Trigger Warnings – recognising mental illness in the academy

Let’s think about trigger warnings (TWs) as a way of showing compassion to unwell students working in difficult circumstances. This approach moves us away from arguments that oppose TWs and free speech (Van Norden 2018), and also those that equate them with student ‘oversensitivity’ (Lukianoff and Haidt 2015). Viewing TWs in this light can also... Continue Reading →


From the right numbers to the wrong outcomes

As soon as business students integrate their new school, welcome speeches pronounced by directors invite them as friends, allies and integral part of the corporate leadership to build the future of our society. The assumed purpose of these students’ formation is to acquire knowledge (concepts, models, theories) that can be applied in the context of... Continue Reading →

Playing the performativity game. Or could we change it?

We are now in an age of neoliberal marketisation of universities where the regulation of universities works through performance indicators for higher education institutions (Lynch, 2015). Assessment exercises such as the Research Excellence Framework (REF) and Teaching Excellent Framework (TEF) use KPI’s to evaluate universities and compare and rank their performance. While these rankings have substantial... Continue Reading →

We need to disentangle merit from mental health

Offering accommodations in support of mental health and wellbeing has the potential to facilitate continued learning and engagement for those students who are struggling at no expense to the learning of their peers. On what grounds, then, can such accommodations be called ‘unfair’ without relying on the neoliberal cornerstones of merit, resilience and ‘free’ competition?

White Saviour?

This is a picture of Sir Lenny Henry, one of the founders of the charity Comic Relief, marking the first ever Red Nose Day in 1988. Thirty years later a very similar picture, posted by Stacey Dooley, a journalist and filmmaker who is supporting Comic Relief, has generated a furore about the notion of the... Continue Reading →

Anxiety in higher education and precarious labour

Recently there’s been a spate of articles reporting on “strikingly high” rates of mental health issues in postgraduate and undergraduate student populations. One study published in Nature Biotechnology found that “graduate students are more than six times as likely to experience depression and anxiety as compared to the general population,” or forty-one percent of graduate... Continue Reading →

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