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Upcoming event

Dystopian Realities and Utopian Thought: Alternative Futures for Academic Practice

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.


9.15 Registration, tea & coffee
9.45 Introduction & Welcome
Craig Hammond, Liverpool John Moores University, & Darren Webb, University of Sheffield
10.00 Becoming Utopian: the Challenge(s) of Utopian Subjectivity in Dystopian Times
Tom Moylan, University of Limerick 
11.00 Keynote Q&A
11.15 Tea & coffee break
11.30 Panel discussion and Q&A
Richard Hall,De Montfort UniversityLaurence Davis, University College Cork; Ibtisam Ahmed, University of Nottingham
12.30 Lunch
13.30 Parallel Paper Presentations
15.00 Completion of evaluation froms
15.10 Summary & conclusion
15.30 close of event

Call for abstracts:

Potential collaborators are invited to submit abstracts (with a view to presenting at the event), that address the main theme: Dystopian Realities and Utopian Thought: Alternative Futures for Academic Practice. Specifically, presenters are invited to consider ways in which utopian and dystopian thinking can offer ideas, tactics and solutions for higher education practitioners at the present juncture. To consider ways in which the dystopian present best be interpreted and navigated. To explore the extent to which higher education can be positively reconstituted as a site of hope and possibility. Abstract submissions can address any of the following themes; other themes/topics may also be considered for inclusion:

  • The theorisation and navigation of dystopian realities of contemporary higher education
  • Rethinking higher education beyond the university: alternative models of HE
  • Higher education as a laboratory to develop innovative ideas and practices for diverse futures
  • Critical technology: impacts and possibilities for HE
  • Philosophies and concepts for critical/utopian futures
  • Issues for accessibility, social justice and/or ethics in technology
  • Alternative practices for teaching and learning
  • Gamification, artificial intelligence/online learning and assessment
  • Eco-Anarchism/Green Anarchism
  • Utopian/anarchist pedagogies
  • Community, informal and non-formal education (rewilding the borders of Higher Education)
  • Interdisciplinary or multi-disciplinary innovations for teaching and learning practice
  • Practices for Critical Citizenship
  • Critical approaches for enhancing assessment and feedback

Call for Abstracts

Abstracts must be submitted by Thursday 27th of February 2020; participants will be notified of submitted abstract decisions by Thursday 12th of March 2020


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