SEU First International Conference in Ghent. A follow-up
STAM City Museum in Ghent was recently host to the Socially Engaged Universities’ first international conference in Ghent on 10th December 2019. Over 60 delegates from the five partner countries of UK, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy and Germany attended the conference entitled The City and the University Together - building sustainable, mutually beneficial partnerships. The conference was a perfect opportunity for university and municipality partners to come together to discuss how they can work collaboratively to respond to locally identified societal challenges. The conference was also the platform for the SEU Partners, who are all members of the EUniverCities network, to launch their first intellectual output from this Erasmus+ funded project – the State of the Art Review of Community University Partnerships.
In the opening session, delegates were welcomed by Dr Alexis Dewaele, and Prof Ann Buysse from the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Ghent University, and Dr Andrew Dean, SEU Project Lead, University of Exeter. Dr Jozefien De Marree - Science Outreach Officer from Vrije Universiteit Brussels then gave an insightful overview of European Science Shops and their role in engaging students to tackle societal challenges.
Following an introduction to the State of the Art Review by Tim Flügge of the University of Magdeburg, partners presented a brief summary of the partnership case studies that were examined and described in the Case Study Compendium, which will be available to download from the SEU project website early in 2020. A lively panel session followed where delegates discussed challenges such as how we create sustainable community university partnerships, and how we can evaluate their impact on all stakeholders.
In the afternoon, delegates took part in a series of breakout workshops which explored the following issues: challenges and benefits of partnerships; reaching out to vulnerable populations; collaboration between knowledge institutes and the municipality; how higher education can help tackle challenges of Culture-Life Development; and Bio-district for local development: the case of Parma. A guided tour of STAM rounded off the day, with the opportunity to learn more about the history of this beautiful city.