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The purpose of the future university - philosophy of higher education conference

The theme of the first philosophy of higher education conference was ‘The Purpose of the Future University’. It was held on 6-8 November 2017 in the Conference Centre at Aarhus University.

The conference gathered around 100 researchers into higher education from 17 different countries around the world. The keynote speakers were Ronald Barnett (University College London, IOE), Paul Gibbs (Middlesex University, London), and Susan Wright (Danish School of Education, Aarhus University).

46 papers were presented from research areas as diverse as philosophy, psychology, anthropology, sociology and educational theory. Common for all these presentations was that they discussed fundamental and far-reaching questions about the future of higher education, as well as its challenges, unrealised potential and imagined futures.

The vast majority of the contributions also addressed the question of how higher education and its societal and cultural context can merge in more mutually beneficial and constructive ways. The university was also discussed in a broader sense – not only as a provider of higher education, but also as a wider and more inclusive academic space for learning, personal and societal development and growth. 

More information

  • Information about the keynotes, the conference timetable and the book of abstracts can be found on the conference website.
  • The conference was coordinated by Søren S.E. Bengtsen and Sarah Robinson, both from Aarhus University, Wesley Shumar from Drexel University, and Amanda Fulford from Leeds Trinity University.
  • It was hosted by the Centre for Teaching Development and Digital Media (CUDiM) and the Centre for Higher Education Futures (CHEF) at Aarhus University.
  • The next conference will be held in September 2018, at Leeds Trinity University in the UK.

Photos from the conference

Søren Smedegaard Bengtsen, vice leader of The Centre for Higher Education Futures (CHEF) at Aarhus University.
Keynote speaker Ronald Barnett from the UCL Institute of Education.
Keynote speaker Susan Wright, leader of the Centre for Higher Education Futures (CHEF) at Aarhus University.