ACA Conference: “Save the date. UniverCities. Higher education institutions and their habitat”, Budapest, 20-22 November 2016
The ACA Annual Conference 2016 will take place in beautiful Budapest, from 20 to 22 November 2016. The Conference will be co-organised by the Tempus Public Foundation, Hungary's ACA member and the Erasmus+ National Agency for Hungary, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The theme of this year's ACA Annual Conference is the relationship between universities and colleges and the cities in which they are located. The overarching questions of the event are: what do cities contribute to the success of universities and colleges, and how do higher education institutions help cities develop? It is important to note that we use the term 'city' as shorthand for metropolises but also small towns and in some cases, regions.
This theme is being hotly debated these days. Which 'habitat' do higher education institutions and the knowledge industries require, where do they thrive? In metropolises and megapolises, which attract talent because of the tolerant environment and the advanced technology they provide, as the American urban studies theorist Richard Florida argues? Is this the only 'environment' in which higher education institutions flourish? What about all these cosy little towns, such as Oxbridge, Lund, Heidelberg, Ithaca or Coimbra, which are hosts to well-reputed and even world-class universities? And, not to forget, remote underdeveloped regions with declining demographies or regions undergoing economic transformation, where universities are being founded as instruments of regional rejuvenation. In these cases, it is the university or college which is to rebuild the town or region - and not the other way round.
The ACA Annual Conference 2016 will address all of these different 'habitats' - big cities, small towns and remote and challenged regions. In doing so, it will not only explore the relationship between higher education institutions and municipalities, but also of university-enterprise interaction and cooperation between academic institutions and civil society actors in their city, town or region.
The event is expected to attract up to 300 participants, from higher education institutions, ministries of education, international governmental and non-governmental organisations, and university associations, amongst others. Highly reputed and knowledgeable speakers at the conference will be higher education researchers, business representatives and representatives of local governments. We intend to open registrations before the summer break. In the meantime, we strongly suggest you save the date.
More information will soon be available on the ACA and TPF websites.