‘Heterotopia’ is a very strange but exciting book due for publication in late 2012 from Zero Books. It takes a journey through ideas for transforming engineering education, through the voices different philosophers and local communities. This book is definitely for like minded people who are looking for inspiration in the light of the Occupy movements. Many are crying out for ideas for transforming education and this contribution by authors Caroline Baillie, Jens Kabo and John Reader is in the sphere of the Engineering, Social Justice and Peace Network and will be reviewed in their Journal.
This book is about transformations. Particularly the sort of transformations that many would like to see happen in our profession, school, community, country. Transformations that lead to shifts in ways of thinking and being, about who we are, what we do and why we do it. Many of us are disillusioned with contemporary society and how the economic drivers and dominant discourse lead us all to selfish, point-gaining behaviours. As we write this text, increasing numbers of riots, revolutions and peaceful protests are appearing on the global scene. ‘Occupy Wall Street’ has led to a number of other peaceful demonstrations against financial centres of major cities, which show that many members of our societies are discontent with the greed that they see in contemporary neoliberalism and are prepared to risk arrest and disruption to their lives to say so. The competitive behaviours they protest about act against community and a sense of social justice and leave us empty, bereft of direction, running in different directions at the behest of someone, but we have almost forgotten who and definitely, why. We attempt, in this short manuscript, to explore possible transformations to alternative ways of being, using a multitude of disciplinary traditions and experiences from different walks of life. We hope that it will be useful in provoking the development of a consciousness about transformation, which transcends disciplinary and professional boundaries and in starting a conversation, which will allow us to converse with each other about the changes we would like to see and how to help these happen.