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

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.

Palacký Summer Law School: Human Rights Policy Legal Clinic

From 24 July to 4 August 2023, the Palacký University Faculty of Law organizes the Human Rights Policy Clinic within a 2-week-long Summer Law School. This Summer Law School will allow you to experience the Human Rights Policy Legal Clinic, which normally takes a whole semester, condensed in two weeks intensive schedule.

Program Description

A Legal clinic is a special form of legal education, combining theory and practice, designed to teach not only knowledge, but also develop skills and instill values, and promote social justice. Legal clinics exist in many forms. One of them is a Policy Legal Clinic, where students do not help individual clients, but rather focus on existing legal problem from a policy perspective, usually by analysis of legal regulation and its practical application, identifying problems and deficiencies, and suggesting general measures, such as changes to legal regulation or other policy-oriented activities, to address the problem.

The Summer Law School will allow the participants to develop:

  1. knowledge in the area of international, European and comparative human rights law (proportionality, horizontal effect, tension between universalism and particularism, equality, positive and negative obligations) and specific rights (human dignity, freedom of speech, socio-economic rights, environmental rights),
  2. develop wide range of analytical, creative, problem-solving, legal writing and critical thinking skills, increase their sensitivity to human rights issues in general, but specifically in cross-cultural context, and
  3. understand the importance of human rights monitoring, policing and advocacy.

During the two weeks of the Summer Law School, participants will engage in interactive sessions with human rights experts from various fields and backgrounds (attorneys, judges, human rights activists), developing their knowledge and relevant skills, which they will use over the course of the whole summer school when working in teams on analytical human rights policy projects, starting from defining and structuring the analyzed problem, researching and discussing it, presenting to others and writing and receiving feedback to their policy paper.

Students will be able to get enrolled in a formalized course at Palacký University, granting them ECTS credits.

Date and Location 

Dates of the academic program: 24 July to 4 August 2023

Venue: Palacký University in Olomouc, Faculty of Law – 17. listopadu 8, Olomouc, Czech Republic


Full fee: 490 EUR (includes academic program and catering during the academic program – 2 coffee breaks and lunch each day)

Aurora Alliance students can participate in the academic program free of charge. They may pay an optional fee of 180 EUR in order to be provided with catering during the academic program (2 coffee breaks and lunch each day). If not, there are numerous opportunities in walking distance from the summer school venue for coffee, snacks, and meals.

Participants are responsible for arranging their own travel and accommodation.

This summer school offers 16 places for Aurora Alliance students and 24 places for students from other universities.

Registration is done by email, contacting Radana Kuncova (radana.kuncova@upol.cz).


To register or for more information, please contact Radana Kuncova (radana.kuncova@upol.cz)

Summer Law School – Flyer

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.

Aurora Summer School at UDE – The Enkelfähig Economy: Sustainable Transformation of Business Models

Our partners at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany are organizing a Summer School on the The Enkelfähig Economy: Sustainable Transformation of Business Models. This summer school will take place between 19.06.2023 and 07.07.2023.

The summer school looks at the ways companies can be made more sustainable, by looking at the following factors: 

  • Impact Measurement
  • Business Model Analysis
  • Business Model Optimization

For more detailed info, take a look at these files: 

Flyer – The Enkelfähig Economy: Sustainable Transformation of Business Models 

Description of The Enkelfähig Economy Summer School

To apply, send an email aurora-register@uni-due.de with the following info:

  • Full Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Place of Birth
  • Email Address
  • Proof of Study at UP

Registration will be open until 15.04.2023. This course is open to all master’s students, and you can earn 5 ECTS upon completion.

You are eligible to receive funding for your participation in this summer school, covering your travel and accommodation. More information on the funding opportunities is found here. 


Creative Writing Workshop in Olomouc

This creative writing workshop builds on the world-renowned expertise of the University of East Anglia’s Creative Writing Department that launched the careers of many celebrated authors such as Kazuo Ishiguro. Hosted by the Department of English and American Studies of Palacký University Olomouc, the workshop will give you the opportunity to develop your creative writing skills in the charming baroque city of Olomouc.

This five-day creative writing residency, organized between 22 and 26 May, 2023, is open to interested applicants from all Aurora Universities.The program will focus on developing your creative writing skills in English through a series of workshops and collaborative excercises together with other students from across Europe. In the evening, a social program will be organized, and on Friday the 26th you will have the opportunity to participate in the Aurora Student Conference in Olomouc, where you can meet even more students from Aurora Universities. A more detailed program will be announced soon  

Applying is simple! If you are interested to participate, send an email to Niels Hexspoor (niels.hexspoor@upol.cz) . 4 ECTS credits can be earned upon successful completion of the program. The deadline for registration is March 19, 2023! 

Funding opportunities might be available for you! For more information contact your local Aurora office.

If you have any questions about the Creative Writing Workshop, or how to reach your local Aurora contact person, please contact Niels Hexspoor (niels.hexspoor@upol.cz) 

Virtual Lecture Series and Early Career Networking Hour

The Societal Challenges Lecture Series is aimed at early career researchers with a two-fold objective: delivering cutting-edge academic analysis on the diverse problems of our times, and providing international networking opportunities for doctoral researchers and postdocs. The lecture series aims at providing an antidote to impulsive disaster talk through perceptive academic analysis.

Outstanding researchers within the Aurora European University Alliance will give engaging online lectures during the academic year 2023 within two of the Aurora priority domains:

  • Digital Society & Global Citizenship
  • Health & Wellbeing

Delivered online via Zoom, each event begins with a 30-45 minute lecture by an outstanding researcher. You can register for individual dates or the entire series. Following the talk, you will have the opportunity to discuss the lecture, formulate questions for the speaker, and network in breakout rooms for 20 minutes. Finally, the audience and speaker reconvene for a well-prepared, stimulating Q&A.

Take the opportunity to meet your peers as well as renowned researchers from the Aurora partner universities. Expand your network and maybe even start new collaborations in your research area!
Participation will be certified upon request.

Find out more information about the program and registration here.

Full Guest Lecture Program 

January 2023:

24 January 2023, 14:00–15:30 CET – Science Fundamentalism

25 January 2023, 14:00–15:30 CET – Immuno-psychiatry: towards precision medicine

February 2023:

01 February 2023, 14:00–15:30 CET – Diet in the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases: PREDIMED STUDIES

09 February 2023, 14:00–15:30 CET – To feed or not to feed – How tumor cells adapt to their nutrient environment

March 2023

07 March 2023 14:00–15:30 CET – Complex systems approaches to social sciences illustrated with an analysis of judicial decisions

09 March 2023, 14:00–15:30 CET – Mendelian disorders of the Epigenetic Machinery: discovery to possible treatments

23 March 2023, 14:00–15:30 CET – Preparing the Next Generation to Fulfil SDGs: Teaching for Social Innovation

30 March 2023, 14:00–15:30 CET – Illegal content on digital platforms – a legal perspective

April 2023

13 April 2023, 14:00–15:30 CET – Ecosystem Health: From single cells to solar system scale

27 April 2023, 14:00–15:30 CET – Cloud Culture: Cinema, Digital Modernity and the Archive