Non-Regular: Precarious academic labour at Emily Carr University of Art + Design
Contract teaching appointments have become standard practice in post-secondary schools. At Emily Carr University of Art + Design (ECU) in 2016-2017, non-regular instructors were delivering 56.5% of credit course sections. But the university’s dependence on their labour is not reflected in their working conditions, which include lack of adequate work space, under-compensation and no job security. Sessional faculty, who make up the majority of non-regular instructors at ECU, are not paid to do service and are excluded from governing bodies of the university. These conditions create barriers for instructors to do their best work and impact curricula and students’ learning. They also have serious implications for academic integrity and freedom at ECU.
In response, I produced the artist book Non-Regular: Precarious academic labour at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, consisting of testimonials, analysis, interviews and artwork by 27 instructors and artists. I organized, designed, edited and co-authored the book, and collaborated with dozens of non-regular and regular instructors who provided access, editorial advice and support—most of whom had to be anonymous due to their lack of job security.
UNIT/PITT published Non-Regular and we launched at a packed event during Fair Employment Week in 2018. We’ve also provided deeply discounted copies to faculty unions across the province, and several local bookstores carry it, as well as post-secondary libraries across the country.
I’ve always considered Non-Regular to be a project of engagement and advocacy, so I continue to present and speak to students about the project and about labour precarity’s impacts on students and mentors.