Roundhouse Student Journal

Roundhouse Conference

Photos of the conference can be seen here:


Time Higher Coverage of the Conference:


Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Roundhouse conference and helped to make it such a success. We continue to get positive feedback and support from attendees and panellists. We will post up as many presentations as we can – they will be accessible from the left hand side bar. We will be posting up photos, film and recordings of the day over the coming weeks. In the mean time we have been receiving blog posts outlining people’s impressions and feedback from the day which can be read here

Please get in touch with your own impressions of the day and email them to

Thanks again!



9.00 – 9.30am

Introduction to Roundhouse

9.30– 11.00am

Issues for the modern university

Panel Discussion

The aim of this panel discussion is to try to form a clearer picture of how we perceive higher education today. What are the key changes over recent years which have impacted on higher education? What forces act to restrict the freedoms of academics and students? Why have these forces manifested themselves in such a way? How are pressures on education distorting educational practice? We hope to address these, and other, questions in order to present an outline for the themes which we would like to look at for the rest of the day.


Mike Neary, Dean of Teaching and Learning, University of Lincoln
Dennis Hayes Professor of Education, Derby University
Andrew Gunn, PHD Student, University of Leeds
Lea Medieros, Roundhouse member

11.00 – 11.15

Coffee Break

11.15 – 12.30pm

Plenary Speaker Dr Monica McLean
Critical pedagogy in contemporary universities:  a Habermasian perspective

A specific conceptualisation of critical higher education pedagogy drawn from Jurgen Habermas’s theory of communicative action will be considered for its desirability and feasibility.  It is a conceptualisation of critical pedagogy which constructs students as future citizens and emphasises the development of ‘communicative reason’ in relation to both learning and teaching.  If we think that the goals of such a critical pedagogy are desirable, it is necessary to think about what in the university environment constrains and enables a shift towards it in actual policies and practices.

12.30 – 1.30pm Lunch

1.30 – 3.00pm

What is the University For?

What is the ‘idea of the University’? This session will address the university’s responsibilities to social, economic and cultural life and look at more conceptual ideas about the University’s function. Can we define a set of pursuant values from the university’s wider responsibilities, and if so, how do these values express themselves in educational practice? If not, does the university face a legitimacy crisis?


Peter Dews Professor of Philosophy, University of Essex
John Nixon, Professor, University of Sheffield
Paul Taylor, Lecturer in Communication Studies, University of Leeds
Simon Swift, Lecturer in English, University of Leeds

3.00 – .3.15pm Coffee Break

3.15 – 4.45

Rethinking the University

In the UK, Universities sit cautiously on the boundary between the private and the public sphere. Today, more than ever, this boundary has been blurred. This session will look at how we might address the need to restore a rational communicative approach in higher education and where, in the twenty first century, the contemporary university should be situated. Should a critical education strive to address the urgent moral-political concerns of our times? How do we use our understanding of a critical pedagogy to close the space between theory and practice? Is it possible for the university to re-establish its role as a social agent?


Steward Hodkinson, Lecturer in Geography, University of Leeds
Naomi Head, lecturer in International Development, University of Aberystwyth
Ricardo Blaug, Senior Lecturer in Political Theory, University of Leeds
Laura McPharlane Shopes, UG Student, University of Leeds

4.45 – 5.00

Conclusion and Thank You

There is a space reserved in the University Union to have a drink after the final session has drawn to a close


Attendance to the Roundhouse conference is free but registration is  necessary

To find out more information or to register please email

or call 0113 343 9204

© Copyright Leeds 2019