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The University Project

Page history last edited by Dougald Hine 11 years ago

Welcome to the University Project


A whole set of forces are coming together to disrupt higher education as we know it - here in the UK, and all over the world.


Pressures within institutions, economic crisis, staff morale, student debts and graduate unemployment challenge existing models. Out of necessity and out of a desire for something better, these pressures are provoking new experiments around the edges, in pockets within existing institutions, or on the outside.


All of this is taking place at the same moment that we're discovering the social potential of networked technologies, and seeing the emergence of new kinds of collaborative productive spaces - coworking spaces and accelerators, hacker and maker spaces, fab labs and media labs.


The University Project began with the idea that it might be possible to reimagine and reinvent the university, out of the coming together of these forces. We've been invited to make use of Hub Westminster - a new collaboration space for changemakers in the heart of London, a block away from Trafalgar Square - as a base from which to explore these possibilities.


After a blogpost from Dougald Hine, a group of us started meeting regularly to talk about these ideas. Start talking publicly about the future of the university and the strength of people's desire for things to change easily becomes overwhelming. But what we've found is that there are also hundreds of projects and experiments going on which share our desire to create new pockets and pathways for the cultivation of knowledge.


So we decided to start by making use of Hub Westminster in London as a platform, to make this flourishing of experiments more visible and help tell its stories. That resulted in Universities: Past & Future, an unconference event that took place in October 2011.


Since then, the University Project has existed as a loose international network of collaborators inside and outside of existing institutions. For a presentation of some of the thinking going on within this network, as of early 2013, watch the talk, 'A Storm is Blowing From Paradise'.



Universities: Past & Future

14-16 October, 2011 | Hub Westminster, London

Wordle: UniversityProject1


Please join us for a weekend of conversations & encounters, exploring the past and the future of the university.


This is a free event. The idea is to bring together people involved in all kinds of projects and experiments in creating new pockets and pathways for the cultivation of knowledge, within or outside of existing institutions. Let's share our stories and experiences, find places where we can collaborate or support each other, and remember the long history of the invention and reinvention of the spaces in which we learn.


The weekend will run from 7pm on Friday to 6.00pm on Sunday and you're welcome to join us for all or part of it. We'll use an informal unconference structure, so the schedule will take shape over the weekend itself. 


To sign up for the weekend, offer sessions, etc. you'll need to log in - just click Edit on any page & sign in with username 'Guest' and password 'Guest'.


People: If you're coming to the weekend, please add your name and (if you like) a bit of information about yourself here. (There's also a "Present in spirit" section, for people who would like to be there but can't - we'll do our best to link you up to what happens.)


Sessions: If there's a discussion you'd like to host, a project you want to talk about, or anything else - a performance, a game, a debate - then please post a short description here, including your contact details. There will be further opportunities to propose a session over the weekend itself.


Reading: Share articles, books, blog posts or any other recommended reading that's relevant to the theme of the weekend.


Projects: Add projects, experiments or organisations which you think of as relevant to the theme of the weekend.


Accommodation: We're already hearing from people from around the UK (and beyond) who want to come to the weekend. If you live in London and you're able to offer crash space, please post on this page (including some kind of contact details). If you're coming from elsewhere and don't have anyone to stay with, you're welcome to post a request.


We'll also be looking for a few volunteers to help us with practical stuff over the weekend, so please get in touch if you'd like to help.


Comments (4)

guest said

at 12:40 am on Oct 13, 2011

John Parman -- I'm the partnership manager at the National Consortium for University Entrepreneurs, a charity and I am a master's candidate in creative industry and cultural policy at Birmingham City University. My interests are in meritocratic collegiality and what that means in modern education and what the digital realm holds for education's social mission.

TiaCarrWilliams said

at 11:26 am on Oct 17, 2011

I had a fantastic time. Can't wait to do it again.

guest said

at 2:31 pm on Oct 17, 2011

Couple things since the weekend: 1) Boyer's model of scholarship (discovery, integration, application and teaching, in "Scholarship Reconsidered", Ernest L Boyer, Carnegie Foundation, 1990) is pretty mainstream, but may have some relevance in thinking about functions and processes; and 2) a new initiative, "World Wide We" http://wwwe.org/ aims to promote collborative work globally through a new form of not-for-profit social network and may eventually be if use to the project. (@Stevespaceman, Steve Matthews)

fred garnett said

at 10:32 am on Oct 18, 2011

Hi, I think Boyer's Model of Scholarship is part of the hierarchical model of education that I hope we are moving away from. I have recently proposed a Co-creation Model of Open Scholarship and think we should be involved in developing a collaborative model of developing Open Processes of learning; not just open scholars, but "Open Students" More info here; http://www.slideshare.net/fredgarnett/cocreating-open-scholarship

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