In this keynote I will suggest that the promise of open pedagogy depends on assumptions about security and sustainability that are coming unstuck. Open pedagogy as a practice of principle is under threat in the context of a rapidly contracting academic career horizon that is being redefined by marketisation, precarity and audit. Capacity to create open resources and support open pedagogy in sustainable ways is increasingly a problem of human time, rather than one of expertise or sympathy with open goals.
In this context, we need to develop a language of crisis that is generative and open to change, and that is resolute on the conservation of human resources. Rather than understanding human labour through the measurement of outputs, I suggest instead that we consider time as an environmental resource—an input—that is capable of being exhausted. This enables us to see that when pedagogical time is already extracted and diverted by upstream demands, our capacity to craft and share initiatives, innovations and resources with our open communities downstream becomes more limited.
My proposition is that naming this as a crisis of sustainability is not a gesture of despair, but a disciplined practice of hope that is aimed at conservation and system repair.