MMU and this research group were well represented in Finland and Sweden this week. We participated in the 3rd Carpe network conference hosted by Turku University of Applied Science in Finland. (http://www.tuas.fi/en/news/100/carpe-conference-turku-18-2052015/ ). It was lovely to reconnect with old friends and make new connections based on shared research and teaching interests. We noted that academic work has similarities and discontinuities across transnational boundaries. In Finland, for example, there are no fees for home and international students. However, there is a lively national discussion about charging post-graduate overseas students. There were great opportunities for sharing ideas about sharing the international experience for home students who cannot afford to engage with international mobility. We led sessions on impact, sustainable communities, austerity and care, and arts-based research. Further, we facilitated meetings about knowledge exchange and joint / dual programmes between Carpe partners. Turku is a beautiful city, located by the southern archipelago.
Two flights later we were in Malmo, having experienced the joys and efficiencies of Scandinavian air travel. This southern Swedish city was host to the tenth anniversary of the Community, Work and Family conference (the inaugural conference took place in 2005 at MMU). Find out more here: https://www.mah.se/english/faculties/Faculty-of-Culture-and-Society/Research/The-6th-International-Community-Work-and-Family-conference/Programme/
Up first was Carolyn Kagan, our emerita professor of community psychology who along with Suzan Lewis (ex-MMU) looked back and forwards to ongoing challenges the field. Community is a strong theme yet continues to be in the background at this conference in comparison to employment and work. We led sessions on austerity and families, diversity in LGBT communities, migrant workers, volunteering, and community spaces. University led community engagement was the subject of another keynote and generated interesting decisions about opening up university spaces for community-led research. In all, academics from MMU participated in 10 sessions including a half-day doctoral workshop.
Malmo is an interesting city, keen on sustainability where 170 nationalities reside and 50% of the population are under 35. Malmo University is a beautiful new university, striving and succeeding in doing things differently, and challenging the established ways of We took the Oreson bridge back to Copenhagen on the way home.