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The Society for Research into Higher Education


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An SRHE playlist

by Leo Goedegebuure

There are many ways of communicating. Text always has been our main medium, but the last year has clearly shown that there are other ways. One of the most popular articles in the recent special issue of Studies in Higher Education on the impact of the pandemic was Amy Metcalfe’s photo-based essay. We had a massive SRHE webinar on the contributions, with a truly global audience. Taking David Bowie’s Sound and Vision to the extreme, we have done the Vision but we haven’t done the Sound.

2021 will be another special year. By the end of the year we will still not be able to come together face-to-face at the 2021 SRHE conference, although an exciting alternative kind of conference is being planned. It will be good to have a decent soundtrack for the event. So we thought we might kick this off with a bit of advanced planning – and activity. Last minute work can be a bit tedious and stressful. So we propose a two-pronged approach to this. We’ll start by inviting this year’s contributors to the Studies in Higher Education special issue to submit their 5-song playlist in addition to their accepted and on-line published article. And we invite all the readers of this blog to do the same. What we expect as outcome of this fun and silly project is a reflection of the diversity of our community in music.

So let me kick this off. The basic model is: song and a brief one-sentence reason why, plus Spotify link.  Here we go:

1 Amy Macdonald – Let’s Start a Band                                   

The obvious opener for a project like this

2 David Bowie – Life on Mars                                                     

The amazing achievement of the Mars Perseverance Rover so far and a tribute to one who left too early

3 Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad                     

Too many ghosts of 2020 and a brilliant contribution of Tom Morello

4 REM – Nightswimming                                                              

Quietly avoiding restrictions without creating chaos and such a great song

5 Vreemde Kostgangers – Touwtje uit de Deur                   

My Dutch heritage; the literal translation is “A Rope from the Letterbox” reflecting on a time when you could just pull a little rope to enter your neighbour’s house

Amy Metcalfe has also skipped in already with her suggestions, which have been included in the playlist:

1 Snow Patrol – Life on Earth

“This is something else.”

2 Foster the People – Imagination

“We can’t change the things we can’t control.”

3 Haelos – Hold On

“Hold on.”

4 The Weeknd – Blinding Lights

I’ve been on my own for long enough.”

5 Lastlings – Out of Touch

“Don’t want this to fall apart; Is this what you really need?”

There will be more to follow from contributors to the SHE special issue, but everyone is invited to send in their own 5-track playlist to rob.cuthbert@uwe.ac.uk and leo.g@unimelb.edu.au. We will provide updates via the blog at regular intervals, and aim to compile a comprehensive playlist later in the year – which may or may not become lockdown listening, depending on where in the world you are and how your country is faring in the pandemic. We hope you enjoy it.

Leo Geodegebuure is Editor-in-Chief, Studies in Higher Education, Professorial Fellow in the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education and the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, and Honorary Professor in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, College of Design and Social Context, RMIT University.