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

Education and learning

On May 16-18 2022 the University of Gothenburg will host Praxis Symposium IV. The event, now in its fourth edition, 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 will take place at the Faculty of Education, University of Gothenburg, but will also be offered as a hybrid event.

16 May 2022 - 18 May 2022
University of Gothenburg, Faculty of Education

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.

Call for abstracts

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.

We invite papers that provoke discussion about, but are not limited to, the following themes:

  • Lessons from/in pandemic times (for research, teaching and learning, community engagement, professional learning, leadership, academic practices, professional education, student engagement, boundaries student/professional/private life? ….)
  • Bringing bodies back in - what will/could this look like?
  • Space and place in the post-pandemic university
  • Reorienting university conditions (where are we heading and what can we do?)
  • Disrupted and emerging higher education practices: pedagogical, theoretical and methodological challenges
  • Technology integration and disruptive innovations
  • Imagining (im)possible futures for HE

Abstract specifications

The following information should be included in the abstract (max 600 words)

-       Name, affiliation
-       Theme, rationale
-       Theoretical framework
-       Methodology and data
-       How you think your study will contribute to the symposium

Send your abstract

Important dates

Abstract submission opens: September 6 2021
Abstract submission deadline: October 31 2021

Abstract notification: December 15 2021
Registration opens: February 1 2022
Registration closes: March 1 2022
Praxis symposium: May 16-18 2022

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


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