The book I co-edited with Jakob Tonda Dirksen and David Kretz has finally been published. First conceived after 1st LESC conference in Luneburg in 2016, the idea was to highlight student voices in debate on liberal arts education in Europe. The project was ambitious, as it aimed to achieve the quality similar to peer-reviewed academic publications without too narrow a focus that normally scares off most of the potential audience. Academic articles coming out from LESC have by the way been published in a special issue of a renowned journal Educational Philosophy and Theory. In the book, we were looking for original, short contributions discussing how students experienced their education, how do they reflect on it today, and what thoughts do they have on the state of liberal arts in Europe. To the best on my knowledge, no similar publication exists, certainly in Europe.
Closing a year-long project, I am particularly glad we maintained our focus on diverse, yet carefully expressed perspectives from across the continent. To keep the book accessible, we chose to self-publish (and clearly learned a lot in the process), and put the pdf online (over 500 downloads in the first week). European Liberal Arts Initiative, which I co-founded with Tim Hoff, is hosting the online version of the book. We have also made 1000 paper copies, courtesy of our sponsor colleges, that would be distributed to liberal arts programs in Europe and few interested parties elsewhere – while a small contingent would remain available to buy for a symbolic unit price. The book has been officially launched during BLASTER concluding event again in Luneburg on September 28, where a student panel was convened to discuss similar topics [notes available here].
Since the book is done, academic articles and blog posts are written, I am getting close to the time I would solely focus on (finally) writing my dissertation. But before that, in early November, I would host a panel during a conference “The Purpose of the Future University” (with Teun Dekker and Tim Hoff), focused the state, limitations and relevance of liberal education for Europe – that we intend to stream. And just after that, I would speak during History of Education Society anniversary conference in Winchester, where I would say a word or two about “Artes Liberales Association”, an Eastern European predecessor for more contemporary liberal arts initiatives that was active between 1996 and 2001. An article based on revised first chapter of my PhD would be proposed to “Theory and Method in Higher Education Research” series.
After years of promising myself to streamline things I work on, I think I might finally be getting there.