Future thinking: imaginative expectations for the leaky university


  • Gina Wall University of the Highlands and Islands




distributed, university, studio learning, distance, pedagogy


This paper makes particular reference to the University of the Highlands and Islands and asks: Does the geographical distribution of the university offer us new ways of thinking ‘university’? The relation between power/knowledge and university structures is explored, as is the notion that university can be thought of as action rather than institution, and the significance of the porous or leaky university which plays out with institutional space is also considered. These ideas are investigated through reference to innovative developments in education from the 1980s to the present. The key projects to which the paper refers are the state institution of the Collège International de Philosophie in France (1984), the self-institution of the Copenhagen Free University in Denmark (2001–2007), and the current European multi-institutional Academy project. These projects provide a series of formulations of university through which the distributed institution is critically examined. Of central importance is the emergence of the notion of the transversity, a mode of thinking, and practising, university as translocational, interstitial and discursive. Drawing on experiences of distance delivery of studio based education in fine art, the impact of the distributed university on learning is explored. Further lines of enquiry are suggested which will aim, in future work, to take cognisance of the technological imaginary which may be at play. This will also lead to future research into the question: How do we mobilise the radically leaky university in order to enmesh knowledge and life in the Highlands and Islands?

Author Biography

Gina Wall, University of the Highlands and Islands

Dr. Gina Wall

Curriculum Leader: Moray School of Art

Gina Wall is a practising photographer with an interest in photography, writing and difference. Her current research is concerned with landscape photography and spectrality, interdisciplinary practice and the pedagogy of studio learning. Her teaching responsibilities include Photography, Theory and Practice, Research Methods, Honours Dissertation and PhD supervision. Gina is involved in a number of research networks and acts as Convenor for Between Places, a Visual Art Research group led by the University of the Highlands and Islands. In addition, she is responsible for curriculum management at Moray School of Art, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands which is Scotland’s youngest university.


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