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NEWS

12.07.2011

PATTERNS_Lectures – Final Conference

Prague. On the 27th and 28th of June more than 30 lecturers, university management representatives, and people actively involved in the area of higher education met in Prague to do a sort of “Reality Check” about Higher Education in Central and South Eastern Europe. The discussions that took place in the course of two days covered a wide range of subjects – from the comparison of higher education systems in different countries and regions and the issue of privatization of universities to the questions of massification of higher education and the future of so-called “luxury subjects”.

The conference began with the public event that was organised on the 27th, which started with a very inspiring and interesting keynote speech by Renata Salecl, a philosopher and theorist based in London and Ljubljana. She talked about a wide range of changes that took place in the period of transition from socialism to capitalism that influenced so many areas of our lives as well as about the feelings of anxiety and freedom that could be felt then and that are being experienced nowadays, yet in very different ways. Salecl ended her speech with the appeal to universities to “have the courage to social critique and imagining alternative futures”.  

The panel discussion that took place after the keynote included representatives of all stakeholders of the PATTERNS_Lectures project: university management, lecturers, students, Academic Advisory Panel of the project, the ERSTE Foundation, as well as the keynote speaker. The discussion concentrated mostly on the changes that were experienced in the area of higher education in the last two decades, with particular emphasis on the implementation of the Bologna process and the increasing commercialization of higher education.

On the second day, an internal meeting was organised for all project partners, during which they exchanged their experiences from the project implementation over the last year. The presentations of lecturers and university representatives provided many interesting insights and inspired motivating discussions that have left us reflecting which moves should be taken in the future in order to further develop and improve this project.

The conference was organised by ERSTE Stiftung and WUS Austria and it was hosted at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague.

The programme of the conference is available here.

For more information about the PATTERNS_Lectures project and the courses supported within it please check the project website (www.wus-austria.org/patterns_lectures).