Call for 1-year Working Groups 2022

Nordic Summer University
Research, Networking, Folkbildning

Special Opportunity:
(1-year) Working Groups 2022

Deadline 15 April 2021

The Nordic Summer University (NSU) calls for project proposals for one-year experiments, ‘working groups’ that would like to become part of NSU, or extend their partnership with NSU, to host two seminars in 2022. At NSU scholarly networks addressing critical issues in culture, science and society, explore innovative and new areas of thought and action. Founded in 1950, NSU is an independent, non-profit scholarly institution that provides platforms for networks and collaborations across disciplines in the Nordic and Baltic regions. The activities of NSU are based on three concepts:

Research: NSU provides frameworks for critical scholarship with relevance for culture, science and society, where scholars and practitioners explore ideas and develop knowledge on equal footing.

Networking: NSU brings together university scholars, students, artists and other professionals from different disciplines, countries, generations and institutions in activities that transcend institutional hierarchies.

Folkbildning: NSU combines two traditions: the continental ideals of learning and cultivation of the self and the Nordic heritage of folkbildning and self-organization, with its investments in open access education and collaboration through participation and active citizenship. All aspects of NSU are democratically organized by the participants, including the decision on the NSU study program.

What is a working group?

Activities in the NSU are based around thematic three-year study circles, which are forums for participants to present, discuss, and develop their scholarship. Due to the pandemic and the insecure financial situation of NSU, the NSU Board has realised that committing for a full three-year project is difficult. Therefore we would like to offer everyone the opportunity to explore a theme for one year. We recommend to have two people function as coordinators, who are responsible for organizing the activities: two meetings, once in the winter (February-March) in a so called winter symposium in the Nordic-Baltic region including its periphery or online, and once in the summer during the annual weeklong NSU summer session, which is typically held the last week of July. The winter symposia are organized by the NSU working group in collaboration with a local partner (another network, a university department, a cultural institution, or similar). The summer session is organized by NSU, where all circles and working groups meet in the same location – which may be online when the pandemic situation calls for that. The circles and working groups conduct parallel symposia during the day and partake in joint activities in the evening. For more information about current study circles, visit

What does NSU offer?

NSU offers a platform for collaboration, extended networks of people, their in-kind contributions in voluntary work and personal talent, over 70 years of inherited practice and tradition around democratic, grassroot organisation and connections to various institutions and organisations across the Nordic- Baltic regions. NSU is well-known in the Nordic countries and beyond, and as such offers a good network to attract researchers, scholars, students, artists and professionals to participate in your symposia. NSU is currently not able to guarantee funding for the activities. However, we are in the process of finding and securing new, long-term partnerships that might come into action during the year 2021. All decisions regarding the future of NSU ultimately depend on decisions made by the General Assembly – consisting of members of the NSU community, which meets every summer during the NSU Summer Session. NSU aims to provide financial support for coordinators and participants to attend winter and summer symposia. Other support includes online hosting of events, in case symposia need to be online due to the pandemic situation. The NSU Board also provides support regarding funding applications, financial management and logistics. The Summer Session is hosted and organised by volunteers within NSU, which means study circle coordinators can focus on the content of their summer session program. All people involved in NSU are volunteers, which means you’ll get to be part of an amazing group of people who feel NSU has something unique to offer them. 

Application requirements

NSU gives priority to interdisciplinary applications with an original approach and content, with interested participants from a minimum of three Nordic-Baltic countries, and a detailed plan of the activities of the working group. NSU strives to support topics that are not already established in universities and projects that cross the borders between disciplines and/or academia and society. Early career scholars are encouraged to apply. 

The proposals for the 2022 working group must include:

  1. Aims and goals of the project, including an outline of:
    1. The scholarly context, central questions, and the methodological points of departure.
    2. Considerations regarding impact and outcomes in the Nordic-Baltic context. Depending on the aims of the project outcomes may vary, but may include publications (both academic and directed at the general public), collaborations, and exhibitions.
  2. Overview of the activities, including a plan for the two symposia, and suggested locations (possibly online) and possible collaborating partners for the winter symposium.
  3. List of people and institutions supporting the proposal, including:
    1. The names and contact information of the two people who will function as the coordinators of the working group.
    2. A short list of prospective participants, including their names, present positions, nationalities and/or places of residence. At least three Nordic and Baltic countries should be represented.

The length of the application must not exceed 1000 words (or 3 pages). Examples of previous study circle applications as well as the Board’s criteria for assessing new applications can be found here.


Deadline to submit proposals is 15 April 2021. All received proposals will be subjected to peer review by NSU Board members in the field who also have knowledge about NSU. The peer reviews are to support your application and to make it stronger, and will be sent to the applicants by 15 May 2021. You then have the opportunity to revise your proposal, which should be submitted by 15 June 2021

The final decision on the accepted working groups, just like new proposals for study circles, is done during and by the General Assembly, during the summer session. The NSU Board has no say in this decision. Proposals for new study circles and working groups must thus be presented, in person or via conference call, at the first General Assembly meeting during the NSU Summer session, which takes place 16 – 23 July 2021 (online). The General Assembly will be provided with the following materials upon which to base their decision:

  • the revised proposals (written by the proposer of the study circle / working group)

a suggested study program for NSU listing all study circles and working groups for 2022, including a description of priorities and rationale by the NSU Board who takes into consideration the peer review and changes made. (written by the NSU Board)

The new study program will be decided on by a vote of the NSU General Assembly. The past couple of years, the NSU study program consisted of 9 study circles, but there may be more or less circles and working groups, depending on the decision of the General Assembly.

Contact information

The proposal, as well as questions, should be sent to board [at]