Chipmunkapublishing ltd, Jun 1, 2011 - 208 pages
Description Barsteadworth College is a book about workplace bullying, the damage it causes and institutional suppression of the truth about both. Workplace bullying is a hot contemporary topic. It crops up in conversations between friends and colleagues and not infrequently in the television, radio and print media. It can often seem that everyone has either been bullied at work or knows someone who has. However, cases where a victim of workplace bullying has taken on 'the system' and won are few and, because of this, are big news when they happen. This is due in no small part to the routine use of 'gagging clauses' in 'compromise agreements', which bring to a close the one-sided battles that take place between bullied employees and their employers/managers. Victimised employees can find themselves placed in situations where they have no alternative but to resign and then contractually prohibited from speaking about their experiences by the agreement that terminates their employment. Thus, it is ensured that the extent of the kind of abuses described in this book remains hidden and that one of the routine social sicknesses of our time and the knock-on actual sicknesses that result stay largely invisible and unchallenged. The author, Dr Stephen Riley, has experienced workplace bullying and its damaging consequences firsthand and, like many, he is prohibited from speaking by a 'compromise agreement'. In Barsteadworth College he therefore uses fiction as means of describing and analysing the issues: Dr Dan Ripley, a Fine Art Lecturer, moves from Manchester and takes a job at a provincial art college in the south of England. After a time, a new manager arrives and starts to appoint friends and family and to create preferential working conditions for herself and her clique. Those outside of the clique - Dan and two others - are then subjected to a wide range of undermining activities from their line-manager, including staged public humiliations at meetings, unmanageable workloads and endlessly contradictory instructions. The book describes the gradual corrosive effects of the bullying: fatigue, loss of confidence, confusion and then depression. It then describes what happens when Dan complains: the college's managers close ranks and connive with the bullying line-manager to discredit the allegations, eliminate evidence and vilify the complainant. Ultimately, Barsteadworth College is an appeal to law and policy makers to address the current situation, which is hopelessly skewed in favour of workplace bullies and against their victims and, within this, to address the question of how, when suitable policies are in place, institutions can be made to adhere to them and be answerable if they do not. About the Author Stephen Riley b.1955 is an artist, lecturer and writer. He grew up in a former cotton mill town on the eastern fringes of Greater Manchester, where the conurbation meets the Pennines. He left school at 16 and worked for several years as an engineer in Manchester and Bristol, before returning to education as a mature student to study fine art. He studied in Manchester, Exeter and Canterbury before completing a doctorate at Leeds University. Convinced of the liberating qualities of both art and education, he wanted to share his knowledge and enthusiasm with others: young people and others who, like himself, had rediscovered education as mature students. In consequence, as well as working as a practicing, exhibiting artist, he became a fine art lecturer. He taught in colleges/university colleges in Kent, Greater Manchester and Yorkshire, before taking a post at a provincial art school in the south of England. Here he was a well respected employee and colleague, and a highly regarded Lecturer, Acting Course Director and Senior Lecturer, until the arrival of a new manager brought about a change in his fortunes. Ultimately, facing stress-related mental health problems, he had to resign his post in circumstances th
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