Teach Outs

UCU members are collaborating with students to create an exciting programme of teach outs: free public events addressing themes and questions raised by the strike over threats to our pensions and deteriorating pay. Over a thousand people attended our teach out programme in 2018, so we know that students – and the wider public – appreciate the chance to carry on learning from each other. The teach out programme also reminds the University that it is people who make education work, not the buildings or the technology inside. 

Teach Out Schedule

Week 4 (9-13 March)

Tue 10 March

Works of Faith – Labour, Faith, & Industrial Action

13.00-14.00, Great St Mary’s

Teach Out: Works of Faith – the Labour Movement, the Legacy of Faith Communities, and UCU Industrial Action

An exploration and discussion of some strands connecting faith communities and the labour movement including themes such a natural law and the dignity of the individual, ora et labora and the monastic inheritance of the university, social gospel and social justice in church teaching and practice



Labour, Burnout, Precarity & Protest: Historical Perspectives

14.00-15.30, St Andrews Street Baptist Church, 43 St Andrew’s St, CB2 3AR

The conversation will be led by Samita Sen, Hillary Taylor, Grace Whorrall-Campbell and Amy Erickson. Please do spread the word to students and colleagues who may be interested. All welcome.



The World in Revolt

14.00-17.00, St Andrews Street Baptist Church, 43 St Andrew’s St, CB2 3AR

Join us for a discussion ranging from trade union movements in the United States, Student-Worker movements in South Africa and Brazil, and anti-nationalist movements in India.

Note: Venue liable to change at short notice. Please contact camradhistoryarchives@gmail.com for updates


Resisting Detention Teach-Out

15.30-17.00, CUSU, 17 Mill Lane, CB21RX

Come and join our teach out on the detention system and how to resist it!

This session will be led by:

⭐ Kerry Mackereth, a gender studies PhD student who studies women’s hunger strikes while in detention
⭐Aisha, who is a nursing student at Suffolk University and arrived in the UK as a refugee
⭐ Rensa from SOAS Detainee Support and the CUSU Women’s Campaign
⭐ Emily from Universities of Sanctuary scheme
⭐ Niyousha Bastani, a POLIS student who works on opposing the Prevent duty

The session will last 90 minutes, split into:
⭐ 30 mins of presentation from individuals involved with the asylum process, resisting detention and deportation.
⭐ 30 mins of group discussion (Q&A format)
⭐ 30 mins of small group discussion: what work are you already doing? How could these new ideas be applied to your life, your home environment, your studies?

Access statement: This event is taking place at the CUSU-GU lounge at 17 Mill Lane. There is step free access via a lift, padded seating, gender neutral toilets, a wheelchair accessible toilet and a hearing loop.




Wed 11 March

Labour, Disability & Mental Health

14.00-16.00, St Andrews Street Baptist Church, 43 St Andrew’s St, CB2 3AR

Join speakers from Cambridge UCU, the Disabled Students Campaign, Cambridge Disabled People Against Cuts and more for our teach out on Labour, Disability and Mental Health. We will be exploring how workers’ rights, government support and student learning conditions all play key roles in how disabled people experience education and labour. Come along for what is sure to be an enlightening and interactive discussion!

Upstairs in St Andrew’s Street Baptist Church. There is wheelchair access via a lift (weight limit and space enough for at least a powerchair user plus another person). There is a hearing loop available. There will be seating provided, type tbc.

For more information message Rensa Gaunt or check the church’s website here: https://www.stasbaptist.org/Groups/243742/Room_Hire.aspx



///BONUS: Cambridge Reclaim the Night 2020///

Organised by CUSU Women’s Campaign and Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU)

18.00-21.00, Parker’s Piece


Reclaim the night is an annual march that takes place in Cambridge and in other places across the country. It is a night rooted in the struggles of sex workers. It is a night intended to reclaim bodily autonomy and space that is often stolen from us by gendered and sexual violence. It is a night to walk the streets without fear of persecution.

This march is for self-defining women and non-binary people only. Children of all genders are welcome.

We welcome and encourage members of the public and community groups to march with us. There will be rallying speeches on Parker’s Piece, followed by a march through Cambridge and a vigil. You are welcome to attend whichever parts of the evening work for you.

18:00 – Assemble on Parker’s Piece
18:10 – Rally and speeches
18:30 – March begins
The march will be followed by a vigil, timing TBC



Thur 12 March

Demilitarise, Decolonise, Abolish Prisons

14.00-17.00, Great St Mary’s Church, CB2 3PQ

A symposium of teach-outs on three of the most transformative and liberatory frameworks available to us today.

1. Demilitarise Cambridge open meeting 2pm
A campaign group emerging from the 2018 strikes, this meeting is open to all to discuss how to mobilise from the large amount of research that has taken place over the last year into the entrenched links between Cambridge and arms companies. The beginning of the meeting will start with an introduction to these links to get new members up to date, followed by a strategy planning session.

2. Decolonise Assembly 3pm
Decolonial practices are those concerned with confronting, resisting and ultimately dismantling systems of power that arise as a consequence of historic and ongoing colonial realities. In this session, the students involved in decolonise working groups across a number of faculties and departments will give presentations on how they employ decolonial thinking in the context of their curricula and research. We will also open up for wider discussion about how efforts can be coordinated further across the university, e.g. in the natural sciences, to address the colonial legacies that define Cambridge’s global institutional standing.

3. Abolish prisons open forum 4pm
An open discussion exploring the links between the Cambridge community and the prison community, led by members of the Malcolm X reading group in HMP Whitemoor. Our discussion will reflect on the complicity of Cambridge University in the global prison-industrial complex and the criminalisation of an increasing number of communities. Along the way, we will collectively imagine what a world without prisons could look like and how it intersects with demilitarisation, decolonisation and the climate crisis.
Venue liable to change at short notice. Access information: the event is wheelchair accessible.



Fri 13 March

Reflecting, Archiving and Planning [TBC]

14.00-15.00, St Andrews Street Baptist Church, 43 St Andrew’s St, CB2 3AR



Get involved

UCU’s Teach Out Team is looking for prospective organisers to join our themed teach out sessions during the strike. The idea is to have autonomous yet interconnected thematic teach out afternoons running throughout the next four weeks. We will provide a room and a three hour slot for each theme, and put you in touch with other activists and speakers interested in discussing and organising around those issues. We’ll also create flyers to advertise your session and help you with any other logistics. If you’d like to propose a teach out but are unsure where it could fit in the programme, send us an email and we’ll work with you to figure out the best place for it. 

Our themes for this phase of the strike include:

o   Working Lives, Technology, Feminism

o   Climate Change

o   Working Conditions in the Sciences

o   The Political and Colonial in Science

o   Liberation Organising in Cambridge

o   Gender, Labour, Academia

o   Resistance Movements Globally

o   Labour, Disability, and Mental Health

o   Demilitarise, Decolonise, Abolish Prisons

o   Reflecting, Archiving, and Planning

We are also interested in hosting cultural events, such as film screenings, concerts, poetry readings, that could be pitched to a broad audience. If you’d like to take the lead on an afternoon or evening event that connects the political to the cultural, get in touch at cucusec@hermes.cam.ac.uk.

Past Teachouts

Week 2 (24-26 Feb)

Monday 24 February

Introduction: What is a Trade Union? Why go on strike? What is a Picket Line? How can students help?

14.00-15.00, St Andrew’s Street Baptist Church, 43 St Andrew’s Street, CB2 3AR

Your questions answered! All welcome to join Cambridge UCU for an introduction to the very basics of what’s going on during #UCUStrikesBack, an introduction to unions and the symbolism of the picket line. Perfect for curious beginners & open to the public.

Facebook event here

Tuesday 25 February

NoTech4Tyrants – Researching Institutional Complicity

17.30, Nihon Room, Pembroke College, Cambridge

Tech companies like Palantir work with agencies and institutions known for their inhumane treatment of immigrant communities. In the UK, Palantir and others, such as Microsoft, Google, and Cisco, hold contracts with the Department of Defence, the Cabinet Office, at least 14 Police Departments, and the Home Office. Along with increasingly normalised practices of cloud extraction, invasive data surveillance practices on ‘public’ WiFi networks, and the recent roll-out of facial recognition policing in London, are putting migrant communities in the U.K. at significantly greater risk of deportation, detainment, and diminished access to public services.

The NoTech movement began in the US but has a direct application here. In the US context, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has used Palantir’s software (including FALCON, GOTHAM, and the ICM tool) to separate families and conduct workplace raids, which have resulted in the destruction of communities and collective trauma.

Palantir and actors like it are also actively involved in a global context, and have embedded themselves in international organisations such as the World Food Programme and the UNHCR. There, they’re a part of a system that demands invasive biometric registration practices of the forcibly displaced, in order for them to access basic services and support – a system that makes it harder for refugees to escape protracted displacement.

In this teach-out, we look to the experiences of NoTech activists in the US and UK activists fighting institutional complicity with border regimes here.

Facebook event here

Thur 27 Feb

SPECIAL EVENT: Open Meeting with Vice-Chancellor Toope!

16.00-17.00, Lecture Room 3, Mill Lane Lecture Theatres


Students should be angry about the strikes. They should be bitter about the learning they are missing, enraged by the conditions staff work under, disgusted by the gross pay of Toope, and frightened for the future of an higher education sector that drives us to debt and precarity, for the sake of profit.

But, our discontent should be directed at the managers of the university system who have the power to end the dispute and have so far done nothing. Tomorrow, when Stephen Toope stands before students and workers, unable to hide away in his plush office behind the stone walls and wooden gates of Old Schools, is our chance to do this.

We, as CDE, invite Cambridge UCU and workers across the University to join us at the meeting so we can voice our frustrations collectively. University management have tried to build a wall between students and workers with the narrative that we’re owed the tuition we bought. The truth is clear: the real divide is between us and the managers of marketisation.

This week CDE have been escalating action in the lead up to this meeting, drawing attention to the failure of the University to meet, or even respond to, UCU’s demands. These demands are simple and all in the Vice-Chancellor’s power to fulfil: union recognition, a public statement calling on the relevant national bodies to meet the proposals, and a statement on plans for employment changes specific to Cambridge.

The collective struggle of students and staff has left Toope with no choice but to meet with us publicly. Come along and join our movement, invite friends, invite colleagues. Together we will show Toope and the managers that when they refuse to act, we take action until they answer our questions.


Accessibility Info: There is wheelchair access. There is padded seating and an accessible toilet. There is a hearing loop by request in advance.



Week 3 (2-5 March)

Mon 2 March

Borders! Kill! Knowledge! A Discussion with UnisResistBorderControls

2-3pm, Main Lecture Theatre, Old Divinity School, St John’s College

Come join us on March 2 for a discussion session with the brilliant Unis Resist Border Controls, as we briefly discuss the evolution of the Hostile Environment, the transformation of the UK Higher Education, and the phenomenal research recently published by the URBC collective and its implications for us all, here in Cambridge, and elsewhere!


Solidarity Activism: Perspectives from the Global South

15.00-16.15, Main Lecture Theatre, Old Divinity School, St John’s College

Please come join us as we reflect on how we do solidarity activism, and why.
What does it mean when we speak about horizontal solidarity? What, then, becomes our responsibility when we speak as, or on behalf of, the oppressed?
What do we need? Narratives? Protests? Direct action?
If Media is itself a battleground for action, how do we seize the means of representation? Is representation truly transformative, and if so – how?
Why does it matter just where we invoke solidarity, and with whom – and what should be the role of academia in relation to internationalism, solidarity, and political imagination?

Facebook event here

Film Screening: Invasion, Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en Nation

16.15-17.15, St John’s College, Old Divinity School, Main Lecture Theatre

Join us for a screening of the short documentary, INVASION, about the Wet’su’weten Nation’s ongoing resistance to the colonial violence of the Canadian government.
Film description: “In this era of ‘reconciliation,’ Indigenous land is still being taken at gunpoint. INVASION is a new film about the Unist’ot’en Camp, Gidimt’en checkpoint and the larger Wet’suwet’en Nation standing up to the Canadian government and corporations who continue colonial violence against Indigenous people.
The Unist’ot’en Camp has been a beacon of resistance for nearly 10 years. It is a healing space for Indigenous people and settlers alike, and an active example of decolonization. The violence, environmental destruction, and disregard for human rights following TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) / Coastal GasLink’s interim injunction has been devastating to bear, but this fight is far from over.”
To learn more, visit http://unistoten.camp/

Unist’ot’en continues to need funds to reoccupy their lands and fight in the colonial courts.

To Donate: http://unistoten.camp/support-us/donate/


Walter Benjamin’s Early Work

15.15, Long Room (former JCR), Gonville & Caius College

A teach-out seminar led by Ross Wilson on Walter Benjamin’s early writings, hosted by the Walter Benjamin Research Group. For readings and more information, contact Louis Klee (lrk27) and Anat Messing Marcus (am2370).


Tue 3 March

From Climate Emergency to Climate Justice

14.00-16.00, St Andrews Street Baptist Church, CB2 3AR

The teach out will address the international politics of climate science and the premise of how science’s track record is at stake in debates about climate emergency. The politics of manufactured doubt by industries and governments will be discussed. The relevant aspects of the major UN climate talks to date and COP 26 will be presented highlighting the opportunities and barriers to climate justice in this space. Speakers will talk about how we can bring about change locally and the alternative approaches to international climate justice. Speakers include Prof Simon Schaffer (History and Philosophy of Science), Dr Richard Staley (History and Philosophy of Science), Dr Natalie Jones (Centre for the Study of Existential Risk) and Marcel Llavero Pasquina (Cambridge Zero Carbon Society).

Facebook event here

Working-Class Struggles in the Neoliberal City

17.30-19.00, Keynes Seminar Room 1, King’s College

A discussion led by Dr Mara Noguiera:

The global decline in wage labor and the flexibilization of labor relations have been associated with growing job precariousness. The situation is illustrated, for instance, by the causalisation of higher education, one of issues at stake in the current UCU strike. Worldwide, the erosion of labour protection has threatened traditional forms of working-class political organisation. Nevertheless, labour struggles unfold differently in places where formalised employment was never the norm. In Brazil, the IBGE has estimated that 40.8 % (or 37.3 million people) of the total labour force was employed in the so-called “informal sector” in 2017. This trend is visible in the streets of the country, where many disadvantaged workers strive to make a living as street vendors. This situation combined with the growing commodification of urban space has created increasing difficulties for marginalised urban populations, whose livelihoods are often depended upon their ability to access workspace. This talk will present the case of Belo Horizonte/Brazil, examining the struggles of street vendors against displacement in the context of a “revitalisation” policy. It focuses on the case of an urban occupation in the city centre (Ocupação Vicentão), a building squatted by local social movements for housing and street vendors in conflict with the local government. The analysis foregrounds both the repercussions of the labour crisis on the urban scale and its potential as an arena for the emergence of new forms of political organisation.

Facebook event here


Wed 4 March

UCU Mass Meeting for Casualised Staff

14.00-16.00, CUSU Lounge, CB2 1RX

Are you supervising undergraduates for a college on a casual contract or without any contract at all?

Do you think that the payment rate for supervisions does not reflect the amount of work you put into your classes?

Are you constantly doing more work than you are being paid for?

Do you wish you had a contract for the work that you do?


We are launching a new campaign to tackle casualisation in the Colleges, which will be member-led and member-directed. This meeting will shape the future of supervision work in the colleges: we need your vision and your vote!

Facebook event here


Working Conditions in the Sciences

17.00-18.30, CUSU Lounge, CB2 1RX

The sciences have always been the site of political conflict, and this is more true now than ever. This conflict plays out in the lives of working scientists, at the university and beyond.

If you are considering a career in science, or interested in the most pressing political issues of our time, this event will bring you an essential but often overlooked set of perspectives.


Dr Carmen Palacios-Berraquero is the co-founder and CEO of the quantum cyber-security start-up Nu Quantum, spin-out of the Physics Department where Carmen carried out her PhD and postdoc, whilst running the Department’s womxn society and the queer club night Oh!Rama.

Dr Zarinah Agnew is a prominent neuroscientist and activist. Their work focuses on how people live and work together in communities, and how we can build communities that work better for everyone. They work as a “Guerrilla Scientist”, exploring and enacting different ways of conducting science, and will be talking more about what this involves.

Dr Patricia Fara is a historian of science with an incredible breadth of experience. She has written on how science came to dominate modern society, on science during the enlightenment and the history of women in science. She will be talking about the history of women in science and what this can tell us about working conditions in science today.

Arielle Bennett-Lovell is coordinator at institute of neuroscience, and has worked for a variety of open science communities and journals. Her focus is on building scientific community and promoting open science. She will talking about the role of science publishing in the continuation of toxic work environments, and what can be done about it.


This promises to be a super exciting and unique event, looking forward to seeing you there!

Facebook event here


Thur 5 March

!!!UCU members meeting: Update on negotiations!!!

13.00-14.00, Great St Mary’s

Calling all CUCU members – join us for an important meeting with updates on the negotiations in our #FourFights and #USS disputes. Come along with questions and views – our negotiators need to know what members think so they can keep fighting for us in the talks.
Special guest speaker: Vicky Blake, UCU President-Elect and national negotiator
Read more on the background here: https://www.ucu.cam.ac.uk/negotiations-update/


Racism, Eugenics, and the University

14.30-16.30, Hall Room, Emmanuel Church, Trumpington St, CB2 1QY

Just as universities function as a critical force against racism in society, they are also places where racial injustice and racial forms of discrimination are strongly felt.

In this UCU teach-out we will discuss the way in which racisms is normalised and legitimised within the University, as a political project.

Our speakers will also discuss how marketisation of research, through neoliberal administration of research grants and withdrawal of public funding, weakens universities natural defence wall against discredited ideas of eugenics & racism

Prof Sarah Franklin, Head of Sociology
Manali Desai, Reader in Sociology
Siddharth Soni, PhD candidate in English

Accessibility Information
Step-free access to the building is available through the right hand front doors. If you have other access needs please get in touch

Facebook event here


Cambridge UCU Training: Anti-Casualisation for Managers

14.00-16.30, Aldren Wright Room, Friends’ Place

Are you managing people employed as academic, academic-related or assistant staff?
Do you wonder what you could do to improve the job security of the people you are managing?

Come along and find out how! We will give you tips on how to mitigate the impact of casualisation on your workplace.

Facebook event here


Gender, Labour, & Academia

15.00-16.00, Barbara White Room Newnham College

In this teach-out, we will build on previous strike conversations on care and anxiety in academia to think through the labour stratifications, particularly gender division of labour, in academia.

As we strike over issues of pay, pensions, and workloads, it is important to recognise the differential distribution of labour in academia.

We know that there is a mean hourly pay gap of 19.7 per cent at the University of Cambridge and that ‘leaky pipeline’ is still the most apt metaphor to describe women’s career progression.

To engage with these issues, we urgently need discussions about the amount, intensity, and type of work that women, particularly women of colour, may (be expected to) shoulder the burden for both in and outside of the university.



Macron’s Mid-Term Review

20:45-22:00, Domus Room, Old Court, Clare College

How unpopular is Macron amongst the French electorate? What can his presidency tell us about the fortunes of centrism? What can his presidency tell us about Europe?

2017 saw Macron march his newly-founded party to a stunning victory in the French elections. Lauded as the poster-boy of centrism and a new European leader as Merkel gets set to step down, yet his presidency has been marked by civil unrest, from the Gilets Jaunes to the pension strikes. Midway through his term, how is Macron faring? How successful has his term been, and what is set to come in the next two years, in France and abroad? Will 2020 see re-election, or might it see right-wing Marine Le Pen work her way to victory?

Join Clare Politics as we host Professor Jim Shields and journalist Andrew Connell to discuss Macron’s fortunes. Following the talk, there will be time for the audience to ask some questions.

Free wine and cheese will be provided!



Sun 8 March


12:00-19:00, meet at the Cambridge Train Station


On 8 March 2020, women across the world will be on strike. We strike to honour the women who came before us. We strike in solidarity with our sisters and siblings across the world who face exploitation and violence from a system meant to silence and oppress us. We strike so that we can get closer to the feminist horizon — and because we’re running out of time.

Women’s work makes life possible. Our work births children, keeps our families fed and vulnerable people cared for. Across the world, women’s work — work that can be exploitative and rarely recognised as crucial — keeps everyday life going. We are often required to work two shifts: one at paid employment, and another one — cooking, cleaning and caring — at home.

This is a call to action for all women — including queer and trans women, and all people who face gendered oppression — to join the Women’s Strike. We can no longer separate ecological issues from the conditions in which we work and live. Because it is indigenous communities, communities of colour and people in the Global South who will be hit by the climate crisis the hardest. Because when communities become vulnerable — during conflict, during austerity and during environmental crisis — it is a fact that women will suffer the most.


We will be meeting at Cambridge train station on the morning of Sunday 8th to get the train to London together to join the action at Cavendish Square, and then join the Sex/Work Strike march in the evening.

This will be led by Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU), but students from either of Cambridge’s universities are welcome, as well as anyone from the town. Bring your banners, bring your friends, the women of Cambridge are going on strike!

If you’re a man and you want to show your support, join the Women’s Strike social reproduction team and provide the childcare and food that allow us to strike. Check out the Women’s Strike Assembly page for more info.



Mon 9 March

Liberation Organising in Cambridge

14.00-16.45, Great St Mary’s

What does organising for liberation look like at Cambridge?

Join us at the Liberation TeachOut, as part of the UCU strike, as we address the ways that students have banded together to combat racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia in this space. We’ll consider how organising in Cambridge is connected to struggles elsewhere, and we will provide a platform for students and staff to link in to ongoing efforts.

Speakers and Groups in discussion:
Black Cantabs Research Society (Surer Mohamed, Rumbidzai Dube)
No Tech for Tyrants (Matt Mahmoudi)
CUSU BME (Rianna Davis)
Grad Union President + LGBTQ Officer (Alessandro Ceccarelli)
Other Activists: Freya Lewis, Jessica Fernandez De La Harada
And more to be confirmed!



Film Screening: Pride

19:00-21:30, CUSU, 17 Mill Lane, CB21RX

“When you’re in a battle with an enemy that’s so much bigger, so much stronger than you, to find out you had a friend you never knew existed, well that’s the best feeling in the world. Can you see what we’ve done here, by coming together all of us? We made history!”


Join us in the SU Lounge to chill out and celebrate the final week of strikes with this brilliant film. Pride is a story of solidarity, of coming together despite the odds, and of the power of the union. In the last few years we’ve seen some incredible industrial action by UCU, and we’ve seen students and staff come together to celebrate each other and to fight for change. Now is the perfect time to revisit this story of the miners’ strikes while we enjoy some snacks and make donations to the strike fund!


Accessibility: The CUSU-GU lounge at 17 Mill Lane has step free access via a lift, padded seating, gender neutral toilets, a wheelchair accessible toilet and a hearing loop. Please contact welfare@cusu.cam.ac.uk if you need any more access information.

Content warnings for the film: homophobia, violence



Epistemic positioning, valuation, and inequalities (or: why are my professors male and white?)

19:45-22:00, Sidgwick Hall, Newnham College

This talk explores the relationship between forms of evaluation in informal academic settings and the fact women, people of colour, and other differently positioned ‘Others’ disproportionately ‘drop out’ of academic careers. It builds on the concept of positioning in social ontology, and the concept of epistemic injustice in feminist epistemology, to show how informal or ‘trivial’ forms of evaluation constitute important instances of (de)positioning individuals in institutions of knowledge production.

See here.