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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