Call for Participation 2024 (closed)

The Call for Participation was closed on February 12! The jury is currently evaluating the submissions.

The Call for Participation of the University:Future Festival 2024 – Tales of Tomorrow ran from 4 December 2023 to 12 February 2024. We were looking for talks, workshops, discussions, micro-trainings and other formats. The focus is always on (digital) innovations in academic education. We invited all interested parties to participate.

The programme of University:Future Festival is based on your submissions. The call offered the chance to shape the festival through your ideas! What we were looking for: Everything from visionary and surprising insights to specific, instructive problem descriptions.

Please note: The Call for Participation is intended for all contributions that fit into a timed programme schedule. Please also take a look at our other calls.

Are you looking for specific information? Click here for target groups, formats, course of the call and tracks. Additionally, there is an FAQ that answers most common questions.

Graphic Call for Participation - open until February 12th

The motto: Tales of Tomorrow

Stories are powerful. They construct our reality. The future is not fixed; rather, we create it here and now through our narratives. This is what we will be discussing at the University:Future Festival 2024.

Under the motto “Tales of Tomorrow,” we contemplate futures and develop visions that go beyond the immediate. We invite participants and our speakers to collaboratively discover and share new stories. We address current and future technological developments while also shedding light on the social and intellectual context in which they occur. Together, we seek solutions and pathways into the future.

The word “Tale” can be translated as both “Geschichte” (story) and “Märchen” (fairy tale). At U:FF, we challenge established future narratives. We do not dwell in a superficially used concept of innovation, but rather aim to discuss which narratives are relevant to the future and which are truly just fairy tales.

Who we are looking for – Target Groups of the Call 

Everyone can participate in the Call for Participation of the University:Future Festival 2024 – because higher education concerns us all. We are very interested in incorporating innovative ideas and good practice examples from around the world into the festival programme. In particular, we address:

University employees: The main target group of the festival are individuals who are active at universities — as lecturers, as didacticians, as university managers or leaders, or as administrative staff. This also includes employees from support facilities such as IT, data protection, or legal departments. Representatives of private educational institutions are just as welcome to participate as people from public universities.

Students: Amplifying the voice of students is a special concern of University:Future Festival. We invite student organizations and individuals to present their ideas, views, and demands related to the “Tales of Tomorrow” at the festival.

Civil Society: Academic education concerns the entire society. We are looking for people from all strands of society who have something to say about the future of higher education.

Companies: Companies offer innovative solutions, have educational needs for their employees, and are important cooperation partners for universities in both study and continuing education. They provide innovative solutions to many challenges. Private educational institutions are also called upon to participate. Please note that mere product pitches cannot be part of the programme.

What we are looking for – Formats & Locations

You can submit a range of formats as part of the Call for Participation for the University:Future Festival 2024. Please note that on the last day of the event, only digital workshops and trainings will take place.

Formats: WHAT we are looking for

InputsInputs on a topic by one or more persons. The focus should be on applicable knowledge. The format can vary, but the most common is a presentation followed by a discussion.30 minutesDigital, individual submissions are invited to on-site stages
Lightning TalksShort inputs by a maximum of two people.5 minutesDigital
DiscussionsA dynamic and diverse discussion by several people. The planned participants must be mentioned in the submission.30 o. 60 minutesDigital, individual submissions are invited to on-site stages
WorkshopsInteractive formats with limited participant numbers (usually max. 50 people). Active work with the participants is a prerequisite.60 o. 120 minutesDigital, individual workshops are invited to take place on-site
TrainingsShort learning units. The number of participants is unlimited. Active work with participants is optional and depends on the learning objective.60 o. 120 minutesDigital, individual trainings only on-site
Local MeetupsMeetings at one of our on-site stages on a defined topic. The focus is on exchange and discussion. Please note: Lectures should not be part of meetups.60 minutesOn-site only

Locations: WHERE you can present 

The University:Future Festival is a hybrid digital-first event with five stages across Germany. In other words: Our format is unusual.

Therefore, we ask you to provide information about where you can and wish to present from:

  • The standard is presenting from the digital space.
  • It’s possible that we may invite you to present at one of our physical stages. In that case, you present on-site and will be streamed to the digital platform. That’s why we inquire about your general willingness to travel. Only the meetups always take place at a physical location.

Content: WHAT we are looking for

A good submission consists of the following:

  • Solutions, relevance, attitude, current issues, constructive criticism: We want to highlight different viewpoints. We welcome a wide range of topics and perspectives.
  • Entertainment: We are looking for good content – and would like to see it presented well.
  • Reference to the motto and tracks: Create a connection to the title and/or description.
  • Diversity: A balanced gender representation, visibility of people of colour, as well as individuals who don’t identify with traditional binary gender norms, are of particular concern to us.
  • No sales presentations. Pitches and advertising stand no chance.

Course of the Call

The Call for Participation for the University:Future Festival 2024 runs until February 12th, 2024. After the submission deadline, your proposal will be reviewed by a track jury. The track juries consist of experts in the respective field, students as well as representatives of Hochschulforum Digitalisierung, Stiftung Innovation in der Hochschullehre and stage partners. We ensure that your submission is read and evaluated by at least three people, usually more.

In a second stage, the heads of the track juries come together and decide on the programme. In March 2024, you will receive a decision from the jury.

Tracks – Topics we aim to address

The programme of the University:Future Festival is structured into tracks. The tracks reflect the topics that resonate with our communities. They are based on the results of a community survey, strategic positioning, and experiences from past events.

Shapes of Tomorrow

What threads weave tomorrow’s story?

The track Shapes of Tomorrow focuses on narratives as well as overarching topics and debates from which the future emerges: Which topics are being addressed and who is participating in the discussion? What values and thought models are at the foundation of technological developments? What does the future of higher education look like and what does the higher education of the future look like?

The Shapes of Tomorrow track also addresses topics that receive less media attention but shape the development of universities. These include demographic change and the associated declining numbers of new students, as well as diversity, sustainability and climate protection at universities.

We hope for contributions with a wide range of thought approaches; critical perspectives are highly desired. Because technological, societal and thus educational policy developments are shaped by the decisions we make today.

Topics covered in the track include: future narratives, future research, megatrends, demographic change, sustainability, fundamental values of universities, diversity of students and heterogeneous educational biographies.

AI & Technology

Will tech save us?

The introduction of ChatGPT caused a seismic shift. Artificial intelligence is changing higher education, our everyday lives and the world of work. The debate centers around the actual impact we will witness and how the technology will continue to evolve. One thing is clear: we need to talk about these questions, both in a practical context and on a meta-level. We invite you to present visions of progress but also critically examine narratives of progress at the festival.

In the AI & Technology track, we also discuss how technology is altering our scope for possibilities in education. We take a special look at topics such as Virtual Reality and Extended Reality, as well as the role that universities play in the technological change process.

Some of the topics covered in the track include: teaching with AI, prompting, EdTechs, tools, AI competencies, impact on disciplines, willingness for change and resistance, Virtual Reality, Extended Reality and technological changes.

Teaching & Learning

How do we tell the stories of tomorrow?

In the Teaching & Learning track we talk about didactic designs and the learning goals behind them. We talk about how good teaching can succeed for everyone in a digital world. And we discuss the important topic of teacher training. A special focus in this track is on the broad impact: How can the many excellent examples of good teaching be carried and anchored on a broad scale? We therefore particularly invite projects to submit sessions that are working on scaling good teaching.

The topics of the track include: innovative teaching concepts, student-centredness, learning success empiricism, teacher training, curriculum development, participatory event formats, gamification in teaching, slow learning and inclusion.

Spaces & Hybrid Concepts

Which stages do we tell our tales on?

The track Spaces & Hybrid Concepts is about educational spaces and hybrid concepts. With the merging of physical and digital presence and changing demands on teaching, both physical and digital educational spaces need to be rethought. Third spaces are gaining importance, i.e. spaces for new purposes, such as coworking spaces and FabLabs. Hybrid teaching concepts are becoming increasingly common in practice but do not always work to the satisfaction of all parties involved.

The topics of the track include: prerequisites for successful hybrid teaching concepts, space structures and development, third spaces and social learning at a distance.

Future Skills

How can we practice to tell future stories?

Future skills are skills that will become more important in the job market and in society in the near future. What are these skills and how can they be identified and acquired? Personal development is also important in this context. Therefore, strategies and structures for coping with emotional challenges are highlighted in this track. In times of skilled labour shortages, the topic of upskilling is particularly relevant. What do examples of successful cooperation between universities and companies look like? Of course, conceptual thinking is also encouraged at the University:Future Festival: Critical contributions that question the concept of Future Skills are also welcome.

The topics of the track include: Future Skills, Data Literacy, Digital Literacy, Soft Skills, Media Literacy, Upskilling, Continuing Education and Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Structures & Strategies

How can tomorrow’s stories unfold?

The Structures & Strategies track is about the university as an organisation. It encompasses administration, strategy and leadership. In the digital transformation, universities must adapt their processes and structures. In this track, we discuss change management, processes and framework conditions, decision-making structures and financing issues. An important aspect is quality management in dynamic change processes.

The track also addresses the university as a workplace: How can good employees be recruited and retained – key terms here are new work and good working conditions. Additionally, the track covers the internationalisation of the university.

The topics of the track include: administration, change management, organisational development, process management, democratic university structures, university strategy, new work, the university as an employer, internationalisation and quality management.

Exams, Legal & Data Protection 

What are the frameworks we need for tomorrow?

The question of appropriate examination formats in a digital world has been a concern for a long time, but the developments in the field of artificial intelligence have made it particularly urgent. Therefore, this track will focus on all aspects of assessment, including didactical, technical and legal aspects. However, the track not only addresses the topic of assessment but also discusses data protection and sovereignty as well as all relevant legal issues.

The topics of the track include: examination cultures, alternative forms of performance records, examination in times of ChatGPT, data sovereignty, data protection, higher education laws, general legal issues.

Networks & Participation

Who tells the story (of tomorrow)?

Every good narrative includes a sense of togetherness. The Networks & Participation track is about collaboration and knowledge transfer – both into society and among other universities. Collaborative networks and other forms of inter-university cooperation offer great potential for finding answers to common questions and to disseminate them broadly, for example, through participation structures and effective communication.

The track is also about participation: How can all stakeholders be involved – especially students? What formats are needed to make the needs of students visible?

The topics of the track include: university networks, knowledge transfer, social impact of academic work, opening up the university, student-centredness, participation and alumni relations.

Let’s Play

Which plot twists and punchlines does future entail?

What would a festival be without fun and playful elements? In Let’s Play, we aim to create a wide range of offerings that are creative, enjoyable, thought-provoking and provide a break for the busy minds, all in various formats – from quiz shows to live podcasts, from theater performances to PowerPoint karaoke, from poetry slams to short film programmes. We are looking for ideas to discuss the festival’s themes in different ways and formats that encourage our visitors to think, participate, laugh and marvel.

The Let’s Play track is open to all topics: Anything that is creative, beautiful, surprising and witty is welcome.