Tan, K.S. (2024) ‘Looking for Love in 2024’, Society for Research into Higher Education, 2 February. Available at: https://srheblog.com/2024/02/02/looking-for-love-in-2024/ (no pay-wall)

It’s nearly Valentine’s, and I’m looking for love.

It’s been a traumatic start to the new year, as the colonised continue to experience extraordinary hate, bias, harm and kill-ings. 

In this op-ed published for the Valentine’s season on the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE) blog, I am looking for and locating concepts and actions around a four-letter word – love. 

I share some of my own efforts and aspirations within and outside of the ivory tower. As Paolo Freire states, education’s mission is to build a world where it is easier to love.

The radical pedagogist aside, James Baldwin and bell hooks also make cameos, as did several contemporary exceptional decolonial movers, shakers and change-makers whom I have been (un-)learning from.

I pay tribute to my own students from the inaugural MA Arts and Cultural Leadership programme at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton too, whose openness and willingness to embrace love and other radical EDI-focused framings of leadership have been humbling.

The article is a call to co-create ways with fellow artist-lovers, to love-bomb the classroom and beyond, with oxytocin, justice, solidarity, humanisation, liberation and joy, so as to move towards freedom, for 2024 and beyond.

A short version entitled Love-Bombing Higher Education and Beyond on Council for Higher Education in Art and Design (CHEAD) website was published on Valentine’s Day, 14th February 2024 (screenshot below).