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PATTERNS Lectures final conference: „Is teaching always political? New challenges in higher education“

Vienna. „Is teaching always political? New challenges in higher education“ was the title of the final conference of PATTERNS Lectures, a project initiated by ERSTE Foundation and implemented by WUS Austria. The project runs in a series of editions for the 4th time and supports the development of new university courses in Central and South Eastern Europe in the fields of art history, cultural theory, and cultural studies. In the final event of the 4th edition PATTERNS Lecturers from different editions came together, discussing freedom of speech in the classroom, the role of university teachers and students as part of civil society, and unversities’ responsibility for engagement and democracy.

The conference took place on 24 – 25 November 2017, in cooperation with the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, in the beautiful and inspiring setting of the Atelierhaus. The event hosted four panels including vivid discussions and left us with many more questions and some insights into daily practices from the PATTERNS Lectures community.

In the frame of the conference we asked and discussed questions such as: Is teaching always political? Has teaching always been political? What is the responsibility of the lecturer? How to deal with political discussions, with hate speech in the class room? Are there limits of free speech in the classroom? Who should draw them, and where? How do lecturers critically interact with institutions like the university, the state, art and culture? How should students be involved in civil society engagement?

The conference brought inputs from different perspectives and a panel discussion about freedom of speech, civil society engagement and democracy with Boris Buden, Elke Krasny and Hedvig Turai (PATTERNS Lectures Advisors). Contribution to panels were made by: Ovidiu Gherasim-Proca, Marina Simić, Ana Kolarić, Izabela Kowalczyk, Nicole Dołowy-Rybińska, Andrea Pócsik, András Müllner, Cristina David, Irfan Hošić, Martin Piaček.


We will be following up on the conference with a publication including selected contributions from the conference. Stay tuned!


More information:


photo credits: Elisabeth Gruber