What university do we wantWEB

Event: What university do we want?

We invite students and researchers to a public lecture and discussion on the past and current development of universities.

Time and place

May 9, 14:00-16:00, Store Møterom, Georg Sverdrups hus, University of Oslo

Facebook event | Registration

Across the world, there is a great deal of uncertainty and anxiety about the current state and future development of universities. While Norway has bucked the European trend towards a corporate model for universities, how will new procedures regulating funding, governance and assessment shape the future of universities as core social institutions?


  • Lecture by Stefan Collini, Professor Emeritus, University of Cambridge:
    “The long run: universities in historical perspective”
  • Comments by Professor Svein Stølen, Rector, University of Oslo
  • Interactive discussion moderated by Katerini Storeng, Chair of the Young Academy of Norway (AYF)
  • Reception

The event is free and open to all on a first come basis, with registration here.

Lecture: “The long run: universities in historical perspective”

This lecture adopts a historical perspective to try to distinguish enduring long-term trends from more local or more transient features. Collini will explore the tension between 1) the increasing institutional uniformity that developed in Europe across the twentieth century both within and among national systems, and 2) the tendency for apparent similarities, often driven by democratic or egalitarian impulses, to mask various forms of hierarchy. In urging the continuing claims of scholarly values and open-ended intellectual enquiry, Stefan Collini argues against both contemporary manage-rial imperatives and the alleged virtues of an imagined ‘U.S. model’.

About the speakers

Stefan Collini is Professor Emeritus of Intellectual History and English Literature at Cambridge University, and an influential voice in debates over higher education, most recently with the book ‘Speaking of Universities’ (2017). He is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Historical Society, and a frequent contributor to The London Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian, The Nation, and other periodicals.

Svein Stølen is Rector of the Universitetet i Oslo (UiO) for the period 2017-2021. He is Professor of inorganic chemistry. Stølen has previously chaired the board of the UiO: Life sciences-initiative, and was board member of UiO:Energy.