It’s only a couple of days to go until our first conference, Building the Post-Pandemic University. It’s been brought to you by a small organising team from the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge. I’d like to thank Hannah Moscovitz and Milan Stürmer in particular for an immense amount of work without which the conference wouldn’t have been possible. We’re also grateful for funding from the Culture, Politics and Global Justice (CPGJ) research cluster which has made it possible to have dedicated technical support for the event, helping us run much more smoothly than might otherwise have been the case. As well as participating in the organising committee, a number of CPGJ members have generously agreed to act as facilitators for the conference.
If you’ve registered for one of the sessions, you should have received an e-mail with joining instructions for the event. If this hasn’t come through, please check your spam folder and then contact us if you’re definitely missing the e-mail. Unfortunately, we can’t accept any more audience members after the close of registration on Tuesday 15th. For those who will be part of the audience, we’d like to raise a few points with you in advance:
- Given the size of the audience, we won’t enable cameras or microphones for audience members. There will be opportunities to ask questions through the Q&A functionality as each panel goes on. However we’d also encourage you to tweet about the conference using the hashtag #BuildingPPU. Please don’t screenshot the conference or quote a speaker without attributing them.
- From the outset we’ve tried to decentre the conference as one part of a broader conversation. Every participant has made pre-conference interventions which are available online here. We ask that you read their submissions in advance of the panel you attend. This is the main reason we’ve done registration on a panel by panel basis, as we’re asking more of you than would be the case for a typical conference.
- The panel itself won’t be enormously interactive, simply because we don’t think it’s possible to generate a rich discussion between the speakers while also including 100+ audience members. Therefore we’d strongly encourage you to tweet about the talks using the hashtag above, leave comments on pre-conference interventions and consider writing your own responses to them. If you have an idea for a response, either to a particular intervention or the panel as a whole then please get in touch.
In the same spirit, we’d like to invite those who aren’t attending to respond to the pre-conference interventions as well. Far from being a one-off event, we see this as a nodal point in a much wider conversation we’re trying to curate about what sort of university can and should emerge from this crisis. Like much else of what we’re doing, it’s an experiment and one we’ll be reflecting on here in the coming weeks and months. A profuse thanks to all our speakers and audience members for their willingness to improvise with us, as we try and find new ways of engaging in intellectual exchange at a distance.