What are universities for now?

Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences partnership event with the Keele Institute for Social Inclusion

This one day conference will be held on
Wednesday April 3rd 2019 in Keele Hall Ballroom, 11.30am to 5.30pm

As we enter our 70th anniversary year, it is a time to reflect on Keele as a university with a long and proud history, one that responds to the needs of a modern and rapidly changing society. In 1949, Lord Lindsay, our founder and a great and innovative educationalist, outlined a powerful vision for the purpose of a university in an era of post-war austerity. He was clear that universities have a key role to play in enriching democratic societies so that they would become ever more inclusive, civilized and enlightened.

In 2019, we face a future that is at least as uncertain as it would have seemed to Lindsay and his contemporaries 70 years ago. All universities face unprecedented challenges and questions about their purpose and value, and it is ever more important that we seek to clarify what the broad purpose of universities is in the twenty first century.

Updating Lindsay’s vision

One way to update Lindsay’s compelling vision and to make it clearly relevant to the needs of the future is to unearth its enduring underpinning values. We might consider the core value at the heart of that vision to be social freedom, that is the ways in which individual autonomy can be facilitated through forms of social co-operation that are mutually beneficial. Universities promote social freedom by supporting students in ways that not only enhance their personal freedom, but also their productive freedom, through the world of paid and unpaid work, and their political freedom as engaged citizens of the world. Through its research and various forms of partnership, universities can also be instruments of social freedom that have positive impacts on the wider society in the economic, political and cultural spheres.

Please join us for this one-day conference which will bring together students, academics and practitioners to debate the role of universities today by exploring their potential as instruments of social freedom. If we are to remain committed and true to a vision that highlights the transformative potential of universities in enhancing the freedom of all, students, staff, alumni and wider society, then we need to ask what it would mean for us to lead the way in realising this vision today.

Please visit here or click on the 'Book event' button below to register to attend this event.

You can download a copy of the conference programme here: ‌Final Conference Programme

Confirmed Speakers

Gabriella K A Gay - What are universities for now? 200x200

Gabriella Gay
Keele Postgraduate Association

Keele University

Uvanney Maylor - What are universities for now? 200x200

Professor Uvanney Maylor
Professor of Education

University of Bedfordshire

Shane O’Neill - What are universities for now? 200x200

Professor Shane O’Neill
Professor of Political Theory    

Keele University

Kevin Richardson - What are universities for now? 200x200

Kevin Richardson
Local Growth Consultant 

Research England

Tom Snape - What are universities for now? 200x200

Tom Snape
Student Union Officer

Keele University                              

 Divya Jindal-Snape - What are universities for now? 200x200

Professor Divya Jindal-Snape
Professor of Education, Inclusion &
Life Transitions

Dundee University

Brendan Stone - What are universities for now? 200x200

Professor Brendan Stone
Deputy Vice-President for Education

University of Sheffield



70th Anniversary Logo

Event date
Event Time
Keele Hall, The Ballroom
Steve Kilner or Jo Flynn
Contact email
Contact telephone
01782 7 34449 / 34434

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