Recap: University:Future Festival 2021

This was the most inspiring event on higher education in the digital transformation: The University:Future Festival took place from 2 to 4 November 2021 with the motto “Open for Discussion” – organised by the Hochschulforum Digitalisierung (HFD) in partnership with the Stiftung Innovation in der Hochschullehre (StIL). With 3860 registered participants and 2,700 attendees, it was the largest event of its kind in the German-speaking region.

The University:Future Festival 2021 was the largest and most relevant event on higher education in the digital age in 2021. On YouTube as well as in our programme you can find all recorded videos from the festival. And here you can view all the photos.


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The festival was aimed at all those concerned with the present and future of academic education: Lecturers, university administrators and students; activists and representatives from politics and administration; civil society and university employees; artists and scientists; EdTech founders and the press. The programme was bilingual (German and English). Thus, the festival was open to national visitors as well as guests from abroad.

The aim of the festival was to offer all participants an overview of the current state of discussion on higher education in the digital age.

The University:Future Festival was organised by the Hochschulforum Digitalisierung and the Stiftung Innovation in der Hochschullehre. It was supported by numerous partners.

Open for Discussion

The motto of the University:Future Festival 2021 was: Open for discussion. It stands for openness, for accessibility, for discourse – and for exploring the future together.

Open for discussion stands for open conversation, for encounter. After such a long time of mainly digital communication, we all miss direct contact. University: Future Festival remained digital. But we focused on interaction and encounter as never before.

Open for discussion stands for exchange at eye level and accessibility. At the festival, everyone wias heard – university administrators and ministers as well as students and doctoral candidates. We decided on programme submissions according to content, not according to the status of the proposer. Everyone was invited to participate: We were very happy about the diversity of different voices..

Open for discussion stands for collective exploration. (Almost) everyone is aware that there can be no going back to the “old normal” of higher education. How we move forward after the pandemic is in all of our hands. Now is the time to remeasure higher education on the path to the “blended university”. The U:FF was the place to look together into the future of academic education.

Programme 2021

The three-day University:Future Festival consisted of four parts. What they have in common is that the program was largely fed by submissions from our community.

Here you can find our gallery for the University:Future Festival 2021.

02.11.2021 (EdTech & Conference)

On November 2, the event kicked off with the EdTech part of the programme, which was aimed at anyone interested in technical solutions. Here, visitors could try out innovative EdTech ideas and tools and get to know the people behind them.
Also on the afternoon of November 2, the Conference sessions took place.

03.11.2021 (Conference)

The Conference part of the festival continued on November 3. The programme was largely made up of submissions from the community. Confirmed speakers include participation educator Marina Weisband, Federal Minister of Education Anja Karliczek, education journalist Jan-Martin Wiarda and the rector of FernUni Hagen, Ada Pellert.

04.11.2021 (Workshops)

The festival ended on November 4 with the Workshop section, which created space for longer and interactive formats.