Kiruna Michal Monika Music Researcher Sweden

History directed by the action: how is Organizing Rocks affecting my life?

This is a post written by our friend and colleague Michał Zawadzki:

I remember my first experience with Organizing Rocks project in 2015. I just came back to Krakow after amazing postdoc period at Gothenburg Research Institute and was missing Sweden so much. It was my academic colleague, Monika Kostera, who shared the Org Rock blog to me, knowing that my soul suffers a lot.

Reading the blog for the first time was an incredible experience in many ways. I was shocked that it is possible to use cross-media methods in ethnographic research and that it might have such a great impact on understanding the research results. When listening to the song Kiruna you maggot or We the North I was in Sweden again, this time up to the North, observing the labour process in Kiruna mine. But what is more important, I discovered a beauty of ethnographic research: a slow data collection, immersion in the culture, meeting other people to understand their lives.

Many things happened in my life since then. I recorded drums for Organizing Rock songs and started academic as well as musical collaboration with Tommy. I invited Tommy and Johan to Krakow where we discussed their project and played some music. And, yes!, I finally moved to Sweden in 2018, now working at Jönköping University.

When I read the blog posts I re-discover its beauty again. I have a feeling that labour processes at academia are even faster than in 2015 due to casino-capitalism but reading Org Rock blog reminds me what is still the most important in research: building trust-based relations with people, slow and detailed process of data collection, excitement and maybe most importantly: happiness. Take a look on Johan’s and Tommy’s faces when they talk to local people in Kiruna and you will get what I mean!

But what is the most important lesson I learnt from Organizing Rocks? That no single individual’s actions can bring the changes for which the individual hoped, but rather the process of history directed by those actions. You never know what might happen when you take particular action and how you affect other people’s lives. Did Tommy and Johan think about turning my life upside down when starting this project? I don’t think so!

Art Michal Music

New song – Sheriffen

We’ve been quiet for a while, but decided to release a new song. It’s in Swedish, called “Sheriffen” (the Sherif). You’ll find it on all streaming sites. Here are the links to Spotify, Apple music, and YouTube. Hope you dig it!

Michal Monika Music Researcher

Organizing rocks goes to Krakow!

On November 9-13, we are invited to Krakow, Poland, to give talks and live concerts about Organizing rocks, at the Jagiellonski University as well as down town Krakow. It’s a fantastic opportunity to tell stories on research method and on mining, labour and power, through a mix of talking, showing images and videos, and playing music.

Perhaps the most evident, positive effect (so far) from our decision to go public from the start with Organizing rocks is our new friendship with Dr Michal Zawadzki at Jagiellonski University in Krakow, Poland (warm hugs to Monika Kostera who connected us). Michal early on started to follow our project and he proved not only a very intellectual, engaging academic (he is an assistant professor in management), but also a beyond awesome drummer. When you listen to our music production, it’s Michal who plays the drums.

Art Michal Music

Spaceland album out now!

First on Spotify, soon on 40 other digital music services (including iTunes and Amazon)!

Click here for Spotify link!

On the menue on the left, you’ll find the Spaceland booklet with all info on the songs (including lyrics)!

Michal Music Researcher

Opening black boxes

Please find the second comment from guestblogger Michal Zawadzki:

With the popular metaphor developed by Bruno Latour, one could say that neoliberalization of the contemporary academia too often brings down lecture halls in the universities and business schools to the level of ‘black boxes’: discourses closed to criticism, where interpretations of the reality authoritatively imposed by the teacher are reproduced. This situation stays in contradiction to the cultural mission of the university: university is an institution with the potential for opposition, whose mission includes cultural democratization of social life, social solidarity and critical reflexivity. Preparing students for the role of critical citizens is the basic function of higher education. Teaching and learning at a university constitute a border space that should enable students to confront ethically and politically the connecting tissue of experience and thought, theory and praxis, ideas and public life.

This possibility is given by the project “Organizing Rocks” and its use in the classrooms. Both me and my students from the Institute of Culture in Krakow are impressed by the musical layer of this project: the songs composed by Johan and Tommy, and played and sung by Tommy (and a few others) which allow you to understand the twists and turns of management and work processes. Within the blues “Kiruna you maggot” we are able to understand the specificity of life in the Swedish Kiruna and work in the local mine: dangerous mountains, harsh climate, loneliness and hard work are complemented here with the beauty of the aurora and blue lakes. A song “What local people? Us local people” gives us the possibility to empathize with the situation of indigenous people of Kiruna: nomads from the north coping with the problems of globalization and commodification of the local goods. A hard rock track “We the north” – so far my favourite one, especially because of the great repetitive guitar riff – also reveals the mentality of the people from the north: cordial, but aloof inhabitants from the mountains.

“Organizing rocks” is a great resource for the teaching courses in management and gives the possibility to open the “black boxes”. As one of the students attending my bachelor seminar, Monika, observes:

“Organizing Rocks” is the one of the most interesting projects which I have met recently. This is a fantastic way to share scientific research results. Through music, we can reach a wider audience and publicize important aspects of academical issues. Thick volumes written in difficult language discourage, so the rock music is a great alternative. I hope that this project will develop and maybe will be picked up by other scientists. Aspects of quantum mechanics singing with growl in accompaniment of heavy guitars? Why not!”

Michal Music Researcher

A beauty of management in music

Meet Michał Zawadzki, an invited academic guest blogger.

The “Organizing Rocks” project reminds me the differences between Polish and Swedish university culture. Many distinguished academics in Poland wouldn’t believe that professor‘s on business schools composes songs related to management, and that they also sing. But in this project its done. Breaking the taboo of seriousness of management science, the Organizing rocks project promotes our discipline and allows us to feel the atmosphere of a research project about the mines at the same time. Will academia ever learn such a kind of openness? We need to recognize the beauty of the organization and the people who create it, refusing the mask of functionalism and economic efficiency, which are treated too often as a recipe for organizational success. It is high time to discover the essence of management processes that lies in passion, distance and humor: uniquely human traits, not reducible to either economy or academic degrees.

Michał Zawadzki is a PhD and postdoctoral Researcher at Gothenburg Research Institute.