Blog

Transnational gender equality work
Transnational gender equality work
Peter Bjelskou, University of Southern Denmark

As we endeavour to promote gender equality in nine European academic institutions, the SPEAR project partners must establish a firm foundation of mutual understanding.  We accomplish this by developing clear lines of effective communication across institutional, cultural, and national boundaries, and among very different political and historical contexts. This collaboration entails more than merely transnational dynamics:  within larger national cultures, multiple versions and subvarieties exist. Furthermore, we are all individuals with professional and personal identities and idiosyncrasies - we may be separate from certain aspects of our national mainstream cultures, and deeply entrenched in other parts of them. There are many aspects to consider in this organic process between peers, to ensure that we are in synch.

The critical friends approach
The critical friends approach
Sarah Beranek and Florian Holzinger, Joanneum Research

Critical friends often play important roles in our life by challenging and supporting us. The same can be said about their role in evaluations. In the SPEAR project, we made a deliberate decision for this special kind of evaluation approach in order to challenge, support and empower our partner organisations on their way of becoming more gender inclusive organisations. With this approach, we do not set the focus on judging and ranking the organisations depending on their progress, but on the identification of strengths and opportunities as well as highlighting room for improvement from an external perspective and providing assistance when needed.

Why are Communities Central to SPEAR?
Why are Communities Central to SPEAR?
Eva Sophia Myers, University of Southern Denmark

Structured reflection together with peers facing the same issues offers one of the most efficient ways to build skills, expand practical, strategic and political capacity to empower actors within organizations to address complex and systems-wide problems without clear boundaries, definitions, actors or even clear objectives. In other words, joint, structured reflection – on what worked and what could be improved, how intentions are met, how to engage people who can make a positive impact – makes us better at adequately responding, maneuvering, and designing intelligent (re)solutions in countering complex issues. Collectively sharing our problem definitions as well as potential resolutions may become key to our change efforts.

Getting started with Communities of Learning and Communities of Practice at next SPEAR meeting in March
Getting started with Communities of Learning and Communities of Practice at next SPEAR meeting in March
Christine Steffens, RWTH Aachen University
Our journey towards getting on the road with our project has begun. During the next meeting at SDU from 12th until 14th of March, our first workshops for our Communities of Learning and the first sessions of our Communities of Practice will take place. Together they build the interdependent groundwork for SPEAR. The interdependency of those two communities provides us with the opportunity to share upcoming questions, obstacles and observations and to react to them directly and in the best possible way.
So let’s look further into what these two concepts mean for our project.