Universities and Cities – results and reflections Conference of the project “Scholars, Science, Universities and Networks as Factors Making Cities Attractive”

Download 69.7 Kb.
Size69.7 Kb.
1   2   3   4   5   6
Mervi Kaarninen analysed in her presentation the university – City relationship in Tampere and Manchester. The central idea was to compile extensive analyses concerning university – city relations. In this study the role of university has been seen from economic, cultural and social points of views. The main focus was on the question of what kind of role [the] education and the institutes of higher education have had in the urban transformation. Manchester and Tampere both have the same kind of background as old industrial centres. Moreover, the universities in Manchester and Tampere have different histories and status from the old, traditional universities of Oxford and Cambridge in Britain and the University of Helsinki in Finland. Since the 1970s both Tampere and Manchester have undergone deindustrialisation processes and thus it is important to analyse what kind of roles these cities assigned their universities in the campaign against unemployment.
In her presentation Closer to the Community: Universities and Adult Education, Kirsi Ahonen discussed interaction between universities and society from the viewpoint of university adult education. She examined two cases, representing the principal lines of university adult education. The first example dealt with general education for a wider audience and the second continuing professional education for those having an academic degree. Interaction between university and community was viewed further by analysing the openness of university adult education.
In his comments, professor Jürgen Schriewer suggested more consideration to be given to the general significance of case studies. He focused on the differentiation process between more traditional university adult education and continuing professional education, taking place after the Second World War, and suggested more emphasis to be put in it.
Friday 14.12.

Keynote lecture Professor Lars Nilsson: On the Move: People, Places and Mobility.

The main point was to underline the difference between free and forced mobility. As a special case professor Nilsson examined the ‘refugees’ from National Socialist Germany in the 1930s. Using the data collected by Aulikki Litzen he calculated the mobility of the Nobel laureates in science who had been a working in Germany or Austria during the National Socialist period. Nilsson’s result was that these laureates had been more mobile than other laureates active at the same time. Nilsson pointed out that forced mobility characterized mobility in the 1930s generally. Litzen’s results had been parallel, but she had accepted as refugees only persons who were Jewish themselves or were married with Jews, and consequently had analysed a smaller ‘refugee’ group. Neither had she seen ´forced mobility’ as a dominant characteristic of the turbulent period between the World Wars.
In his paper, entitled The emergence of a scientist, Timo Vilén focused on the career of Ragnar Granit which he related to a wider context by introducing an explanatory model that will enable us to locate and analyse individual scientists in different social contexts. This model includes four stages: individual, local, national and international (or transnational). In addition to these four stages, Vilén highlighted the importance of informal networks, often referred to as “invisible colleges”. At the end of his paper, Vilén made some concluding remarks relating to the term “emergence” and suggested how it might be operationalised and used in the study of history.
Professor Lars Nilsson regarded Vilén’s approach, in which a case study concerning the career of one person was given a wider meaning by the use of a general model, as convincing and promising. Larsson, however, suggested that the generality of this model should be discussed further.
In the discussion, Nilsson noted the importance of turning points and the role of informal networks in such situations. Aulikki Litzen suggested that in addition to success stories, also failures should be studied in order to understand why some scientists succeed while others did not. Clemens Zimmerman agreed with Litzen, also suggesting that one possibility for bridging the gap between individual and structural level is the concept of “career”.
The next speaker was Dr Timo Rui whose paper was on Estonian Scientists in Exile. During the World War II at least 65 Estonian professors and 30 researchers and university teachers decided to flee ahead of the Red Army that invaded the country. Significant here was the presence or absence of institutional, economic, and social support available for science and scholarships in the countries to which émigrés went. With no demand, the human capital of even the most prominent academics remained dead capital. Political, economic, cultural, institutional, individual levels each contributed to this, and once the refugee academics were in a new country, the importance of former contacts and the network grew geometrically.
As a conclusion Timo Rui pointed out that Estonian academics managed quite well in their new countries, mainly in Sweden and North America. After all they were given the opportunity to work, many of them even in their own field. If there were some positive things to be found in forced migration, the refugees brought some new aspects with them. Of course the total meaning of such a small group of scientists was only marginal in their new societies - but they were, however, a part of the development of western science after the Second World War, and the next generation became integral part of new societies.
In his comments professor Nilsson emphasized the importance of the topic, which is – unlike the deportation of Estonian refugees after the war – rather unknown history in Sweden. According to Nilsson, Rui’s research can be described as a collective biography as opposed to Vilén’s individual biography of Granit. He emphasized that both Rui and Vilén seem to have similar underlying research model. Both are identifying various research levels, which in Nilsson’s terms were political/economical, institutional and personal. Networks are also emphasised by both. In addition, Nilsson suggested that Rui´s work should follow the three stages that are already visible in the text to some extend: reasons for the escape from Estonia, the choice of the first country for the runaway and the career in the new home country.
Saturday 15.12.

Keynote lecture Professor Peter Clark: Voluntary Associations and Innovation.

In his presentation Peter Clark emphasized the importance of voluntary associations, societies and clubs as innovative environments. Different associations promoted especially the practise of testing new ideas in fixed environments. There was a clear difference when associations became part of urban landscape in different parts: in Great-Britain associations existed already at the 17th century, in continental Europe they became more common during the 18th and in Finland one hundred
years later. Innovative associations had many aims and purposes, meaning that several
fields of life were present: scientific, political, nationalistic and environmental
associations were among the many. Also clubs with mainly socialising function had a
significant role.

An important factor behind the innovativeness of different associations was that in

socially rigid societies they offered a space where people with different backgrounds
were able to meet. Also networking both at national and international level was typical
from early on. Both of these were of crucial importance behind the creative potential of
associations enabling exchange and diffusion of ideas.
Following professor Clark Sampsa Kaataja presented his paper
Directory: yky

Share with your friends:
1   2   3   4   5   6

The database is protected by copyright ©essaydocs.org 2020
send message

    Main page