Call for three 1-year study circles (closed)

Call for three 1-year study circles (closed)

Nordic Summer University
Research, Networking, Folkbildning

Call for proposals for three one-year study programs (2 symposia) for 2022 

The Board of the Nordic Summer University (NSU) is happy to announce our call for proposals for three ‘ad hoc’ study programs. We call these study programs, “circles”, to reflect the democratic core values that characterize our activities. 

The two symposia you organize will be part of the NSU’s annual program for 2022. This means the new circle and its members will be full participants among a dozen such multidisciplinaria winter symposia across the Nordic region and the Baltics and during its week-long combined session during the Summer. In 2022 the NSU Summer Session will be held close to Oslo, and joining NSU you will become part of a community of volunteers that has been organizing such symposia for a long time across the region (this will be our 70th shared session on location). 

We welcome such short-term proposals as a way to open our organization to new influences and participants. Our main criteria is that your goal aligns with our mandate, based on NSU’s objective to support “the development of emerging research initiatives and communities by fostering scholarly networks engaged in multidisciplinary enquiries, and to provide a space for conversations and exchange of ideas between diverse members of the Nordic-Baltic regions.” (NSU Statutes

While the region is important because our winter and summer symposia are held there, we have many committed members who come from elsewhere. In this sense we welcome proposals with a membership outside of the region. Furthermore our mandate has as its practical implication that we are unique in how we value unconventional contributions of those that find themselves on the fringes of the world of research, that are coming from ‘outsiders’, alongside contributions from (more) established thinkers, practitioners and researchers with an interest in doing things differently. We give financial and organizational support to circles that host symposium series that fall outside of established ways of working and thinking or that have difficulty maintaining their focus within universities. We welcome everyone, including those that are academically inclined, dancers, inventors, teachers, and any interested and engaged individuals. 

Firstly, this means that the subject area is open if it fits into our overall program. In the recent past they have included urban studies, feminism, technology, race and racism, human rights, artistic research, education, environment, comics, critiques of populism, welfare, migration and many others. More information is available at our website: Secondly, it means that your new circle will participate fully in our democratic process. While our main requirement is that you introduce fresh ideas to our community and that your members participate, we encourage you to use your introduction to the NSU to become a long term member of our community.

In this sense we invite you to consider using the possibility of this one-year program to submit a proposal for a long-term, three-year study circle. Unlike more conventional conferences, we are a community governed by its members during a General Assembly, which meets every Summer Session and who together decide to support which of the proposed three-year study circle programs. That could be the next step for your one-year ad hoc circle, after joining us for this year. 

Your responsibilities as a coordinator of a new one-year circle:

– you organize the research activities for the summer session in Oslo. This includes taking charge of the call for abstracts and/or papers. The logistics are done by (non-circle) NSU volunteers.

– you organize a winter symposium. This includes all of its activities, including the call for abstracts and/or papers, finding accommodation and providing food options. (This is supported financially but you’ll have to organize it.) It has to be held between January and April 2022 anywhere in the Nordic and Baltic region. 

– you might consider the option to prepare a full proposal for a 3-year long symposium that fits NSU’s mandate, its democratic values and has the potential to contribute to its membership over a longer term. Support will be offered by experience NSU members. This is optional.

– as your circle’s coordinator you are expected to explore the democratic process of the NSU and encourage your circle’s participants to do so as well.

– the coordinators of the new circle are expected to attend some online meetings with other circle organizers and the NSU Board. The goal would be to begin sharing the details of their program and organizational responsibilities with the community and possibly find support.

– provide some basic information to include in the NSU newsletters (deadlines to be announced)

– provide reports on your activities, including logging of hours provided in-kind by the coordinators, simple statistics on the participants, and some small reports on the symposia organised. We need this for our newsletters, our website, our annual report, as well as for our reports towards funders

– as a circle coordinator you will be expected to attend a day where coordinators of all circles meet, which takes place the day before the start of the summer session.

What you get:

– access to and support from an established network with a long experience in organizing symposia, often with a highly experimental setup, and with a strong emphasis on democratic characteristics and values,

– the chance to hold your program, organized by you, as part of a fully organized summer session, 

– 2500 euro support for the organization of the winter symposium, to be spent on travel, accommodation and food for coordinators and participants,

– travel and accommodation during the week-long summer session in Oslo for two coordinators,

– four grant and scholarships for participants of your circle during the summer session (they pay a reduced fee). This usually goes to low income or independent participants who could otherwise not be able to take part.

– support for using your short-term circle to prepare a long-term proposal (for 3 years) to be voted on by our general assembly during the summer session in 2022.

Format of your abstract

The proposal for a short circle requires: 

1) an abstract the discusses the basic idea and the type of workshops that will be hosted (no longer than 750 words). This could take the form of a conventional abstract with references but this is not a requirement as long as the idea and the type of contributions have been articulated clearly. The workshop can have a conventional format, but alternatives are encouraged. Please provide details about the proposed location of the winter symposium and what type of participation you expect (who? How many etc.?). 

2) a short description of the organizations and individuals that support the proposal and those that are likely to be involved in the practical sides of the organization of the symposia. 

3) a short description of its potential as part of the NSU program (see our website) and our community. It would be greatly appreciated if you are already considering a 3-year circle proposal for 2023-2025, to be decided upon by the NSU General Assembly during the 2022 summer session. Note, this is not a requirement for your selection but we do encourage such planning.

4) A short expression of the willingness to host the event even if circumstances make us all hold our events online again. Please indicate what this might look like.

The Board of NSU will contact the applicants for further discussion where appropriate. Please email us with the names and emails of the main organizers clearly indicated by the 5th of January 2022. You will be notified of the selection decision by 7th of January. Those selected will be contacted shortly afterwards to discuss further progress.

In case not all spots are filled in this round of submissions, new proposals will be decided upon on a rolling basis. Please check the website to see if the call for 2022 is still open. 

Contact information

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

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