Winter School

Almost as old as the Nordic tradition of summer schools – to which Nordic Summer Univeristy is indebted – is that of the Winter School. Generations of writers, thinkers, artists and mercenaries have met during the long days of darkness across Scandinavia to refuel: to learn, to discuss, to keep their brains warm.

Our 9 study circles each meet during the winter months, around February, for mini-symposiums. Pick a subject and find out more:

1. Urban Studies: Between Creativity and Power

2. Cybioses: Shaping Human-Technology Futures

3. Hospitality and Solidarity: Feminist Philosophy in Thought, History and Action

4. Narrative and Violence

5. Patterns of Dysfunction in Contemporary Democracies; Impact on Human Rights and Governance

6. Critique in the Age of Populism

7. Artistic Research | Performing Heterotopia

8. Learning and Bildung in Times of Globalisation

9. Comics and Society: Research, Art, and Cultural Politics

The dedication to extreme conditions marks the “winter school” experience – and we have been happy to hear that this typifies other, similar institutions!

As Bohuslav Balcar and Petr Simon recount for 25 years of winter schools on “Abstract Analysis” for Acta Universitatis Carolinae, “The worst living conditions were at Strazne 1979. It was necessary to break the ice if you wanted to wash your face or to use your toothbrush. One foreign participant arrived late evening, suffered through the whole night and escaped the next morning forever”.

Hopefully we have never been beset by such conditions – but it certainly brings back memories from our 1995 session, as you can read about here!

After a tough selection process, the #NordicSummerUniversityhas selected 10 arts/research projects to carve-out trails through NSU’s history.

What contours of ‘Nordic-ness’ will these pathfinders encounter?

We’ll be following the projects as they move around the USA, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Norway, Denmark and the U.K.

Stay tuned as each project is revealed.

Part-funded by @the.nordics#arts#research#learning#university#archives#history#nordicdesign#nordicinspiration

Proposal Idea #6

IDEA 6 – Crossing Disciplines

2004, Iceland.

Political conflicts on NSU’s future continue to abound. But in the midst, a plucky group of researchers stage a football match between the Dantes and the Jantes – from the humanities and from the social sciences. Bare feet race across the ground. An Italian enlightenment philosophy crosses the ball to Karl Marx. Old rivals are forgotten. New arguments are stirred in the sprinting and tackling. A small boy strikes the winning goal for the Dantes!

Cultural engagement – the sharing of practices and games – has been a key part of the world NSU creates each summer. Discussions have long raged over whether a ‘Nomadic university’ such as NSU should be an entirely open, egalitarian space of activism and collectivity; or a place of critical rigour, deep standards of scholarship and commitment to research.

What new states of being can be found when researchers or artists play (football) together?

What sprits can YOU trace from NSU’s history? Follow the link in bio for more info.

Photo by John O’Nolan on Unsplash. Special thanks to Asger Sørensen for his contribution of memories!

Proposal Idea #5

IDEA 5… New Generations of Researcher

From the time of its foundation, the Nordic Summer University has set aside a space for children to be included in the Summer Sessions. Practically, this space allowed adult researchers with child-caring responsibility to be free to immerse in the debate, learning and cultural sharing – an early statement of gender equality in Nordic academic. Is this an embodiment of ‘sustainability’?

Yet, the ride has not always been smooth. In 1972, a Danish radio station broadcast a section of the Summer Session in Askov, proclaiming that children were being inducted into a “radical experiment”, and “upbringing towards a class society”.

Supported by pedagogues, the children’s circle continues to flourish at NSU. How does it change a radical research agenda to be surrounded by the living, breathing, laughing, learning, new generation?

What sprits can YOU trace from NSU’s history? Follow the link in bio for more info.

Picture by Gabby Orcutt on @unsplash

Proposal Idea #4

IDEA 4…. Open World Demand

1950. Niels Bohr writes an open letter to the UN calling for “common knowledge about social conditions and technical enterprises” to prevent the entrenchment of Nationalism and a rapid escalation of military power. The same summer, Bohr joins NSU’s 1950 summer school. Bohr’s spirit of breaking down the barriers between disciplines, industries of learning and social responsibility, is the atmosphere in which NSU’s cooperative ideals and structures are forged.

What sprits can YOU trace from NSU’s history? Follow the link in bio for more info.

#thenordics #arts #research#artsfunding #archive#nordicsummeruniversity#artistopportunities #researchers#learning #universities 


Picture by Andrew Preble on @unsplash

Click on ‘How to Apply‘ to find out more

Proposal Idea #3

IDEA 3…. Reverse Youth Rebellions

1985. Danish newspapers have screamed about NSU becoming infiltrated with the Marxist ideology of the day. The ferocity of the student rebellions is beginning to bite, as many senior academics turn away from their NSU past. Summer passions are forgotten. Professors keep quiet about their association with summer University’s playful and critical spirit. A generation of older scholars withdraw from the wild ecosystem of cross-disciplinary debate into the comfort of their offices…

What sprits can YOU trace from NSU’s history? Follow the link in bio for more info.

#thenordics #arts #research#artsfunding #archive#nordicsummeruniversity#artistopportunities #researchers#learning #universities 


Picture by Pawal Janiak on @unsplash

Click on ‘How to Apply‘ to find out more

Proposal Idea #2

IDEA 2…. Power Plant Storms: NSU harnessing nature.

Through thundering rain and earthquake-rumbles, hardy members of NSU battle the elements in an annual 10-day Summer Session of 1995. The pursuit of knowledge mixes with the smell of sulphur. A keynote speaker recollects “Listen, I’ve been a nun for forty years, and this is the closest to hell I’ve ever been!” Steam rises from the earth and the inimitable Slavoj Zizek delivers lectures from the breakthroughs of the Ljubljana school. 


#NordicSummerUniversity Sessions have changed quite a bit since 1995. But our relentless pursuit of knowledge, embracing whatever nature throws at us, remains firm.

What sprits can YOU trace from NSU’s history? Follow the link in bio for more info.

#thenordics#arts#research#artsfunding#archive#nordicsummeruniversity#artistopportunities#researchers#learning#slavojzizek


Picture by Viktor Kiryanov on @unsplash

Click on ‘How to Apply‘ to find out more