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Past event

Dystopian Realities and Utopian Thought: Alternative Futures for Academic Practice

This event has now been postponed. To be kept updated on when this will be reschedule for, please email

Dystopian and utopian thinking can inform and influence the perceptions, experiences and hopes of Higher Education practitioners. The current ‘ground’ of curricular practice, the functionalised architecture of university environment, and the increasing shift towards technological bureaucracies are all operating to stymie the freedom, creativity and criticality of HE academics. The need for alternative, transformative and critical horizons to envisage a Higher Education of and for ‘hope’, is now essential. This event will offer delegates space, ideas, and practices that will hopefully translate in to ‘tactics for action’ for our respective HE environments.

As modes of enquiry, critique and praxis, dystopia and utopia can offer glimpses of higher education as a space of hope, higher education reconfigured as a site of possibility. This event is a call for utopian and critical dystopian engagement with higher education as a terrain of struggle, to explore the possibilities that philosophy, pedagogy and technology can offer for overcoming the political tourniquets of our contemporary environments.

The event is for all interested in higher education and other post compulsory domains of education including: higher education academics; college-based HE academics; informal educators; postgraduate/research students and community education practitioners.


9.00 Registration
9.30 Introduction & Welcome
Craig Hammond, Liverpool John Moores University, & Darren Webb, University of Sheffield
9.45 Becoming Utopian: the Challenge(s) of Utopian Subjectivity in Dystopian Times
Tom Moylan, University of Limerick 
10.45 Tea & coffee break
11.00 Panel discussion and Q&A
Richard Hall,De Montfort UniversityLaurence Davis, University College Cork; Ibtisam Ahmed, University of Nottingham 
12.00 Lunch
  Presentation Stream 1
  Parallel Session 1
Chair: Darren Webb
Parallel Session 2
Chair: Catherine Wilson
Parallel Session 3
Chair: Craig Hammond
Parallel Session 4
12.45 From Britney’s Work Bitch to the Employability Agenda: critical dystopian thinking on a compulsory English Literature Employability module
Adam Stock
Heterotopia and/or Utopia (in higher education)
Aiden Pilling
The Utopian Thought of Ernst Bloch and Walter Benjamin as the basis for a Critical Criminology that promotes Critical Citizenship
David Hayes
Towards a ‘Natural’ Curriculum: Preservice teachers’ perspectives of the tensions and contradictions in the use of outdoor learning pedagogies across the primary curriculum
Avril Rowley
13.05 Teaching Values in Higher Education – Science of Living
Vijayita Prajapati
The Anarchist Academic: Reclaiming Our Subjectivity
Andy Brogan
Rethinking the role of employer involvement in HE provisions: the case study of Pearson Business School
Iro Konstantinou & Elizabeth Miller
Omitted pasts, permitted futures? Exploring the past, present and future spaces of the small, specialist arts college as potential alternative narratives for contemporary Higher Education
Sarah-Jane Crowson
13.25 The Cracked Mirror: Lessons from literary fictional dystopias and utopias for re-imaging Higher Education
Catherine Samiei
Utopias in education: between learning about schools from the past and imagining the schools of tomorrow
Cristina Popescu
Navigating Utopia: Module Design for Critical Citizenship
Kirsten Harris
Avoiding a Dystopian Crisis within Secondary Education
Jane Stirling
13.45  Discussion and Q&A
14.15 Break and Refreshments
  Presentation Stream 2
  Parrallel Session 5
Chair: Darren Webb
Parallel Session 6 
Chair: Avril Rowley
Parallel Session 7
Chair: Craig Hammond
14.30 Total University!: A democratic utopian vision inspired by pragmatist play
John Lean
Working through pain: Performance and chronic pain in the everyday lived experience of an academic
Catherine Wilkinson
UtopiaS: Reimagining the reimagining of UK higher education
Mollie Baker
14.50 The Future is a Fucker
John Maxwell
50 Shades of Education
Hina Suleman
15.10 Overflowing Voids: Negation as Utopian Practice
Nathaniel Coleman
Reimagining the Conversations and Languages of Global and World Citizenship Education in Higher Education: Exploring Perspectives and Practices among Chinese Educational Policies, Academics and Students
Arzhia Habibi
Resisting cybernetic governance through grassroots alternatives: Implications for academic practice
R. Firth & J. Preston
15.30 Discussion and Q&A
16.00 Final comments & completion of evaluation forms


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