Friday, November 8, 2013

PL 29/13: Unpaid university work

Filed under: Uncategorized — plinius @ 11:19 am

In the UK, Sydney Calkin says, “it is an increasingly difficult time to begin an academic career”.

This summer, the University of Essex was strongly criticized for advertising  for Non-Stipendiary Junior Research Fellows = unpaid research positions for post-doctoral students.

Picture: Wittgenstein

The Theology and Religion department at Durham invited postgraduate students to do unpaid teaching. Rather than being paid, teachers would benefit from the valuable experience …

More quotes

The culture of unpaid internships has now extended into doctoral and post-doctoral life. This trend is evident in

  • the proliferation of ‘adjunct’ positions,
  • the disappearance of permanent jobs and the tenure track, and
  • the increasing use of underpaid PhD students to provide cheaper teaching

Rosalind Gill discusses

  • the precariousness of academic jobs,
  • the intensification and extensification (blurring boundaries between work and not work), and how
  • deep personal identification with professional successes and failures define academic work today;

“internships aren’t exactly paid in cash, they are paid in networks, and those networks are worth more than money”

Young people accept and perpetuate the idea that their labour need not be compensated and contribute to an environment in which overqualified and unpaid interns continue to accept worsening conditions.


The School of Philosophy and Art History at the University of Essex offers up to three non-stipendiary Junior Research Fellowships each year, commencing in October in any area of Philosophy or Art History or the intersection of the two disciplines.

These are available for one year, and in exceptional cases may be extended for a further period of not more than one year.

Whilst there is no salary attached to these fellowships the Fellows appointed will be entitled to shared office and study space equipped with computing facilities, and the use of all library and school services.  Whilst there is no attendance requirement Fellows are expected to take part in school activities.

There are no teaching duties associated with the positions, however Fellows may be entitled to take on teaching, if available, for which they will be paid at the usual University rates.


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