In this week’s article/report we present and support the student-driven project ‘Essex Transform: Rediscovering the Demos Inside the [space of] Academia’, led by the Centre of Ideology and Discourse Analysis (University of Essex). The project aspires a collective education ‘beyond hierarchies and disciplinary divides and re-imagines the academic space by co-participating in the planning and design of an alternative academic event’. 

The Essex Transform is a collective student-driven project. The project aspires to bring together all the members of the university community, beyond hierarchies and disciplinary divides and re-imagine the academic space by co-participating in the planning and design of an alternative academic event. On Friday 15 June 2018 at the University of Essex, through a series of student-led sessions, panels with activists and academics, we aim to address our real needs as students, workers and active citizens of our global and local communities. By creating open spaces for discussion and debate around a number of topics centred on the core themes of Radical Democracy, Active Citizenship and the Commons, we want to tell the stories of movements, societies and communities as well as to explore and renegotiate ideas, meanings and emotions.

If our theory and science cannot express itself through practice, does it loose its whole purpose? Is the academic space too confined for it to actually find a place in everyday struggles? Even more so, is the radical root of academia lost to the point that it now resembles that which we once critiqued? Can any fruitful critique arise from such a space? How do we bring the radical and the demos back into our thinking ground and everyday life practice? These are some of the queries that inspired this project as a whole and that we wish to bring back in to the epicentre of the academic life. 

By building upon the success of the previous year’s student-led conference on Populism and ‘Constructing a People’ and the cIDA (Centre for Ideology and Discourse Analysis) seminar series, on Friday 15 June, we attempt to re-imagine the academic space, made up of plural, open and creative synergies with respect to our environment, human life and dignity. 


Essex Transform Student Collective Sessions:

09:45-11:15 Bringing Democracy to the Core of Education

09:45-11:15 Transformative Art and Radical Democracy

11.30-13.00 Building Solidarity with Migrants and Refugees                      

11.30-13.00 Liberational Struggles: Feminist and Queer voices

14:00-17.30 Radical Democracy Activism and the Role of Academia

2 Panels :

  • 14:00-15.30 Bursting bubbles: university, emancipation and everyday struggles

Speakers: Camille Barbagallo (University of Kent), Koshka Duff (University of Nottingham), Ana Oppenheim (student activist), Jordan Savage (University of Essex)

  • 16.00-17.30 Lessons from radical democracy: thinking and practicing alternatives to neoliberalism

Speakers:  Peter North (University of Liverpool) , Pearl Ahrens (writer and activist, ZAD), Steven Griggs (De Montfort University), John Stewart (HACAN campaigner)

 18:30-20.30 Plenary session: Essex Transform: Rediscovering the Demos inside the space of Academia

Marina Prentoulis (University of East Anglia), Yannis Stavrakakis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), Laura Montanaro, David Howarth, , Jane Hindley, Jason Glynos (University of Essex)

21.00 Essex Transform Fest

Drinks and Syrian food | Live Music and DJ Set, Poetry, Open Mic


Follow cIDA on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with all upcoming events.


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