ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR TAMSON PIETSCH: Welcome to ‘The New Social Contract’, a podcast that examines how the relationship between universities, the state and the public might be reshaped as we live through this global pandemic.
NEWS GRAB: Linda Mottram, Journalist on PM ‘Fears Australian universities could collapse in wake of COVID-19’ “Universities were among the first big organizations in Australia to take a massive hit from the pandemic when lucrative international students were banned from returning to this country”.
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR TAMSON PIETSCH: Universities have existed for close to a thousand years and across the centuries they have been places for making sense of the world and for shaping it. But it would be a mistake to see universities as static and unchanging.
Under the pressures of war, political rupture and social and economic demands, they have often been remade. So, is this what we’re experiencing now, as COVID-19 rips through our lives?
NEWS GRAB: Alison Barnes, National President of the NTEU on Sky News ‘Govt university package all ‘smoke and mirrors’ “…there could be up to 21000 job losses across Australian universities”.
NEWS GRAB: George Megalogenis, Author and Journalist on RN Big Ideas ‘The purpose and future of the university (part two)’ – a broadcast version of an event presented by the ANU College of Law and the ANU Centre for Law, Arts & the Humanities, that was curated and facilitated by Natasha Cica of Kapacity.org at the National Library of Australia on 17 March 2020. Tamson was invited to participate in this talk as an expert in the history of universities, an area she’s been working on since 2004. “…The crisis we’re going through with COVID19 is the equivalent of the Second World War”.
NEWS GRAB: Alison Barnes, National President of the NTEU on Sky News ‘Govt university package all ‘smoke and mirrors’ “over the last decade, $10 billion of funding has been pulled out of Australian universities”.
NEWS GRAB: Brian Schmidt, Vice Chancellor, ANU on PM ‘Fears Australian universities could collapse in wake of COVID-19’ “…This is the time to redesign… I don’t want a hard reset anymore than anyone else…I just think it is naive to think that big change is not on the way”.
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR TAMSON PIETSCH: As our old ways of working are suspended or transformed, it’s hard to know which of these changes are temporary – and which will be here to stay.
NEWS GRAB: Brian Schmidt, Vice Chancellor, ANU on PM ‘Fears Australian universities could collapse in wake of COVID-19’ “…rather than chasing the change that happens. I think we need to be leading the change”.
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR TAMSON PIETSCH: Meanwhile our students are looking at a future in which they bear the costs of this pandemic and the continuing ecological crisis.What will they demand of universities as they make lives in a very different kind of world?The uncertainty is making it difficult for everyone, for university leaders, academics and students.
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR TAMSON PIETSCH:I’m Tamson Pietsch, a historian at the University of Technology Sydney and I’ve long been interested in universities and their relationship to society.I want to use this time in lockdown to begin a conversation with you about the kind of higher education sector our society needs. By using the lens of the past, present and even the future, we’ll investigate what the public can legitimately demand of their universities, and how higher education in Australia might be remade.
Episode One – is coming to your podcatcher soon…
MALE VOICE OVER: The New Social Contract is a podcast series made by Impact Studios at the University of Technology Sydney. The production team live on the lands of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, whose lands were never ceded.
1 – https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/pm/fears-australian-universities-could-collapse-in-wake-of-covid/12134658
2 – https://www.skynews.com.au/details/_6148931486001
3 – https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bigideas/the-purpose-and-future-of-the-university.-part-two/12101262
4 – https://www.skynews.com.au/details/_6148931486001
5 – https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/pm/fears-australian-universities-could-collapse-in-wake-of-covid/12134658
How Australian universities will fare in a post pandemic world depends on an influential but rarely talked about relationship.
This is the relationship between the state, its institutions, and the public: what’s often referred to as “the social contract”.
The social contract universities had when COVID-19 erupted, was one that patched together a variety of largely unstated hopes and expectations and this has enormous consequences for where we find ourselves today.
What is the new social contract for Australian universities in the 21st century and how did we arrive at this place?
This podcast is hosted by Associate Professor Tamson Pietsch and produced by Impact Studios at the University of Technology Sydney.
Episode One Guests:
Dr. Hannah Forsyth, Senior Lecturer in history at the Australian Catholic University
Dr James Waghorne, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne
For show notes and transcripts visit: https://www.uts.edu.au/partners-and-community/initiatives/impact-studios/projects/new-social-contract-podcast
News grabs in the trailer feature the voices of:
Alison Barnes, National President of the NTEU on Sky News ‘Govt university package all ‘smoke and mirrors’.
Lisa Jackson Pulver, Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Sydney on the ABC, Education in the Age of Covid-19, Q+A.
Professor Des Manderson interdisciplinary scholar, (ANU) on Radio National Big Ideas ‘The purpose and future of the university (part two)’ – a broadcast version of an event presented by the ANU College of Law and the ANU Centre for Law, Arts & the Humanities, that was curated and facilitated by Natasha Cica of Kapacity.org at the National Library of Australia on 17 March 2020.
Professor Claire Macken Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor Learning and Teaching College of Business and Law at RMIT University on the KMPG podcast series, Talking Tertiary.
Mark Scott, Head of the New South Wales Education Department, on the ABC, Education in the Age of Covid-19, Q+A.
Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia, on the ABC, 7.30 Report, 16 April 2020.
What kinds of work will we be doing in 2040? What industries will still be going strong and which will have fallen away?
The training and education we need now will depend on the kinds of work – the industries and services – around which, as a nation we want to build our economy and society.
Australia is facing possibly the worst economic downturn in its history. So how should that sobering prospect reshape the relationship between universities, government and society – including industry?
Thanks to The New Social Contract episode five guests
The news grabs and additional audio in this episode of The New Social Contract podcast came from the following sites:
‘From Back in Black to recession’, reported on AM, ABC, June 4, 2020.
’The recession we couldn’t avoid’ on RN Breakfast with Fran Kelly, Abc, June 4, 2020.
‘Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says Australia has officially entered recession’ from ABC News, June 2 2020.
‘Treasurer warns the worst is yet to come as Australia’s economy enters recession’ from ABC News, June 3 2020.
The Paris Riots of 1968 ‘French students again clash with riot police, Paris, France’, published by British Pathe on Youtube.
‘The May 1968 protests that paralysed France’, published on Witness, by the BBC.
‘May 1968 Paris Riots’ on The History Hour, published by the BBC.
After a savage summer of devastating fires, universities, society and even some Australian states have recognised that the country needs a social and economic framework dedicated to the conditions of habitability – so how might the imperatives of climate change remake the social contract for universities in the 21st century?
COVID-19 has not only shown that public goods are the key to well being and health, but it has revealed that the consent of populations and their willingness to participate in collective action is just as crucial to effecting transformation as is expertise.
What does that mean for universities and their purpose in the 21st century?
What new set of obligations and expectations will students face?
And what should we be asking of our institutions as we confront the implications of climate?
These are the questions the sector should be asking as we face lengthening months and possibly years in which the world of higher education in Australia, and the lives of all those who rely on it, is likely to grow more precarious rather than less.
Special thanks to The New Social Contract guests:
Professor Mark Howden, Director of the Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University
Associate Professor Lauren Rickards, co-leader of the Climate Change and Resilience research program of the Centre for Urban Research
For show notes and transcript visit: https://www.uts.edu.au/partners-and-community/initiatives/impact-studios/projects/new-social-contract-podcast
News and audio grabs used in the podcast feature the voices of:
Abc journalists Hamish Mc Donald on ABC News in the news item: Flames rip through towns, fears death toll will rise as bushfires rage on’ ABC News
Abc journalist Karina Carvalho on ABC News in news item: Flames rip through towns, fears death toll will rise as bushfires rage on’ ABC News
Journalist Eddy Michah Jnr from DW News in the news item: ‘East Africa braces for severe tropical storms’ URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkXx7MzJaxs
Former US President Barack Obama, giving a speech at the. 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. News source from Euronews.
ABC Journalist Sarah Dingle on RN Breakfast in the news item: ‘Scientists believe Earth is now in the Anthropocene era’ from the 8 January 2016.
You also heard the voice of the Mayor Carol Sparks from of Glen Innes, on ABC The World Today in the news item:’Climate change debate refuelled amid bushfire crisis’.
Journalist Eric Sorensen reporting for the Global News, in a news item titled: ‘Growing evidence Australia’s wildfires connected to climate change’
Sir David Attenborough on ITV News in the newsitem:Sir David Attenborough calls for ‘urgent’ climate change action’ in 2018.
Greta Thunberg, as reported by the Guardian, from her speech at the 2019 UN climate action summit in New York.
The actuality of thousands of students chanting at the climate protest across Australia from November 2018, as reported by the Guardian, Australia
And finally, at the start of the podcast you heard the rumblings of the Ilulissat Glacier. It was subject to the largest carving event ever recorded. It took place on May 28, 2008 while Adam Le Winter and Jeff Orlowski were filming the glacier in Western Greenland for the award winning documentary film Chasing Ice.