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Site-Writing as Holding
Jane Rendell
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In early March when COVID-19 arrived in the UK, I was on strike, as part of the University and College Union, our third strike in two years. This one, called Four Fights, directly addressed the key issues impacting academic workers as a result of the marketization of the university sector, including pay, workload, equality, and casualization.2 On the eleventh day of the strike, Thursday, March 12, 2020, I read an “Open Letter to the Trade Union Movement” from Labour Transformed. This encouraged us to close our picket at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, as an act of social solidarity with the UK’s National Health Service, to help to “flatten the peak” of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over that weekend, we (Polly Gould, David Roberts, and I) transformed the pedagogy of our site-writing MA module from picket line teachouts to teaching on Zoom. These Zoom site-writing sessions produced what I have come to call “holding environments.” In the Zoom grid we found ourselves next to each other in new ways, different each time.

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