In May 2020 the plan had been to bring together at Lake Ekoln in Sweden, a group of people who are all, in their own way, interested in the question of how we might rethink universities in the era of climate change. Some were professors working in universities, some were leading activists, some were doctoral students exploring the frontiers of new thinking, some were artists and facilitators of public conversations; some see themselves as educators others as climate researchers and others resist definition. We had hoped to go deep into the questions of what a university is, could be, can’t be and should be in a world of profound ecological harm and inequality.
And then we know what happened next. The pandemic hit, borders were closed, and we were left, like the rest of the world, to work out what to do instead. In place of a three day conversation that had been intended to be as slow, as embodied and as reflective as possible to allow us to really learn from each other, we met online to speak in the strange flat world of the video conference. For none of us was this enough, and so the project you have in your hands (or on the screen) was born: a letter exchange, where each of us would write to one other in response to an initial prompt, attempting to speak honestly about our sense of where ‘the university’ might go in this era of profound change. The letter exchange lasted four months, a week at a time or more for each person, through the long summer of 2020 when all were navigating a new reality. The pieces were not written for publication, they are not polished, none have been edited, they were intended only for the recipient. On completion, however, we wondered if there was enough here potentially to be of interest to others exploring the same questions.
So we share these letters with you, as an echo of a conversation that could have happened and as perhaps the beginning of different conversations, negotiations, collective experimentation with how universities might be otherwise.
Feel free to write back and to join in, or to carry on and take this further.
A new paper by Professor Kevin Anderson and NRHU doctoral student Isak Stoddard reviews the mitigation plans of “climate progressive” nations, Sweden and the UK, and compares them with Paris-compliant pathways, and is now published in Climate Policy. The piece is written together with a colleague from Manchester, John Broderick.
Here is the first briefing paper on The Case for Transformative Public Education with leading contribution from Professor Facer. This paper focuses on responding to COVID-19 now while addressing long-term underlying inequalities.
Blog post by Zennström Professor Keri Facer on the Higher Education Policy Institute addressing the UPP Foundation Civic University Commission’s recent report on how universities can successfully serve in the 21st century. Climate change was a glaring omission in this report, as Keri writes.
On the 18th of Feb at 10.00 sharp, staff and students of UU are very welcome to a workshop about the UU development plan 2050. In this workshop we will work together in order to give input to the sustainability aspects of Uppsala University’s development plan. The output from the workshop will be treated as a submission for comment (sv: remiss-svar) by the development plan’s project team. For more information see attached flyer and the sustainability part of the ‘remiss-version’ of the plan (or you can find the entire plan here).
The report below provides a brief overview of some of our work in the Zennström Climate Change Leadership Initiative exploring the relationship between internationalisation and sustainability agendas in the contemporary university. It reports on a short programme of desk research by the team and a workshop bringing together university leadership, students, faculty and administrative staff. It identifies key tensions, possibilities, and routes towards achieving more sustainable internationalisation strategies in universities. The report has been compiled rapidly to respond to current debates and is intended as the basis for wider discussion. We are keen to hear from colleagues elsewhere to help develop these ideas further.
The 2019 UN Climate Change Conference will take place 2-13 December in Santiago, Chile. Uppsala University has status as observer organization and will be sending a delegation to the conference. We are now calling upon engaged and motivated students in Uppsala to apply to join the delegation as Uppsala University’s representatives at the negotiations. This delegation is a part of Uppsala University’s ongoing involvement in the UN level climate negotiations, building on the Zennström Climate Change Leadership professorship and Uppsala University’s long tradition of student-leadership and active student participation.
Take advantage of this unique opportunity to take part in a process that is of paramount importance and build on the work of previous delegations’ involvement in these UN negotiations. This will also be a chance to engage the Uppsala University community in the conference outcomes and experiences.
Apply by providing aCV and a brief personal statement (no more than 1 page) that addresses the following questions:
What are your intellectual and academic interests at the moment?
Are you involved in any activities/initiatives that have a connection to climate change issues?
Why do you want to go to climate change conference in Santiago?
How does participating in the conference fit in with your studies, and/or research / professional interests?
How would you propose to collaboratively prepare, connect, and also feed-back with others at Uppsala University and in Uppsala that are interested in climate change and the negotiations, but not able not able to join the delegation?
Indicate which week you would like to join the COP, or if you would like to attend both weeks.
In order to be considered to join the delegation as a student, you will need to be enrolled at Uppsala University. In forming our delegation, we are looking to create a highly motivated, interdisciplinary team of students. Note that a selection to join the delegation does not entail funding for travel, food or housing. If you are selected and accept, you will need to commit to:
actively participating in at least one of the two weeks of the conference (2-6 December and/or 9-13 December);
being involved in organizing and contributing to events in Uppsala before, during, and after the event.
Do you have ideas on how Uppsala University can be international and sustainable?
This workshop will be an open exploratory space for staff and students at Uppsala University that aims to understand the underlying drivers and desires for both internationalisation and sustainability, the potential sites of complementarity, and the possibility of Uppsala taking a lead in developing new and innovative practices of sustainable internationalisation.
This workshop will be curated by the current Zennström Professor of Climate Change Leadership at Uppsala University, that will aim to understand the underlying drivers and desires for both internationalisation and sustainability, the potential sites of complementarity, and the possibility of Uppsala taking a lead in developing new and innovative practices of sustainable internationalisation. The outcome of the workshop will inform both sustainability and internationalisation strategies for the university.
Both students and staff welcome! Join us on October 28, kl 12-16:30 at Kollaboratoriet, Östra Ågatan 19. Lunch will be served.