Counter/Mapping QMary

Monday, 16 April 2012

A final reflection on the QMary countermapping adventure

It's been a long time since the QMary Countermapping project came to an end, and much has changed in our lives and the world since. This post is to close the circle, and offer some resources to those of you who might stumble across it in the future.

Just as we predicted over a year and a half ago (see top left corner of the CounterMap) QMary has now officially joined the Russel Group, to the great delights of its Principal and to the dismay of the local and international students whose grades, income and profile won't cut the elite mustard.
Everywhere the process of neoliberalisation of university education is becoming ever more shameless and relentless. In the next academic year UK home students will be charged three times the current tuitions fees, while the UKBA monsters have all but multiplied, making this country and its education system ever more inaccessible except for the lucky few. On the bright side, new education sector strikes and marches are being called for next autumn, hopefully offering a space for organising and debating after this confused year of picking up the pieces of last year's student movement.

As for our countermapping efforts, about a year ago we were asked by Lateral to write a short reflection on the making of the map and the game, and it is with great pleasure that we are finally announcing its publication in the first issue of the journal:
Beside the text, Lateral has also created a navigable version of the map, which can finally be downloaded in high resolution, and, most importantly, an interactive version of the game!

We hope this will provide a useful online reference for all that are mapping and challenging the rules of the neoliberal university across the globe!

in struggle and maps,
Counter/Mapping Qmary

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Sussex is in Occupation!

"This afternoon, over 170 students occupied the lecture theatre in the Fulton building at the University of Sussex in protest of the trebling of tuition fees and the attack on our education system.
In light of Wednesday’s demonstration, which saw 52,000 people come out in opposition to the government’s proposed cuts to education and raising of fees, we feel it is necessary for further action to consolidate the efforts made so far and push on in the opposition to these ideologically motivated cuts to both education specifically and public services as a whole.
We reject the notion that these cuts are necessary or for the benefit of society. There are viable alternatives which are not being explored. While the government has suggested that ‘we are all in this together’, we completely reject this and are insulted that these cuts are being pushed through alongside reductions in corporate tax."

The the occupation blog here

The countermappers send their solidarity to the great folk of the south!

The Real Violence is not a Smashed Window, but in Debt, Forced Labour, the war in Afghanistan (et fucking cetera)

1. Sign the petition: Stand with protesters against victimisation.

2. Wednesday’s national NUS/UCU 50,000 strong national demonstration was a magnificent show of strength against the Con Dems’ savage attacks on education. The Tories want to make swingeing cuts, introduce £9,000 tuition fees and cut EMA. These attacks will close the doors to higher education and further education for a generation of young people.

During the demonstration over 5,000 students showed their determination to defend the future of education by occupying the Tory party HQ and its courtyards for several hours. The mood was good-spirited, with chants, singing and flares.

Yet at least 32 people have now been arrested, and the police and media appear to be launching a witch-hunt condemning peaceful protesters as “criminals” and violent.

A great deal is being made of a few windows smashed during the protest, but the real vandals are those waging a war on our education system.

We reject any attempt to characterise the Millbank protest as small, “extremist” or unrepresentative of our movement.

We celebrate the fact that thousands of students were willing to send a message to the Tories that we will fight to win. Occupations are a long established tradition in the student movement that should be defended. It is this kind of action in France and Greece that has been an inspiration to many workers and students in Britain faced with such a huge assault on jobs, benefits, housing and the public sector.

We stand with the protesters, and anyone who is victimised as a result of the protest.

Initial signatories include (all in a personal capacity):
Mark Bergfeld, NUS NEC
Ashok Kumar, Vice-President Education LSE
Vicki Baars, NUS LGBT Officer women’s place
Sean Rillo Raczka, Birkbeck SU Chair and NUS NEC (Mature Students’ Rep)
Nathan Bolton, Campaigns Officer Essex SU
James Haywood, Campaigns Officer Goldsmiths College SU
Steve Hedley, London regional organiser RMT
Wanda Canton, Women’s Officer QMUL
Michael Chessum, Education and Campaigns Officer UCL SU
Jade Baker, Education Officer Westminster Uni SU
Dan Swain, Essex Uni SU Postgrad Officer
To add your name or organisation email
Join our facebook page
From the site:

Taken from here.

3. Dear Sir/Madam,
We the undersigned wish to congratulate staff and students on the magnificent anti-cuts demonstration on Wednesday (‘Riot marks end of era of consensus’, Independent, 11 November). At least 50,000 people took to the streets to oppose the coalition government’s devastating proposals for education.

We also wish to condemn and distance ourselves from the divisive and, in our view, counterproductive statements issued by the UCU and NUS leadership concerning the occupation of the Conservative Party HQ. The real violence in this situation relates not to a smashed window but to the destructive impact of the cuts and privatisation that will follow if tuition fees are increased and if massive reductions in HE funding are implemented.

Wednesday’s events demonstrate the deep hostility in the UK towards the cuts proposed in the Comprehensive Spending Review. We hope that this marks the beginning of a sustained defence of public services and welfare provision as well as higher education.

Emma Dowling, Queen Mary, University of London,
Dr. Matteo Mandarini, Queen Mary, University of London,
Liam Campling, Queen Mary, University of London
Dr. Alberto Toscano, Goldsmiths, University of London
Dr. John Wadworth, Goldsmiths, University of London
Dr. Des Freedman, Goldsmiths, University of London
Dr. Nina Power, Roehampton University
Clare Solomon, President University of London Union
Dr. Peter Thomas, Brunel University
Dr. Alex Anievas, University of Cambridge
Matilda Woulfe, Queen Mary, University of London
Dr. Victoria Sentas, King’s College London
Toni Prug, Queen Mary, University of London
Prof David Miller, Strathclyde University
Matthew Woodcraft, Goldsmiths, University of London
Richard Iveson, Goldsmiths, Goldsmiths, University of London
Dr. Carrie Hamilton, Roehampton University
Dr. Nicole Wolf, Goldsmiths, University of London
Dr. Gavin Butt, Goldsmiths, University of London
Marsha Bradfield, University of the Arts London
Manuela Zechner, Queen Mary University of London
Dr. Matthew Fuller, Goldsmiths, University of London
Prof. John Hutnyk, Goldsmiths, University of London
Dr. Luciana Parisi, Goldsmiths, University of London
Dr. Maud Anne Bracke, University of Glasgow
Janna Graham, Goldsmiths, University of London
Heidi Hasbrouck, Goldsmiths, University of London
Gordon Asher, University of Glasgow
Dr. Goetz Bachmann, Goldsmiths, University of London
Gerry Mooney, Open University
Dr. Catherine Eschle, University of Strathclyde
Dr. Filippo Del Lucchese, Brunel University
Dr David Lowe, Liverpool John Moores University
Tom Bunyard, Goldsmiths, University of London
Danai Konstanta, Goldsmiths, University of London
Bue Ruebner Hanssen, Queen Mary, University of London
Dr Alana Lentin, University of Sussex
Dr. Armin Beverungen, University of the West of England
Bipasha Ahmed, University of East London
Dr T L Akehurst, University of Sussex and Open University
Alex Anievas, University of Cambridge
Gordon Asher, University of Glasgow
Dr Maurizio Atzeni, Loughborough University
Camille Barbagallo, Queen Mary, University of London
Dr Armin Beverungen, University of the West of England
Dr. Maud Anne Bracke, University of Glasgow
Liam Campling, Queen Mary, University of London
Dr Svetlana Cicmil, University of the West of England
Dr Caroline Clarke, University of the West of England
Dr Chris Cocking, London Metropolitan University
Katherine Corbett, Middlesex University
Dr. Michael P. Craven, University of Nottingham
Dr John Cromby, Loughborough University
Dr Dimitrios Dalakoglou, University of Sussex
Prof Massimo De Angelis, University of East London
Filippo Del Lucchese, Brunel University
Prof Marie-Bénédicte Dembour, University of Sussex
Dr John Drury, University of Sussex
Benoit Dutilleul, University of the West of England
Leigh French, Glasgow, editor Varient magazine
Dr Fabian Frenzel, University of the West of England
Dr Matthew Fuller, Goldsmiths, University of London
Dr Rachel Fyson, University of Nottingham
Dr Sara Gonzalez, University of Leeds
Hugo Gorringe, University of Edinburgh
Janna Graham, Goldsmiths University of London
Prof Peter Hallward, Kingston University,
Dr Kate Hardy, University of Leeds
Dr. Carrie Hamilton, Roehampton University
Georgia Harrison, Goldsmiths, University of London
Dr Kaveri Harriss, University of Sussex
Prof Stefano Harney, Queen Mary University of London
Dr David Harvie, University of Leicester
Dr Stuart Hodkinson, University of Leeds
Dr John Hutnyk, Goldsmiths, University of London
Daniel Jewesbury, Belfast, editor, Variant magazine
Dr. Daniel Kane, University of Sussex
Jeanne Kay, Goldsmiths, University of London
Koehler-Ridley, Coventry University
Danai Konstanta, Goldsmiths, University of London
Dr Les Levidow, Open University
Dr Simon Lewis, University of Leeds
Gwyneth Lonergan, University of Manchester
Dr Rob Lutton, University of Nottingham
Luke Martell, University of Sussex
Conal McStravick, Artist, Glasgow, member of Scottish Artists Union
Dr Shamira Meghani, University of Sussex
Dr Eugene Michail, University of Sussex
Keir Milburn, University of Leeds
Dr. Filippo Osella, University of Sussex
Dr Dimitris Papadopoulos, University of Leicester
Dr Luciana Parisi, Goldsmiths, University of London
Kathleen Poley, Goldsmiths University of London
Dr. Maria Puig de la Bellacasa, University of Leicester
Andre Pusey, University of Leeds
Prof Susannah Radstone, University of East London
Dr Olivier Ratle, University of the West of England
Dr Gavin Reid, University of Leeds & Vice-President Leeds University UCU
Bue Rübner Hansen, Queen Mary, University of London
Bert Russell, University of Leeds
Dr Lee Salter, University of the West of England
Jordan Savage, University of Essex
Dr Laura Schwatz, St Hugh’s College Oxford University
Jon K. Shaw, Goldsmiths, University of London
Dr Stevphen Shukaitis, University of Essex
Dr Anna Stavriasnakis, University of Sussex.
Stephanie Tan, Glasgow School of Art
Dr Claire Taylor, University of Nottingham
Dr Amal Treacher Kabesh, University of Nottingham
Jeroen Veldman, University of Leicester
Dr Paul Waley, University of Leeds
Dr Kenneth Weir, University of Leicester
Matthew Woodcraft, Goldsmiths, University of London
Hélène Samanci, Queen Mary, University of London
Dr Clément Mouhot, University of Cambridge

Taken from here.

[the above taken from here]

Cuts and Fees (Analysis)

Stefan Collini in LRB:

‘The most likely effect of Browne’s proposals here would be to exacerbate the financial disparity between types of university and, above all, to bring about a much closer correlation between the reputational hierarchy of institutions and the social class of their student body.’

‘…the report proposes a far, far more fundamental change to the way universities are financed than is suggested by this concentration on income thresholds and repayment rates. Essentially, Browne is contending that we should no longer think of higher education as the provision of a public good, articulated through educational judgment and largely financed by public funds (in recent years supplemented by a relatively small fee element). Instead, we should think of it as a lightly regulated market in which consumer demand, in the form of student choice, is sovereign in determining what is offered by service providers (i.e. universities). The single most radical recommendation in the report, by quite a long way, is the almost complete withdrawal of the present annual block grant that government makes to universities to underwrite their teaching, currently around £3.9 billion. This is more than simply a ‘cut’, even a draconian one: it signals a redefinition of higher education and the retreat of the state from financial responsibility for it.’

see more here

UCU on the meaning of the Cuts and Tuition Fee Hike:

“Degree costs hiked up 312% since 1988 and set to rise another 101% by 2012” – the uni union throwing around useful stats.

...more of this

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Points-Based Immigration in Context: this Saturday 16th

//Join Countermapping QMary at the PBSI Conference this Saturday\\

WHEN: Saturday 16th October 2010
, 10am to 4pm

WHERE: University of London Union, Malet Street, London WC1

This conference will present new research on issues related to the
points-based immigration system (PBIS) as it affects Further and
Higher Education. This is a system that unfairly restricts the ability
of international students and staff to come to the UK, turns staff
into immigration officials and treats international students as
potential threats to national security.

The conference will assess:

a) the wider significance of immigration;

b) the full consequences of PBIS on the university

c) the characteristics of new systems of regulation and surveillance
in universities and colleges.

The conference aims to offer both expertise in research but also a
focus for campaigners who object to the fundamentally discriminatory
nature of the rules.


Les Back (Goldsmiths)

Tom Hickey (Brighton)

Georg Menz (Goldsmiths)

Liz Fekete (Institute of Race Relations)

Edgar Whitley (LSE)

Valerie Hartwich (Manifesto Club)

Joel Heyes (UKBA worker and PCS rep)

Susan Robertson (Bristol)

Andy Goffey (Middlesex)

Su-Anne Yeo (Goldsmiths)

Clare Solomon (ULU)

This event is free of charge. Please go to the 'contact' page to

Supported by Universities and Colleges Union, University of London
Union, Manifesto Club and the Centre for Cultural Studies, Department
of Politics, Department of Media & Communications at Goldsmiths

Campaign Against Cuts and Fees at QMUL

We got this email from the QMUL AGAINST CUTS Campaign:

"The Browne report has now been released and is largely as feared. You can download it in all it's glory here: but media coverage has so far been very good and is an easier option than trawling through the 64 pages of this report. While this is a Stop the Cuts mailing list I'm keen to emphasise the question of HE funding is one side of the same coin as the cuts. The Browne report represents the first salvo in this battle. Cuts in state funding to HE are only possible if individual contributions by students are to be radically increased to, at least partly, cover the shortfall. In line with general government strategy funding is shifting from the State to the Individual with little concern as to ability to pay (the 'Big Society'). Resistance to the lifting of the cap on fees (as this report recommends) is a key part of the battle against cuts. With Vince Cables announcement that the graduate tax is off the table it looks increasingly likely that the recommendations in this report will be adopted. The next key date is the 20th October and the release of the Comprehensive Spending Review, at which point we should know the full extent of the cuts to both HE and the public sector.

Progress has been made on several of the proposals agreed at the last general meeting. We are calling a protest at QM to coincide with the release of the Spending Review and the nationwide anti-cuts day of action. Please join the facebook event:


QMUL Stop the Cuts Protest
Wednesday 20th October
13:00 - 15:00
Library Square, Mile End Campus

Bring your friends, megaphones and loudest voices to library square so we can fight cuts at QM and show solidarity to institutions and individuals all over the country being crippled by unfair cuts!


A protest from ULU to Downing Street has also been called on the same day. After our demonstration at QM we plan on heading to ULU to join students from other universities to protest against cuts


Stop the Con-Dem Cuts Protest
Wednesday 20th October
16:00 at ULU

Freeze the Cuts. Cut the Fees. Cut Bonuses not Books. Fund Welfare not Warfare


A motion has been tabled for the next student council meeting as follows:


This union believes:
Cuts to academic departments, staff and resources is detrimental to the learning and educational environment of students at QMUL. Cuts are unnecessary and are not the only solution in the current financial climate.

This Union resolves:
To oppose any and all budget cuts at Queen Mary including, but not limited to, job losses, removal of degree courses and/or departments, and removal of learning resources.

This Union Notes:
Although the scale of the cuts at this point is speculative pending the release of the Browne Report (12/10/2011) and the Comprehensive Spending Review (20/10/2011) it is likely higher education is to receive cuts of around 35% broken down in to a 15% cut in research funding and a 70% cut in teaching funding


As previously noted students cannot vote at this meeting but are welcome to attend and speak, so please come along and speak in support


QMUL Student Council meeting
Thursday 14th October
18:30 - 20:30
Council Room, Queens Building, Mile End Campus


A demonstration on the 23rd October has also been called by the RMT, FBU, NUT and PCS trade unions. Please come along and support.


No to Cuts demonstration
Saturday 23rd October
11:00 am
Assemble at Unity House, 9 Chalton Street, Euston, London NW1 1JD


There is a lot of dates for your calendar here but the only way that progress can be made on these issues is by making ourselves heard in increasingly large numbers. With the release of the Browne Report we are beginning to enter a stage where the speculation ends and the harsh reality of these policies begins. Take action, demonstrate, occupy!


Friday, 24 September 2010

Introducing the countermap and game...

If you would like to receive a free copy of the countermap and game
please email:
it may seem obvious but you need to tell us your name and an address to send ya the map to.

You can see how the countermapping project turned out below.

Here is a link to a flash version of the map: