The following is a version of a reflection that I first published on Valentines Day 2024 on Instagram. It is a further example from my recent call for those in Higher Education and beyond to centre love in what / how we do, as shared in my op-ed shared Looking for Love in 2024 published in Society for Research in Higher Education (SRHE) and a shorter version, Love-bombing Higher Education and Beyond, for The Council for Higher Education in Art and Design (CHEAD). The Instagram post shares just a small sample of love-led decolonised references and required readings for the modules I lead on the inaugural Masters Programme MA Arts and Cultural Leadership at University of Southampton. The MA was designed and is led by Professor of Cultural and Creative Industries Dr Dan Ashton. Other members of the team Lecturer in Curating and Cultural Leadership Dr Dimitra Gkitsa and English for Academic Purposes Principal Teaching Fellow Linda Hurley. Below, I have added another slideshow, of my general feedback to the students of their assignment. The slideshow displays the astonishing breath and depth of topics, ideas and debates worked on by the pioneering batch of students for their first hefty assignment, a 5000-word Report, for the 30-credit Ideas and Debates Module — and all this, despite many barriers including language, cultural, homesickness and much much more. I have said many times, including in the op-eds, that the courage of those from next generation give me hope, and oxygenate my actions to counter push-backs and failures. I am humbled and moved by my students’ openness, and thank them for their brilliance (I am not at all biased), and for pushing, inspiring and teaching me and others of my generation.

It’s Valentine’s, and I’m sharing love-led approaches to leadership that I’ve had the privilege to (un-)learn with my students.

. . .

These are slides from modules I lead on, for a Master’s programme on Arts and Cultural Leadership @maaclwsa @uni_southampton_wsa The curricula seek to dismantle the master’s story of leadership.

The contents are possible because of the ongoing efforts of radical, decolonial, Black, indigenous, neuro-queered, co-creative modes and models of leadership, which are what we are studying, and which replace violent, colonial patriarchal cis-het-neuro-normative ones in the ‘canon’.

The modules seek to contribute to the larger efforts by those in Critical Leadership Studies (CLS), social justice and more, to shift the understanding and practice of leadership, and to move diagrams of power within & outside of the academy.

. . .

Slide 2: bell hooks on love, introduced during the session on governance

Slide 3: Situating arts and cultural leadership as the entanglements of arts & culture, CLS, and social+climate justice

Slide 4: The exceptional ‘Decolonising Methodologies’ by Linda Tuhiwai Smith

Slide 5: @yuenfongling’s powerful artwork as notations of new, diversified approaches to leadership

Slide 6: More examples: The co-created Anti-Racism Tourism Rider (2021); @jackkytan Artist Placement Group (1970s)

Slide 7: Drawing on Audre Lorde’s call to dismantle the master’s house with new tools, a series of ‘Masterclasses’ to dismantle the ‘Master’ story of leadership with exciting and emerging change-makers like @carolaubade @ruohan_t and Dr Shepuya Famwang, plus learning creative (self-) advocacy skills

Slide 8: Learning from and their outstanding (Un)Defining Queer @whitworthart

Slide 9: Queer curating as a radical curatorial strategy by @patrickbao123 as essential reading, alongside @lesiddons‘ curatorial interventions

Slide 10: The Arts & Cultural Leadership MA

Also: Efforts by @taey.iohe @jacobvjoyce @dori_tunstall & more

I’m indebted to the labour of these movers & shakers + humbled by the openness of my students

#decolonise #highereducation