The Creation of a Free Scientists’ Movement Spring Symposium 2024

The Creation of a Free Scientists’ Movement Spring Symposium 2024

5-7 April 2024 / Gothenburg, Sweden

The call and registration is now closed. Program is below.

Aim and purpose of the Spring Symposium

Academic freedom is under pressure across countries and across disciplines. However, the severity of the crises that societies face today call for researchers to create a more trustful and compassionate research environment where ideas and creativity can flourish more than they can today. The reason for this need is dialectic in the sense that it is difficult to pose the right questions or come up with the right solutions to the crises we find ourselves in – when we ourselves as researchers are bound by systems whose very logic has been the underlying driver of the crises. Therefore, we do not merely need minor corrections to the current system of academia. We need to find a path to free ourselves from the very logic that academia is encapsulated by today. Therefore, there is more than ever a need to come together across disciplines, universities, and countries to create a new collective movement of scientists.

Therefore, the aim of this study circle is to:

Create a free scientists’ movement that can lay the foundation for future cooperative universities and academic systems whose logic is based on an ethics of care and trust. It is a key priority of this study circle to explore – not just theoretically – but also physically and organizationally ways to create true academic freedom for researchers.

The NSU study circle on the creation of a free scientists’ movement will hold its Spring Symposium 2024 on April 5–7 in Gothenburg, Sweden in collaboration with University of Gothenburg. At the Spring Symposium with the title “Amo, Ergo Cogito”, the main objective will be to create a manifesto for the free scientists’ movement. The manifesto should contain some principles for the role and responsibility of science today, as well as describing the vision of an academic system based on an ethics of care. This could also include a description of the potential for making a cooperative movement among researchers and future universities.

PROGRAM for the symposium:

Friday 5th of April

  • 13:00-13:15    Welcome and introduction by Maria Toft and Karolina Enquist Källgren
  • 13:15-14:00    Introduction round of participants (please think about answering the question “Why have you joined this symposium and what do you hope will get out of it?”)
  • 14:00-14:10    Short coffee break (where Maria will open the session for the online participants and make a short introduction)
  • 14:10-14:40    “Poetry and Science – The Creative Power of Human Beings” Keynote speech by Associate Professor of Philosophy Oliver Kauffmann
  • 14:40-14:55    Plenary discussion
  • 15:00-15:30    “#CanALoudWomanMakeItToFull” Keynote speech by Associate Professor of International Relations and Political Theory Charlotte Epstein
  • 15:30-15:45    Plenary discussion
  • 15:50-15:20    “The Yearning of Something Else – The Perspective from Young Scientists” joint keynote speech by Ingvild Bergom Lunde (PostDoc in Health and Society and head of The Association of Doctoral Organisations in Norway) and Maria Toft (Independent researcher and former PhD student of Political Science).
  • 15:20-15:35    Plenary discussion
  • 15:35-15:45    Short break
  • 15:45-17:00    Walk & Talk in the nearby Kungsparken. Assignment: Each participant should via conversations prepare three vision statements or areas that would be important to include in the manifesto. (Online participants should send these to

Saturday the 6th of April

  • 09:30-09:45   Introduction of the day and the writing process by Mads Ejsing (or perhaps an external facilitator) – inspired by the writing process from ‘klimaborgertinget’ in Denmark.
  • 09:45-10:00    Synthesis of the responses to the questions (Natasha Fiig (?)):   
  1. What are the main challenges concerning academic freedom today?
  2. In your own words, how do you imagine “an academic system whose logic is based on an ethics of care and trust”? What would it look like?
  3. Under which conditions are you most likely to have new ideas? Please also mention in what situation you had your best research idea.
  4. Which areas and themes would be the most important to touch upon in a manifesto for the Free Scientists’ Movement?
  • 10:00-18:00    Writing sessions, lunch and coffee breaks (will be more detailed)

Sunday 7th of April

  • 10:00-10:30    Sharing of the manifesto 8th of April – How should we do it most effectively?
  • 10:30-11:00    Ideas for the program of the summer symposium in Løgum Kloster (Denmark) 29th of July till the 5th of August 2024.
  • 11:00-11:10    Coffee break
  • 11:10-11.40    Preparing a three-year cycle proposal for the NSU 2025-2027 (deadline 30th of April): Brainstorm and discussions in groups.
  • 11:40-12:00    Plenary discussion
  • 12:00-12:40    Lunch
  • 12:40-13:00    Election of coordinator group and bye for now.
  • —–
  • 13:30-14:30    (NB! Only Maria Toft and online participants) Online presentation of the manifesto and the plan from here.

We are looking forward to getting started! Meanwhile, this quote can inspire for further action:

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” (Reportedly by Buckminster Fuller)

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