms of academic labor.
  • gender egalitarian relationships and forms of engagement on which knowledge production and learning practices will be built.
  • prioritizing horizontal organization and equality among ethnic and racial identities.
  • prioritizing anti-exploitation, anti-homophobia, and anti-discrimination in knowledge production and learning practices.
  • producing and sharing collective knowledge in favor of labor, society, and nature.
  • exploring the ways to fund another academy without commodifying knowledge and without reducing the autonomy of academic subjects regarding their identity and practice.
  • founding the funding mechanisms on solidarity economies.

The Education Unit aims to plan and carry out activities in a participatory and self-governing way.