Online Summer Academy 2022: Questions & Answers


About the Summer Academy

What is the Online Summer Academy for Pluralist Economics?

The Summer Academy for Pluralist Economics is an event by and for people who think that economics has more to offer than what is taught in most courses. The Summer Academy is an opportunity for interested students to engage with heterodox economics. The goal is to spark a debate about if and how these approaches can complement, challenge, or shift the economic mainstream.

The Summer Academy has taken place annually since 2017. The first three Summer Academies were held in Neudietendorf, Germany. In 2020 and 2021, the Summer Academy was held online.

11 workshops dedicated to different economic approaches are at the core of the Summer Academy. In these workshops, small groups of around 10 students come together three times a day throughout a week to learn about one specific school of thought or an economic issue and work on a group project. The workshops are facilitated by experts in their respective fields.

The evening program is the Summer Academy's second pillar. Panel discussions and lectures invite the participants to engage with their fellow participants and topics beyond their workshops.

Additionally, there are open spaces and networking opportunities throughout the week. That way, the participants can engage with each other, and share and exchange perspectives regarding the Summer Academy's theme, their workshops, their view on economics and the economy.

Find an overview of previous Summer Academies here .

Who is behind the event?

The Summer Academy is organized by the Netzwerk Plurale Ökonomik e.V. (Network for Pluralist Economics) in cooperation with several partners.

Over the last years, the Network for Pluralism in Economics has become a dynamic student movement with substantial impact on debates surrounding the current state and future of economics as a discipline in academia. It is a member of the International Student Initiative for Pluralism in Economics (ISIPE) which unites more than 100 student initiatives from over 40 countries worldwide.

The Evangelische Akademie Thüringen is an educational institution of the Protestant Church of Central Germany, which contributes to public debates around democracy, freedom, and justice by organizing conferences, workshops, and other events. Its aim is to create a forum for exchange between people from different backgrounds and beliefs on the fundamental issues of humanity, religion, and the world.

To make this event possible, we cooperate with partners like the Evangelische Akademie Thüringen (Protestant Academy of Thuringia), Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Institut für Makroökonomie und Konjunkturforschung (IMK, Macroeconomic Policy Institute) in Düsseldorf, Germany and Young Scholars Initiative (YSI), to run this project. Our partners support the academic and organizational setup of the Summer Academy and/or contribute financially.

The planning is in the hands of an organizing team consisting of volunteers who participated in earlier renditions of the Summer Academy.

Meet 2022's organizing team here.

 

About this year's edition

What is the theme in 2022?

In 2022, the theme is "Better Economics for a Better Future."

This title reflects the basic idea that economic paradigms shape societies and policies. Economic thinking paves the way towards our common future, and therefore needs to be critically discussed. The theme is an invitation to challenge economic orthodoxy and to engage with heterodox approaches. Is it possible to update mainstream economics to address today's challenges? Are there heterodox approaches which may be more suitable for understanding and explaining economic relationships and for guiding societal development? What kind of economics would enable us to build a more social and just future which is based on environment and life as transversal principles?

We are certain that in these times of unprecedented crises facing the world, having fundamental economic debates is not a luxury, but a pressing necessity in order to ensure we have the tools to engineer a better future. The pandemic did not disrupt a healthy, well-functioning global economic system. On the contrary, the majority of the world’s population has been feeling the consequences of the present’s multiple crises long before the Covid-19 pandemic appeared. The ecological crisis, unequal North-South relationships, the crisis of representation and growing economic inequalities, social polarization and discrimination, as well as an increase in forced migration. The pandemic has also surely exacerbated global inequality – especially regarding access to health, access to education, unemployment, inflation, distribution of resources (access to vaccines is one of the most recent additions to the list), and much more. These and more manifestations of today’s crises call for new responses that should be based on pluralist alternatives challenging economic orthodoxy.

Many students find their curricula lacking in this regard. The answers to current challenges that they are offered in their courses do not satisfy them. In fact, the vast majority of recent graduates from economics faculties have been unable to understand crises like the Covid-19 pandemic or the response of policy makers to tackle such crises. Thus, students are currently faced in class with mathematical models, built on often unrealistic assumptions, which do nothing to help them understand the reality in which the economy is anchored. Students miss radical, critical, and global perspectives that are sensitive to power and domination, are more humane, learn from the past and are open to the possibility of a crisis – to be able to better prepare for it. We aim to provide students with the learning experience to think about the neoclassical paradigm’s role in handling different crises in the past and present, to consider what heterodox approaches could contribute, and to reflect on the part the study of economics can and should play in societal and economic transformations.

What are the workshops about?

The workshops can be thought of as the core of the online Summer Academy. Their overall goal is to complement the neoclassical mainstream of economic thinking by additional and alternative perspectives. Each workshop will be dedicated to a specific school of thought or economic issue.

There will be fifteen workshop sessions of 90 minutes each that combine phases of interactive lecturing, collaborative teamwork, and periods of individual work. Each workshop group of around ten participants will be guided by one or several facilitators. The workshop groups will work together in producing a common output which will be made publicly available on the e-learning website www.exploring-economics.org. The groups' outputs may be used as a reference by future Summer Academy participants and as an e-learning resource by students and teachers all over the world.

For more information on this year’s workshop topics, click here.

What about the evening program?

We are preparing intriguing panels and lectures that are of interest to all participants and the public. We will be joined by speakers who are experts on and passionate about the questions at hand. They will share their views with us and are looking forward to discussing with the Summer Academy's participants. The lectures and panel discussions will be made publicly available so that participants from all time zones can benefit from them.

Here you can find out more about the evening program.

How is a one-week online event even possible?

The Summer Academy aims to provide high-quality teaching as well as opportunities for participants to get to know each other, to discuss, and to exchange ideas. The workshops are interactive with an emphasis on collaborative learning. The evening program will offer food for thought beyond the workshops and everyone is invited to shape the Summer Academy by participating in and taking responsibility for one of the open spaces.

Which platforms and tools will be used?

We will use Google Workspace which allows us to chat, have video conferences, as well as to edit, store, and share documents.

 

Application & Participation

When and where will the event take place?

The Summer Academy 2022 will take place from July 29 to August 5. The Summer Academy will be held online. You can find the schedule here.

How can I apply?

The application will be open from May 9th until June 12th. We explicitly invite people from all over the world and from all disciplines to apply, provided they are eager to spend one week diving into heterodox economics and are able to converse in English.

To apply, you need to fill out our application form, write a motivational statement (max. 400 words), and prepare a CV (max. two pages).

More information on the application process can be found here.

What technical equipment do I need to participate?

We will provide access to a video conferencing software and an online collaboration platform.

In addition, you will need a stable internet connection throughout the week as well as a device you can use for video conferences (computer or tablet with webcam and headset). This will make it easier for participants to connect with each other which is an important part of the Summer Academy.

If the requirement to have a stable internet connection is a challenge for participants, we will provide them with data packages.

Is there a participation fee?

Yes, we ask participants for a small financial contribution. However, we want to make sure that this cost does not exclude anyone from participating.

  • The regular participation contribution is 20 €.
  • Whoever is able to is asked to consider paying 40 . Solidarity contributions help others participate.
  • If it is difficult for a participant to pay the regular contribution, we will be able to find an individual solution.

We are thankful for our funders and partners who cover most of our expenses and allow us to keep participation fees low.

 

Donate

This project is brought to you by the Network for Pluralist Economics (Netzwerk Plurale Ökonomik e.V.).  It is committed to diversity and independence and is dependent on donations from people like you. Regular or one-off donations would be greatly appreciated.

 

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