Are You Happy Now? A Fictional Narrative Exploration of Educator Experiences in Higher Education during the Time of #FeesMustFall

Marguerite Muller


In this performative text a narrative arts-based approach is used to explore the connections between educator identity and the current issues arising in the broader South African higher educational landscape. Written as a fictional narrative it is an exploration of some of my experiences at the University of the Free State between 2014 and 2016. The post-qualitative, arts-based narrative serves to connect research practice with educator experience in higher education. As the traditional, patriarchal and colonial nature of institutions of higher education is being questioned by student movements like #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall, we have to ask how our research practices are responding to these movements. The idea of knowledge as a process is an important aspect that arts-based research illuminates in relation to social change. In this article I connect the idea of knowledge as process to the idea of pedagogy as a process which ties in with our lived experiences and interactions. As such, this text uses art as a way to illustrate the continual journey and process of moving towards socially just pedagogies. The “fictional” narrative is used as a creative exploration of innovative methodologies in trying to find a way forward into messy and uncertain spaces that characterise the complexity of the current higher education landscape in South Africa. 


arts-based research; fiction; narrative; social justice; socially just pedagogies; performative text; post-qualitative research

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