Save the NSU


At January 28th, 2015, the Board of the NSU was informed that the Nordic Committee of Senior Officials for Education and Research at its meeting in December 2014 had decided that the Nordic Summer University should permanently lose its funding by 2016. In effect, this means that the NSU will have to close down.

Founded in 1950, the NSU has been a platform for interdisciplinary scholarly and cultural exchange between Nordic and (recently) Baltic universities. Based on voluntary work, the NSU has managed to create a unique environment for research and education, where students work in close collaboration and on equal terms with professors and professionals. For the equivalent of a mere 120 000 €, the NSU each year gathers eight study circles. Each of these organizes separate symposia in the winter and in the summer all study circles meet for a week in joint session with a total number of approximately 120 participants. Today the NSU attracts students and professionals from all of Europe and has throughout the years created strong networks within the fields of Psychology, Architecture, Semiotics, Philosophy, Art, Media and Sociology. The NSU has a long tradition for introducing renowned international scholars to a Nordic community. Throughout the history of the NSU, participants have been given the opportunity to engage in discussion with key intellectuals such as liberation theologist Enrique Dussel, cultural theorist Paul Gilroy, feminist philosopher Sandra Harding, literary theorist Katherine Hayles, and media theorist Friedrich Kittler, film theorist Steven Shaviro, affect theorist Erin Manning and many others. All in all the NSU is based upon Nordic ideas of the Folk High School’s democratic approach to knowledge production has proved to be a viable self-governing organization throughout 65 years with shifting political agendas. It has managed to transform and adapt to new conditions and research interests, often transversally developed at the outskirts of university knowledge – and just as important, it has managed to actually introduce and implement these in universities in the Nordic countries as well as internationally.

Today we witness an increased interest in the educational platform of the NSU from the UK, Canada, France and Germany. These international research colleagues have found the NSU to be a unique environment for learning and exchange of ideas and knowledge in the Nordic and Baltic context. With this petition, we argue against the decision by the Nordic Committee of Senior Officials for Education and Research. Save the Nordic Summer University!


Homepage of the NSU

One thought on “Save the NSU

  1. Bodil Marie Stavning Thomsen

    I have been attending the NSU in 1985-1990 (as a postgrad student) and again in 2007-2015, and I have found the NSU to be a very stimulating milieu in many regards. A good learning environment for testing ideas and interdisciplinary dialogues are difficult to establish in universities, but at the NSU you can follow up on discussions, even in more informal ways. The facts that people are around and available makes the NSU a perfect place for PhD-students and postgrad students. This is very different from conferences where you spend less time with more people, often divided in more parallel sessions. The fact that the NSU takes place in different countries each vinter and summer makes a good platform for creating networks throughout the Nordic region – and in recent years people from abroad increasingly find the NSU highly stimulating for the same reasons.