Looking back at the inspiring Aurora Creative Writing Workshop

From the 22nd to the 26th of May 2023, Palacký University Olomouc and the University of East Anglia joined hands to host the Aurora Creative Writing Workshop.

 In a testament to the power of collaboration, the Department of English and American Studies of Palacký University Olomouc, and the esteemed School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing of the University of East Anglia partnered to deliver an exceptional Creative Writing Workshop. This event embodied the spirit of international cooperation, fostering a vibrant exchange of ideas and nurturing budding writers.

Workshop participants representing the University of Iceland, the University of Duisburg-Essen, and Palacky University

Classroom with students participating in the workshop

During the workshop, participants embarked on a creative journey, delving into various writing genres and refining their craft. Guided by their instructors Andrea Holland and Logan Scott, this immersive experience kindled participants’ imaginations, allowing them to push the boundaries of their creativity and hone their writing skills.

The workshop’s true essence lay in the invaluable opportunity for writers to engage with peers from diverse cultural backgrounds. Participants represented 5 different Aurora Universities and hailed from various countries across the globe. The workshop program comprised an array of dynamic sessions, including writing exercises, and workshops. The Aurora Creative Writing Workshop connected to the Aurora Student Conference, allowing for even greater connectivety among Aurora Students. 

Throughout the week, participants explored the richness of cross-cultural perspectives, fostering a sense of global awareness and understanding. The week culminated in an inspiring public reading, during which the participants presented the work they produced during the week. 

Beyond honing their writing abilities, the workshop fostered connections that extended beyond the workshop’s timeframe. Through collaborative workshops, peer feedback, and social events, participants formed meaningful relationships with fellow Aurora students, laying the foundation for future collaborations and mutual support in their creative journeys. 

As we reflect on the Creative Writing Workshop held between the 22nd and 26th of May 2023, organized by Palacký University Olomouc and the University of East Anglia, we celebrate the transformative experiences, cross-cultural connections, and enduring friendships that were forged during this remarkable event. A detailed breakdown of the event can be found below. 

Report – Aurora Creative Writing Workshop & Aurora Student Conference

Aurora Three Minute Thesis – Livestream on 08/06 at 15:00 CEST

On the 8th of June (15:00-18:00, CEST) doctoral researchers from the Aurora Universities  compete against each other in the The Three Minute Thesis competition, as part of PHD Impact. The competition, organized at the University of Iceland, will be livestreamed via Zoom. Join online to follow the 30 participants or to support your colleagues and friends.

Aurora Three Minute Thesis – Flyer

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition developed by the University of Queensland (Australia). Doctoral researchers have three minutes to give a persuasive speech about their thesis and its significance. The idea is to improve researchers’ academic, presentation and research communication skills required to effectively explain a research topic in three minutes and in language suitable for a non-expert audience.

The competition boasts a wide range of 30 talented doctoral researchers, from a variety of different dicsicplines, fields and backgrounds. Join online to learn more about their research and see which of the selected doctoral researchers will win. More information on the Aurora Three Minute Thesis competition, including a full overview of the participants, can be found here.

If you want to join the life stream, please register here.


Aurora Fall Biannual at Palacky University Olomouc

Join us at the Palacký University Olomouc on October 17th and 18th for the highly anticipated Aurora Fall Biannual 2023 in Olomouc, Czechia.

More information on the biannual can be found here.

Experience a retrospective of Aurora’s remarkable accomplishments and delve into the exciting prospects that lie ahead. Engage in thought-provoking high-level panel discussions on the future of European Higher Education and connect with colleagues from across Aurora and much more.

Don’t miss this opportunity to be a part of something truly extraordinary. Register now to claim your spot at the Aurora Fall Biannual 2023.

Pre-register Now!

Connect with us on social media using #AuroraBiannualUP

Presentation of Aurora best practices at EARMA Conference Prague 2023

At the 2023 EARMA Conference in Prague, Aurora’s Marie Jadrnícková from Palacký University Olomouc, and Ignasi Salvadó-Estivill on behalf of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, in Tarragona, presented and led a discussion on how Aurora developed tools to support research and innovation, such as the research infractructure map and the SDG Dashboard.

Their session focussed on concrete best practices and tools to increase collaboration in international projects, as well as the barriers and obstacles when developing and implementing these tools. These tools can help researchers and research support staff to raise the number of joint Aurora university proposals. They also explored how being a part of a University Alliance can substantially increase R&I collaborations and how a common research strategy within the alliance can attract more EU funding.

Among the best practices shared were Aurora’s successfully implemented joint projects such as VERSA (Video gamEs foR Skills training) and MSCA – Doctoral Network joint proposals, as well as organised Info Days and thematic workshops. By meeting regularly, Aurora’s working group of EU Research Managers created an integrated and high-trust platform where expertise and knowledge are pooled. The long-term ambition is to install an Aurora pre-award office to prepare and monitor joint applications for EU funding.

Both Marie and Ignasi are part of the EARMA Thematic Group on European University Alliances, which presented a poster how Research managers and administrators can contribute to the further development of EUAs.








Round table Aurora at EARMA Conference 2023

UP and Aurora moving forward with the European University initiative

Palacký University Olomouc is happy to announce that the Aurora Alliance submitted its new proposal under the European Universities Erasmus + Call, for the intensification of prior deep institutional cooperation aiming at the systemic change of European Higher Education.

By setting innovative and diverse models of long-term institutionalized cooperation between higher education institutions across Europe, the European Universities initiative supports higher education institutions to achieve greater quality, performance, attractiveness and international competitiveness. It also promotes European values and a strengthen European identity.

In the next programme phase, from 2024-2028, the Aurora Alliance will be led by the University of Iceland and will welcome the University of Paris-Est Creteil as a full member, replacing the University of East Anglia, who will continue as an associate partner.  

The new bid will extend Aurora’s commitment to positively impact society through its main priorities: teaching and learning for societal impact, engaging and collaborating through inclusive communities, being pioneers in sustainable endeavours, and providing excellent challenge-based research and innovation support.

Together, the 9 Aurora partners will continue to deliver on the joint mission and vision of equipping students with social entrepreneurial skills and mindsets, building on the results achieved in the first phase.

The activities of the new proposal were written over the course of the last six months in a close collaboration with of the experts in the field from across 9 universities, the Institutional Coordinators and the Aurora Central Office in Amsterdam. It has three main objectives:

  1. Equip students and staff with the skills and mindset to become social innovators, changemakers and entrepreneurs;
  2. Foster academic collaboration and community building to establish a long-term Aurora identity; and
  3. Collaborate with external stakeholders and deepen student’s engagement in education, research and outreach.

Mirjam van Praag, President of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, said:

So far, it has been a pleasure to lead the alliance through the start-up phase of the first bid with various initiatives for Aurora staff and students that we really can be proud of. I am very confident in continuing our collaboration with the University of Iceland as the lead.”

Jón Atli Benediktsson, President of the University of Iceland and newly re-elected President of the Aurora, expressed how pleased he was:

“After seeing the hard work and dedication of the staff and students at our universities, I am confident that the Aurora collaboration will grow and create more opportunities for our students, faculty, and the greater community”.

From 2020-2023, Aurora has been part of the 44 European University Alliances co-funded under the Erasmus+ programme led by VU Amsterdam. The current call, for both new and the continuation of existing alliances, attracted a total of 65 proposals, gathering around 500 higher education institutions as full partners. More information can be found here.

Summer School Remote Ethnography – a methodological tool-kit

This summer school is divided into two parts. The first part will take place online as a preparatory meeting on Friday 14 July 2023. The second will be held at Palacky University Olomouc 31 July – 4 August 2023.  It connects introductions to Open Source Research, remote sensing, interviewing, oral history, source criticism and decolonial theory.  



This summer school is intended to provide students and junior researchers with a basic toolkit in remote ethnography. It aims to enable a type of research in places of limited accessibility that can provide many of the same holistic, in-depth and detailed insights that classical ethnography does. Many of the teachers invited will be specialised in Xinjiang, China or Central Asia. Therefore, many texts and examples will concern this part of the world. Still, participation is not limited to students or researchers interested in these geographical locations and aims to provide a methodological toolkit that can be employed globally.

As an increasing number of areas in the world are becoming inaccessible or ethically untenable to do on-the-ground fieldwork, anthropologists and other researchers interested in these regions turn to remote methods. Online data and data gathering are at the center of this necessary refocus. Yet, many other types of data and material can be as important in coming to terms with realities on grounds inaccessible. This summer school presents some of these and methods of accessing them. Also, recent trends in remote research focus on isolated analyses of a disparate set of data, while the approach taught in this summer school encourages researchers to combine and triangulate these data types with each other, to let the data talk to each other. The idea of remote ethnography is that ethnography is a holistic endeavour that entails a degree of immersion and acquisition of general cultural knowledge and competencies. This means creating an analytically and methodologically sound conversation between government tenders, diaspora interviews, witness accounts, satellite images, leaked speeches, popular culture productions, propaganda and lists of detained people while embedding all of this in the long-term cultural knowledge of the region and its history, political economy, narratives, logics and languages. 

The summer school  draws on previous remote research traditions, such as those established during WW2 and the Cold War, for inspiration and to craft an epistemological framework for analysing very different data. At the same time, it seeks to critically reflect on the role of the researcher and her potential contribution to colonial-type knowledge production. Critically debating the dangers of abuse for counter-insurgency and exploitation of the weak that our research may help open up are crucial parts of a developing ethics code which the workshop seeks to introduce and discuss.


In-person and Online:

The summer school is divided into two parts. The first part will take place online as a preparatory meeting on Friday 14 July 2023. The second will be held at Palacky University Olomouc 31 July – 4 August 2023

The online part will be a full day preparatory meeting including three two-hour sessions. The first session consists of a short round of introductions and short introductions into Remote Ethnography as a concept, the summer school and the methods taught in it. the second session entails somewhat more elaborate informal presentations of each participant’s work, material and interest going forward as well as some of the Remote Ethnographic work already being done or in planning by some of the convenors. The third session is devoted to preparatory readings for the workshop. The students receive a list and a number of PdF texts to prepare for the in-person summer school two weeks later.

The in-person part will cover five days. Each day has a dedicated focus-topic and one person from the organising team in charge. At the end of the summer school each student leaves with the design of a small remote ethnography related research study that they will pursue in the following two months.


Topics of focus:

The in-person part is divided into the following topics with (persons in charge; and suggested invited speakers) added in parentheses. 

0) Introduction and overview, history of remote research and sources to draw from (Rune Steenberg; Robbie Barnett, …)

1) Online ethnography, discourse analysis, video analysis… (David O’Brien; Hanna Burdorf, Gene Bunin, Hacer Gonul, Vanessa Frangville, …)

2) Interview techniques and oral history (Muqeddes Mijit; Rian Thum, …)

3) Remote sensing for dummies – satellite imagery, Google Map/Google Earth/Open Street Map, etc. (Martin Lavicka; Robbie Barnett, Björn Alpermann, Nathan Ruser, …)

4) Source criticism, fact checking, triangulation & decolonial theory (Vanessa Frangville; Philipp Lottholz, Deniz Yonucu, Madina Tlostanova…)

5) Bringing it all together in an holistic Remote Ethnography – and your own data and research (Rune Steenberg; …)

Topics 0) and 5) will not cover full days, nor probably will 3) and 4). 1) may span over more than one day.

The in-person part will be held hybrid with online participants allowed to join via BBB.


Interested? Please contact Martin Lavicka (martin.lavicka@upol.cz) by the end of May. 


For those who present full lectures at the workshop, we plan to record them and to put them up online as Youtube and Podcast episodes.

Call for Nominations – Aurora Fellowship at UDE

If you are interested in deepening your cooperation with your partners the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, sign up now for the Aurora Fellowship at UDE!

The Aurora Fellowship is a two-week programme that we were able to establish with the support of the Förderverein der Universität Duisburg-Essen (the University of Duisburg-Essen’s sponsorship association).

The aim of this programme is to invite internationally renowned researchers working within the Aurora European Universities Alliance to UDE, allowing them to engage in intensive exchange with our University’s researchers, doctoral candidates, postdocs and students. For UDE, it is particularly important to involve local communities and the wider region, which is why the Aurora fellow is to give a public lecture for interested members of the public.

The thematic focus of the fellowship is centred on the four pilot domains that UDE is committed to as a university together with the Aurora network:

▪ Sustainability and climate change
▪ Digital society and global citizenship
▪ Health and well-being
▪ Culture, diversity & identity

The focus is on a different one of the four pilot domains each semester. This was started off with ‘Culture, diversity & identity’ in the winter semester 2022/23. In the summer semester 2023, the focus will be on sustainability and climate change.

The programme: As part of this programme, the University of Duisburg-Essen invites nominations once per semester for a two-week Aurora Fellowship to the amount of €5000. All UDE members are eligible to submit nominations. Researchers from the nine associated Aurora universities can be nominated. Alongside accommodation and the reimbursement of travel expenses, candidates can receive prize money of €2500.

The Aurora Fellowship helps develop skills that enable active participation in shaping contemporary social, political, environmental, economic or healthcare change. A public lecture will also present and explain exciting findings from the most recent research on major contemporary challenges in a comprehensible way to interested members of the public. 

Candidates must be nominated by members of UDE, thus interested academics should get in touch with their contacts in Duisburg-Essen.

Announcement Aurora Fellowship – Pdf.

Presenting Aurora’s Capacity Development and Eastern Partnership at ACAs “What’s New in Brussels”. 

On the 2nd and 3rd of February, Selma Porobic was invited to ACA’s (Academic Cooperation Association) seminar “What’s new in Brussels? – Recent Developments in European Policies and Programmes”  to share Aurora’s pioneering work on Eastern Partnerships exemplified by its Capacity Development Support (CDS) programme with special focus on its institutional support to the V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University in Ukraine.  

In her session, “Working with Global Regions – Eastern Partnership“, Selma Porobic shared the results and best practices of Aurora’s unique CDS programme in Central & Eastern Europe, and how it was transformed into a tailor-made support scheme to address the needs of the war-affected Aurora associate partner, V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University. These activities set Aurora apart from other European University Alliances.  Since  March 2022, as Ukraine Support Coordinator in Aurora, and in a close collaboration with Karazin’s leadership, she has been fully managing the emergency response as well as designing and implementing the long-term, systemic and institutional support for this partner university in Ukraine, which include fundraising, relocating displaced academics and staff, and joint online education on peacebuilding. More detailed information can be found here.   

In this panel, Selma also introduced the continuation of this engagement in the next phase of the Aurora Alliance’s programme as part of the work package Capacity Building and Community Engagement. During the next four years, another fully dedicated task team, Karazin University Peace Education Hub, led by Palacký University Olomouc, plans to work towards further strengthening of the Karazin University’s capacity for education and training in conflict transformation, and peace building within the wider Kharkiv region.

After two consecutive years online due to COVID, ACAs flagship seminar “What’s new in Brussels?” was this year organized in-person in Brussels, providing a full overview of the latest developments in the European Higher Education Area, with a global perspective.  

The 2023 agenda offered a wide range of high-level panels and gathered various policy advisors, membership associations and European Commission representatives, such as Vanessa Debiais-Sainton, Head of the Higher Education Unit  at the  Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sports and Culture. The sessions addressed the latest trends in the European higher education and research and innovation including the European University Initiative’s policy developments and long-term funding, as well as other areas of European University Strategy like Diversity and Inclusion. Different approaches, opportunities and programmes for global partnerships were also introduced focusing regional collaborations within the Eastern Partnership, Western Balkans, Sub-Saharan Africa & South Mediterranean.

CALL – Aurora Staff Mobilities

It is our pleasure to announce our ongoing call for UP Aurora Staff Mobility, which will allow selected applicants a short staff mobility to any Aurora University (except associate partners). 

Due to the nearing end of the first funding cycle, all staff mobility travels need to be finished by 6/10/2023 so reimbursement and accounting procedures are finished until the end of October.

This scheme is open for all UP employees and can be used for a variety of different purposes, such as teaching, research, training or job shadowing. Due to popular demand, we can now also offer you the opportunity to cover your travel and accommodation for if you participate in a conference (not including conference fees), if combined with a visit to the relevant department to plan further cooperation. 

This call will be open on an ongoing basis, with applications being evaluated by the Aurora Staff Mobility Evaluation Committee (ASMEC) every first Monday of the month. The results of the evaluation will be communicated to the applicants within the same week.

Please keep in mind to submit your application at least two months before the start of your planned mobility.

N.B.:The ASMEC will not convene in the month of August and December, meaning that applications filed in July will be assessed September. Due to the nearing end of the first funding cycle, all staff mobility travels need to be finished by 6 October 2023. For more information on the conditions, selection criteria and the application sheet, please to a look at the documents below. 

If you wish to apply, or have any questions please contact Markéta Šemberová.


The application form can be found here:

Aurora Mobility Application Form

Additional documents can be found here: 

Aurora Staff Mobility Scheme – Terms 2023 – Final


Aurora representatives met in Amsterdam to discuss perspectives on collaboration

At the close of 2022, members of the European university alliance Aurora, of which Palacký University is a member, discussed further possibilities and prospects for cooperation in higher education. The two-day meeting was hosted by Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Palacký University was represented at the meeting by Rector Martin Procházka and Selma Porobić, Aurora’s institutional coordinator for UP.

The agenda of the meeting in the Netherlands included several meetings and discussions of representatives of the individual universities and alliance organs. Among other things, the General Council of Rectors discussed the possibilities of further funding of the Alliance and agreed on a proposal to be sent to the European Commission in January as part of the European Universities Call. If accepted, it should ensure the active participation of Palacký University and its partners in the ambitious European university alliances project in the years to come. “I believe that the European Commission will approve the submitted proposal, and thus we will be able to continue the existing cooperation as well as further develop these relationships so that our schools, and especially our students, can benefit from them,” said UP Rector Procházka.

UP Rector added that the active role of Palacký University, which joined Aurora in 2020, was acknowledged and resulted in success in the past year. At the spring meeting of universities in Innsbruck, Palacký University transformed its existing associate membership into full-fledged status and became a member of the global university consortium Aurora Network. This gives UP the opportunity to participate in decision-making and closer collaboration within this university network. The Aurora Network focuses on fulfilling Aurora’s global mission, which extends beyond the borders of Europe and the initiatives of European universities. It is primarily concerned with international aid and cooperation with non-European partners, especially in education and research. (You can find more details about this here.)

The possibilities of connecting the Aurora Network with the EU-funded Aurora Alliance and its application were then discussed separately by the Board of Rectors, Aurora’s top decision-making body, which consists of four selected rectors, including UP’s. “We have agreed that the Aurora Network has great added value as a platform for further cooperation between our universities in research and its evaluation, as well as for global outreach beyond the EU,” added Procházka.    

Text: Ivana Pustějovská