2019 BFU Radical Reading Group


Join us for a beginning-of-the-year chat to kick off the Radical Reading Group for 2019.


6pm – 7.30pm, Thursday 31st January 2019


The Book Merchant Jenkins, 19 Dornoch Terrace, West End (near the corner with Hardgrave Road)

All welcome! We’ll be talking about what we want to read this year, and hopefully putting together at least a basic reading list. Bring your suggestions, your questions, and your enthusiasm!

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Thursday evenings, 6pm – 7pm (with possible/inevitable over-flow) 


2/63 Annerley Road, Woolloongabba

For the rest of this year, we will be meeting in the Community Room of the Gabba Ward council office (2/63 Annerley Road, Woolloongabba). Entry to the community room is via Crown Street, through the carpark at the back of the building. There is also an entry to the carpark on Gloucester St. The back door will be open, and you will most likely see some bicycles and a Brisbane Free University placard outside.

Screen Shot 2018-08-07 at 4.48.05 pm

We acknowledge that we meet on the stolen lands of the Jagera and Turrbal peoples. We acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of the lands on which we live and work. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future, everywhere. Sovereignty was never ceded.

The idea is pretty simple: a bunch of folks getting together to think through some big ideas, drink tea, and shamelessly embrace our earnest enthusiasm for critical theory and gooey philosophical chats.

The focus of this reading group has been (and continues to be) on critical and radical theory both within and beyond the academic canon. We read broadly, often from within Indigenous / queer / black / POC / critical race / postcolonial / anti-capitalist / feminist / critical disability theory, but also aesthetic theory, fiction, poetry and film. We set up a reading group in part to explore the possibilities of collective learning, and to think about how we learn through discussion and dialogue across and between diverse experiences and ideas. We are reading these writers in particular because we reckon it might help us to respond to the crises of the present…and also because it’s brain-crunchy, beautiful, compelling and interesting. We hope that these are spaces in which our existing ideas might be challenged or unsettled, in which we might find ourselves wondering and questioning and rethinking, and in which we might have very nice times with good friends.

These discussion groups will be open to everyone, regardless of whether or not you want to read in advance. These kinds of projects should be fun, accessible, fumble-friendly. Please let us know if they’re not!

The reading list for the next few months is here:

BFU reading list - Aug - November - POSTER version


All of the readings for the next few months are uploaded to a google drive. If you don’t have access to the facebook group, email brisbane free university at gmail dot com for access to the drive.

The readings are labelled with the reading week.  They should be in reading order in the drive, and they should each be dated with the correct reading date. If you’re printing copies, be careful: some of the files might be full texts from which we are only reading a chapter. Any additional readings can be accessed as links in the reading list in the google drive.

We’re trying to be a bit more organised this year, so if you want to read physical copies of the readings, you can find a copy of each paper in a Brisbane Free University folder at the Gabba Ward office (Councillor Jonathan Sri) at 2/63 Annerley Rd, Woolloongabba. You’re welcome to photocopy the text in the office before or after the reading group each week, or to come in and copy all of them during office hours from 9.30am – 4.30pm Monday – Friday. Chat to one of the folks on the desk and they’ll help you get organised!

The readings are all labelled with the appropriate dates. There are also copies of the poster/zine with the dates and details that you’re welcome to grab/copy/distribute.

If you have suggestions for future readings, or want to get more involved, or just want to have a chat about the project before coming along, you can get in touch with us at brisbanefreeuniversity (at) gmail (dot) com.

The venue is a community room in a ground floor office space. The space is wheelchair accessible, though you will need to access through the front of the office, not through the carpark.  The bathrooms are not fully accessible. The nearest full-access bathroom is a block away from the office. (This is obviously very bad; hopefully they’re upgrading the facilities soon!)
The event is child-friendly, and we welcome families with children to attend. There are play things (including art materials and some toys).
Comfortable seating is provided.
An Auslan interpreter will not be present.
Limited First Aid will be available on site.


In January 2017, we decided to try and test out the possibility of running an autonomous radical reading group with weekly texts and a tutorial-like discussion group structure.  On the 19th January we held a panel discussion and community meeting with a bunch of academics and activists interested in talking about neoliberalism and the university, and the radical history and potential of reading groups. The following week, on the 25th January 2017, we hosted out first official reading group. A lot of people joined. We ran out of seats. We had some good and complex and juicy chats.

We read an impressive bunch of work that week: two chapters of Distinguished Professor Aileen Moreton-Robinson’s Talkin’ up to the white woman, a beautiful piece by Professor Irene Watson, ‘Power of the Muldarbi, the road to its demise,’ two short opinion pieces by Amy McQuire and Celeste Liddle, three poems by Oodgeroo Noonuccal, and a chapter of Alexis Wright’s extraordinary Carpentaria. Yep. It was extremely ambitious. We split into a bunch of groups, sweltered in the January heat, tried to think ethically and deeply about colonisation, decolonisation and Indigenous sovereignty, and afterward, headed to Musgrave Park to help make sandwiches for the Invasion Day action the following day. 

We planned to run the reading group until June. When June came around, we decided to run the reading group until the end of the year. When the end of the year arrived, we decided that really it made much more sense to continue the reading group in the new year, because there’s just so much left to read. 

The idea is pretty simple: a bunch of folks getting together to think through some big ideas, drink tea, and shamelessly embrace our earnest enthusiasm for critical theory and gooey philosophical chats.

You can find a copy of the zine with readings from February – June 2018 here: BFU Radical Reading Group – Summer and Autumn Readings Zine

You can find some of the materials from the 2017 reading group in the Google Drive.