Surviving the White
Patriarchal Academy

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We create knowledge that transforms the world.

But the very oppressive systems we seek to dismantle are killing us.

Academia is structured through the imperialist white supremacist capitalist cis-heteropatriarchy. It dehumanizes us — denying our knowledge, truth, rest, and joy — while maintaining unsustainable cultures of individualism, violence, and overwork. In the words of Audre Lorde, “we were never meant to survive.”

This is not your typical academic development workshop.

I won’t lecture you about leaning in, building your resilience, or forgoing sleep to write (the system is broken, not you). This workshop is about our collective survival and solidarity so that we can remake academia and the world.

Please note I speak from the standpoint of a cis-het woman of color working and living in the Global North, which shapes my strategies for survival.

What is it about?

This is a workshop on navigating academic life. It will discuss the myths and pitfalls of academia and share insights about how we may stay the course, do wildly rewarding work, while centering radical self-care.

When is it held?

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This workshop is for you if…


You want to create liberatory bodies of work but you never seem to find the time. Or perhaps you fear doing so will jeopardise your career.


You have one or more marginalized identities and have the pernicious sense you’re not quite welcome in academia.


You are exhausted — emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually — and you know working as you do is not sustainable.


You want to see the Ivory Tower transformed for future scholars, where academia can truly become a site for freedom.

I’m Helena Liu (she/her). I’m a Senior Lecturer in Management at UTS Business School in Sydney, Australia, which is the unceded land of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation.

I was awarded my PhD in 2012 from the University of Sydney where my research looked at the discursive construction of banking CEOs during the global financial crisis. My research critiques how gender, race, and class sustain our enduring romance with leadership.

In my 8 years as an academic, I’ve built a career that looks good on paper but most of that time I’ve struggled with anxiety, impostor complex, and burnout.

I wish to transform academia into an inclusive, humanising, and liberatory space that supports its staff and students to do powerful justice-centered work.

Helena Liu, the creator of this blog, stands in a forest in a coral dress ready to fight for social justice

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