The first session of my short three-week module at the RCA was a brilliant experience. Unfortunately but also fittingly, it was the first and last.
It is a strange time to join a university department — even if only as a “visiting lecturer” — because the second and third weeks of the module coincide with the third(?) round of strike action that many British universities have engaged in over the last couple of years. It feels strange to be supporting strike action after just one day of teaching but I also took part in the Goldsmiths pickets as an alumnus and greatly appreciate the cause and its aims.
Attending the Goldsmiths teach-outs at a pub near Telegraph Hill in 2018?was an experience I really enjoyed. However, with this modernist / Situationist-inspired module, which takes walking as “the most radical gesture”, already encompassing a series of planned “walk-outs” from the institution, exploring London, the line between striking and teaching already felt weirdly blurred before I was even aware that the strike would affect my plans.
Thankfully, the students have been incredibly receptive to this, with one member of the class suggesting that we use one of our scheduled sessions to walk between RCA picket lines from Battersea to Kensington — a brilliant idea.
I’ve never really taught before — although I’ve wanted to — and navigating the institution from this side of the classroom is something I’ve been worrying about, especially with carefully laid plans seeming like they were about to go to waste.
I worried for nothing.