Initiating and Anchoring an Academic Course on Societal Collaboration:
A Story About ‘Someotherism’ and a Need for Reflexivity
Keywords:organizing, societal collaboration, higher education, learning, reflexivity, universities, someotherism
Collaboration between academia and society has become a key priority for many higher education institutions (HEIs). In Sweden, this is partly driven by political calls to secure the long-term provision of knowledge, innovation and competitiveness. At the system and institutional level, responses to this are reflected in governance structures and strategic documents. However, those strategic responses often fall short and attempts to organise for collaboration are often met with scepticism, and, in practice, micro-level changes are slow. This paper asks why that is the case by reflecting on the experiences gained from initiating and anchoring a course on societal collaboration at a Swedish HEI. We analyse the experiences from this bottom-up initiative by building on the notion of reflexivity. Our study contributes to research on managing and organising collaboration at HEIs by highlighting and illustrating the need to adopt a scientific approach – to use scientific knowledge – and engage (more) in reflexivity when organising to ensure societal collaboration. Efforts to produce collaboration cannot be expected to be solved by ‘someother’, but require strategy to be aligned with practice. We conclude our reflexive inquiry with implications for research and practice.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Anna Jonsson, Eugenia Perez-Vico, Diamanto Politis
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