Registration is closed for this event


Facilitated and chaired by: Dr Emily Danvers who is the co-convenor of the Learning, Teaching and Assessment Network. For more details about the network and its activities, please click here.


Academic freedom gives university faculty space to pursue research and develop modes of thought without state interference. Yet it also comes with obligations to engage with institutional and external protections, governance, and legislation - such that these freedoms have limits. It is a policy that is geographically specific, deeply politicised and entangled with other discourses around hate-speech, ‘anti-woke’ and student satisfaction. Nor is academic freedom experienced equally, with marginalised colleagues, students and knowledges having contextualised and limited ‘freedoms’. In the UK, this has received increased attention due to the UK Government’s Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Act 2023 which requires take steps to ensure lawful freedom of speech on campus. This network event focuses specifically on the current and future impacts for learning and teaching. We will look at how academic freedom might impact pedagogic practice globally, the impacts on teachers and learners, the relationship to ‘inclusion’ and international classrooms as sites of knowledge production.


10.30 – 11.00

Registration, Tea & Coffee

11.00 – 11.15

SRHE welcome and housekeeping

Introductions & overview of the session by Dr Emily Danvers

11.15 – 11.35

Professor Mary Evans: Meanings of Academic Freedom: Constraint, Coercion and Contest in Contemporary UK Universities

11.40 – 12.00

Professor David Ruebain: Academic Freedom, Freedom of Speech and Inclusion, the Trials and Tribulations of Belief

12.05 – 12.25

Professor Liviu Matei: The Shape of Teaching; Newly Emerging Frameworks of Reference for Academic Freedom

12.30 – 13.30


13.30 – 13.50

Professor Liz Jackson: Academic Freedom: A View from Hong Kong

13.55 – 14.15

Professor Anatoly Oleksiyenko: Teaching Academic Freedom in a Managerial University    

14.15 – 14.25


14.25 – 14.45

Dr Laila Kadiwal: Unpacking Academic Freedom Amidst Global Coloniality: Implications for Research, Pedagogy and Inclusion

14.50 – 15.40

Plenary Discussion

15.40 – 15.45

Questions, Closing Comments & Future Event

Speaker bios

Emily Danvers is Senior Lecturer in Higher Education at the University of Sussex and Co-Convenes the SRHE Learning, Teaching and Assessment Network, along with Professor Namrata Rao from Liverpool Hope University and Professor Alex Owen from Ulster University. Emily is chairing the event and has also researched related areas of critical thinking, the delegitimization of student voice and pedagogic exclusion. This has included an SRHE funded project on the impacts of the UK Prevent Duty on the teaching and learning of critical thinking within the social sciences.

Mary Evans is Emeritus Leverhulme Professor in Gender Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has worked in higher education for over 40 years, examining how gender informs and structures the social world. Through this she has written widely on aspects of gender, literature, feminism, and higher education studies. Her most recent work (with Sarah Moore and Hazel Johnstone) is a study of detective fiction (Detecting the Modern). Alongside this she has blogged and spoken about critical thinking, academic freedom, and the role of the neoliberal university.

Liz Jackson is Professor and Assistant Dean Research in the Faculty of Education at the University of Hong Kong. She is also President of the Comparative Education Society of Hong Kong, a Fellow and Past President of the Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia, and the Former Director of the Comparative Education Research Centre. Jackson publishes widely in philosophy and global studies of education. Her recent books include Contesting Education and Identity in Hong Kong (2021), Beyond Virtue: The Politics of Educating Emotions (2020), and Questioning Allegiance: Resituating Civic Education (2019). 

Laila Kadiwal, a British Indian critical feminist known for her pioneering work in decolonial pedagogies, serves as a Lecturer at the UCL Institute of Education. With extensive experience spanning over 20 years across India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Dubai, and the UK, she intricately intertwines anti-colonial, anti-racist, and anti-caste perspectives in her teaching and research methodologies. Her research delves into critical feminist discourse, resistance against authoritarianism, education fostering critical consciousness, and the decolonisation of educational paradigms amidst conflict. Noteworthy initiatives led by Dr. Kadiwal include the innovative Theatre of the Privileged movement and the participatory "india & me: engage. reflect. act." Decolonial Cafe, which centers on promoting intersectional justice in education. Additionally, she actively advocates for academic freedom in India and holds a role as co-director at Best Foot Music, a Brighton-based non-profit organisation collaborating with musicians displaced by wars.

Liviu Matei is a Professor of higher education and public policy, and head of the School of Education, Communication and Society at King's College London. He served as Provost of Central European University playing a key role in coordinating this university's efforts to preserve academic freedom and institutional integrity in face of attacks by the Hungarian government of Viktor Orban. Liviu conducted research and applied policy projects on academic freedom and related matters in several countries and regions of the world. He published extensively on such matters. He founded the Global Observatory on Academic Freedom. He established the European Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Social Science and Humanities, and the Global Teaching Fellowships Programme. 

Anatoly Oleksiyenko is Professor of International Higher Education and Co-Director of the Centre for Higher Education Leadership and Policy Studies at the Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK). His research primarily centers on the impacts of globalization in higher education and the changing nature of universities in the 21st century. He has contributed to advancing concepts of agency in international higher education and the ethical considerations in leadership within managerial university systems. Anatoly earned his PhD from the University of Toronto.

David Ruebain is Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Culture, Equality and Inclusion at the University of Sussex.. He has strategic responsibility for all aspects of Culture, Equality and Inclusion at the University, including dignity and respect.  David is Professor of Culture, Diversity and Inclusion in the School of Law, Politics and Sociology. He is also the University’s Free Speech Officer, providing strategic oversight of academic freedom and freedom of speech within the life and operation of the University.  David has published widely and taught nationally and internationally on education, disability and equality law and practice.


July 3rd, 2024 from 11:00 AM to  3:45 PM
Society House, Regents Wharf
8 All Saints Street
London, N1 9RL
United Kingdom
Event Fee(s)
Event Fee(s)
Member Price £0.00
Guest Price £75.00
Resource 1 Liviu_Matei.pdf
Resource 2 Liz_Jackson.pdf
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