University of Gothenburg

Praxis symposium IV: Higher education in post-pandemic times – (re)orienting transformation through praxis

On May 16-18 2022 the University of Gothenburg will host Praxis Symposium IV. The event, previously organized and held at the University of Borås, is now in its fourth edition.

The Praxis symposium has become an important meeting for academics and other professionals that are interested in higher education and the challenges and contradictions that characterize academic work and responsibility in turbulent times. The symposium is organized in collaboration with the University of Borås and will take place at the Faculty of Education, University of Gothenburg, but will also be offered as a hybrid event.

This year's symposium

Discussions about the role of higher education, its meaning and status in societies’ search for knowledge, growth and competitiveness, have been part of political as well as academic debates and conversations over the past decades. Universities are also the main characters in related, but at times contrasting, narratives. In one narrative, they may be presented as the main locus, both physical and metaphorical, where knowledge is preserved, created and shared. In another narrative, universities are framed in terms of “central actors of the ‘knowledge square’: education, research, innovation and service to society” (European Commission, 2020, p.10). In yet another, higher educational institutions’ main scope is to attend to “skill gaps”, as universities play a major role in citizens’ and societies’ competence development. Regardless of what narrative we choose, the components that constitute the university have proven to be even less coherent and fixed than what we could expect. In the current pandemic crisis, universities in the nation-state of Sweden and elsewhere in the world have become an anchor in the storm, used by the government to provide citizens with relevant education while transitioning overnight to online delivery of education. In this (new?) role, universities have demonstrated a capability to change, adapt and deliver their services for society. But at what costs? Reports are currently starting to emerge about the quality of the education delivered online, and about the issues that a sudden transition to online education and work conditions have meant for students, faculty members, administrators (see eg European Commission 2021). There seems to be uncertainty about what a post-pandemic life would entail for the university, especially in relation to the narratives noted above.

The fourth Praxis symposium “Higher education in post-pandemic times – re-orienting transformation through praxis” offers a forum for dialogue to discuss possible directions for a (re)orientation of higher education through a praxis lens. Praxis here means to engage with the educational and civic missions of the university in terms of a balancing act (see also Langelotz, Mahon & Messina Dahlberg, 2020) between its endeavours to reproduce and reinforce certain aspects of society on the one hand, and its commitment to change, transformation and professional action on the other.

This event is co-funded by the Riksbanken Jubileumsfond.


European Commission (2020). Communication from the Commission to the European parliament, the Council, the European economic and social committee and the committee of the regions on achieving the European Education Area by 2025. Available at

European Commission (2021). The impact of COVID-19 on higher education: a review of emerging evidence. Available at

Langelotz, L., Mahon, K., & Messina Dahlberg, G. (2020). Editorial: Walking on the edge: Educational praxis in higher education. Learning and Teaching. The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences, 13(3), v-xv. Available at

    The symposium organizing committee

    Giulia Messina Dahlberg, (Chair) University of Gothenburg

    Richard Baldwin, University of Borås

    Marita Cronqvist, University of Borås

    Lill Langelotz, University of Borås & University of Gothenburg

    Magnus Levinsson, University of Borås

    Kathleen Mahon, University of Borås

    Susanne Strömberg Jämsvi, University of Borås

    Sylvi Vigmo, University of Gothenburg

    Sally Windsor, University of Gothenburg

    Important dates


    Abstract submission opens: September 6 2021

    Abstract submission deadline: October 31 2021 – Extended to November 15 2021

    Abstract notification: Postponed to January 31 2022

    Registration opens: February 8 2022

    Registration closes: April 1 2022

    Praxis symposium: May 16-18 2022