Webinar: Towards the Placeful University

Pathes And East European University

Date: November 15, 2022, 15.00 - 17.00 (CET)

Venue: Online via Zoom

Fee: Free


Places are centers of meaning, they are meaningful places. We dwell in places, interact with other humans at various places and constantly move between them. Places and spaces are dynamically interlinked: sometimes a place is perceived as more bounded and local (favourite cafe in the park), but sometimes they can “stretch out” (the whole park can be considered as a place of importance). Because of this feature place researchers speak about “nesting” nature of places. And what about academic places, what about the university as a place/space?  Is it a gathering place? (Heidegger) And if so, then what is being gathered around? What kind of place/space is the university? Is it possible to consider it as a circus where dangerous and risky leaps are performed, or are we being drawn towards other metaphors like the ‘factory’ or industrial site? In what sense can we speak about a placeful university?

In this online roundtable, Professor Giorgi Tavadze will set the scene for discussion and link to the overall theme of the event. He will also discuss the ongoing research project “Places and spaces in and outside of the university” at East European University, Tbilisi, Georgia. The project aims to understand place-worlds of international students from India studying in Georgia.

Beside an introductory presentation from Professor Tavadze, the webinar includes presentations by:

  • Emeritus Professor Davydd Greenwood, Cornell University, US
  • Professor Paul Gibbs, Middlesex University, UK
  • Emeritus Professor Ronald Barnett, IOE, UCL, UK
  • Associate Professor Søren Bengtsen, Aarhus University, DK

This is a multiplicity of places in which the university has its being, moving in many directions simultaneously and yet with infinite possibilities to be discerned and created – and decided upon. The university finds itself in multiplying places, therefore. So, the question arises: how is it to live with this multiplication of its own places?

The replies will be followed by a online group work, during which participants will brainstorm ideas about each thread discussed previously. This will be followed by a roundtable discussion at which participants will discuss the importance and practical implications of place-based thinking for the university.

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