Saturday 3 July 2010

Romanticism and the University

The romanticism of University is rarely discussed in board meetings. New universities cannot really compare in their romanticism to the old, and whilst there is a tendency to be more 'functional' in their view of themselves, the romanticism remains - perhaps in seeing themselves as a 'Bauhaus' to Oxford's 'dreaming spires'. Economic conditions can have a corrosive effect on this thinking, focusing the board on 'value for money', rather than the deeper values to which the romantic view is related.

But romanticism is important. It concerns dreaming, and dreaming is where ideas come from. If romanticism is eroded from the idea of a university, might the university cease to be the fount of ideas? What are we left with? And if students and staff live under the tyranny of economic necessity no-one is going to be in the mood for dreaming. The dangers of reproducing a narrow value structure which fails to recognise any values that are deeper than economic ones are very real right now. What can we do about it?

The improvisation is an attempt at a romantic 'cello' melody... my dreaming, from which these ideas sprang...

1 comment:

Astrid Johnson said...

Beautifully written!