UNIKE’s University Futures conference is built up around an idea of organising 'collective' thinking. It aims to bring forward different ideas and approaches in scientific thematic sessions, generate a dialogue between them, and debate their strengths and weaknesses.
The conference's scientific themes are asking questions such as: How is a wide range of businesses and other stakeholders engaging with and reassembling the university? What is meant by internationalisation? How are universities mobilised by nations and regions in the global knowledge economy? How can ideas from feminism and post-capitalism be used to create a liveable university? And are there alternative ways of organising the university and its relations with society?
Participants in each thematic session will discuss existing knowledge and critique of existing practices and institutions of higher education. Following this, participants will move on to think about an ideal future and consider how these ideals can be put into concrete action and how we can support each other in such an effort.
The Danish School of Education (DPU) at Aarhus University, Copenhagen Campus, is the host of the conference.
The programme includes the following six scientific themes:
Registration closed on 9 June 2016.
Conference fee is 1200 DKK. Conference fee for self-funded PhD students is 800 DKK.
Title: Post capitalist and feminist perspectives on universities as work places.The ambition of this thematic session is to draw upon post-capitalist (JK Gibson-Graham 2006) and feminist ideas to analyse, critique and rethink universities as workplaces, including e.g. practices of management, recruitment, academic work and work culture, notions of quality, life-work balance . Orienting ourselves towards local social, cultural, political and economic orders, the participants will draw upon detailed ethnographic studies of gendered and intersecting work practices in the neoliberal university to illustrate existing challenges and problems. We then turn to discuss how we might bring about an alternative future and a more liveable university. Guided by two experienced scholars in interactive gender research and feminist change projects targeting academia, we invite people to analyse their own institutions and practices. Participants will collectively reimagine their universities through debating concrete ideas for transforming everyday workplace practices. Finally, participants will have the opportunity to establish a network in order to support each other in their future local efforts.
Title: Reassembling Knowledge Production With(out) the University
What many have theorized as the university is disintegrating right before our eyes. Encouraged by processes of digitization, marketization, financialization, and globalization, the contemporary university is now constituted by, beholden to, and competing with a wide array of new actors and institutions. Among other things, where once the university held a virtual monopoly on formal academic, scientific, and technical knowledge production, now the production of authoritative knowledge seems to be ubiquitous across society and economy. Digital technologies in particular have facilitated many of these processes by lowering technical barriers on the distribution and “publication” of knowledge and information. Furthermore, new service providers, whether focused on education, research, or policy are marketing solutions to students, teachers, academic researchers, university administrators, and policy makers. In interrogating the ways universities are cooperating and competing with new actors and institutions, these sessions will engage with the ways the university itself is being transformed as a social and economic institution. In other words, these sessions will questions how the university is being “re-assembled” from the ground up, and whether and how as a result the concept of the university is still meaningful.
Theme 3: How do Nation-states Mobilize Universities to position themselves in the Global Knowledge Economy?
This panel explores how nation states mobilize universities to position themselves in the global knowledge economy and how governments use them to further national interests. Drawing on case studies from Europe and the Asia-Pacific we discuss, among others, (1) the processes, projects and politics of higher education regionalism that aims at enhancing competitiveness of world regions, (2) the creation of international campuses or outposts that position national universities’ in ‘global’ settings, (3) higher education as an instrument of ‘soft’ diplomacy, and (4) the construction of frames of reference such as university rankings to define the space of global excellence and assess universities’ position within it. We critically reflect on the ‘globalization’ of national higher education agendas and the emerging roles of universities within a ‘global knowledge economy’ and ask how this ‘global knowledge economy’ and the university are mutually constituted in the process. Finally, we raise questions about how university autonomy and accountability serve national priorities and are being shaped by them, what role the ‘world class’ discourse plays in national development and regionalism, and how imaginaries of global spatial hierarchies come into being.
Title: How can universities be transformed so that they center on public goods in teaching, research and community engagement?
Within higher education, values such as democracy, solidarity, public good and community benefit are increasingly overshadowed by systems of management based on Taylorism and hierarchical control. The session explores these trends and draws on participants’ practical experiences, lessons learnt, and best practices to suggest alternative organizational forms. The session aims to use these experiences to promote both discussion and first steps in developing an audit tool to use to evaluate universities and hold them accountable for their promotion of public goods. Finally, participants will identify some alternative pathways to address the decline of public goods in universities: reform of existing institutions, creation of new institutions, etc.
Title: Reconsidering "Internationalization" from Peripheral Perspectives
In the past few decades, the concept of “internationalization” has been dominated by powerful actors such as university ranking agencies, intergovernmental organizations, university consortia, university managers in the corporate-like universities, and researchers/practitioners from the developed areas, while the voices of the unprivileged actors—students, administrators, academic staffs, and researchers/practitioners speaking for developing areas—who are situated within the “periphery” of higher education sector, have largely been overlooked. This session will bring together a group of critical thinkers, who will present papers representing marginalized voices to supplement to the current discussion on the concept of “internationalization” in higher education research. The session will be followed by a round table discussion, in which participants will comment on and summarize the views contributed by previous presentations and discuss how the peripheral perspectives can exert an influence in the internationalization process of higher education.
How to get to the conference venue from the airport?
How much does a public transportation ticket cost?
Where is the nearest pharmacy?
What is the voltage in Denmark?
All those answers can be found in the practical information sheet.
Universities in the Knowledge Economy (UNIKE) is a four year collaborative research project investigating the dynamic relationships between universities and knowledge economies in Europe and in the Asia-Pacific Rim. The project is funded by the European Commission and the actual research is conducted by 12 doctoral fellows and three post-doctoral fellows at six different universities: Aarhus University, ENS Lyon, Ljubljana University, Roehampton University, the University of Bristol, and Porto University.
Read more about UNIKE at unike.au.dk
June 15 - 17 2016
Danish School of Education, University of Aarhus, Copenhagen Campus
Tuborgvej 164, Building D
Follow, tweet or share your experiences of the University Futures conference using #UniversityFutures