In analogue photography there is a magical moment when something that was not visible becomes visible. There is a blank sheet of paper where an image develops slowly, emerges into being, something that was not there now comes to be there.
To get to that point, there are many steps, much expertise, a process of reviewing a roll of film to see which images are overexposed or underexposed and what is needed to bring the image into the best possible light. There are test strips and exposures of prints from different time periods to see which exposure works best for the crispest image.
It is this process that is going through in my mind at the moment as the book Higher Education for Good (#HE4Good) is coming into existence.
We are in the early stages now. The images are still being taken. But already in my mind’s eye the borders are starting to suggest themselves, dark clusters and absences, highlights and lowlights.
This metaphor reaches its limits at this point because in photography a lone figure works in a dark room, whereas we are working in a collaborative darkroom bringing a collection of ideas into the light in the crispest possible way. The collaborative process is in full swing between ourselves as editors and at an early stage amongst the 64+ authors from 20+ countries who make up the book, talking synchronously within the constraints of time zones, existing commitments and academic strikes. Talking asynchronously thanks to technology. We are sharing ideas, threading concepts across chapters.
We are capturing macro, meso and micro catalysts of change for good. We are recording forms of resistance to broken systems of Empire, platformisation, austerity while developing different images of the commons, the public good, justice, hope, care, sustainability, community and more.
We will soon share the full chapter and author list. For now, a moment of excited anticipation.
*Image from Dre Darkroom In Use 20 Aug 2011
I am a professor at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, interested in the digitally-mediated changes in society and specifically in higher education, largely through an inequality lens