City Conversation


University of Southampton 23 October 2009


The event was brought together by Building Futures with the University of Southampton to use Growing By Degrees as the mechanism for a futures workshop, testing the scenarios and encouraging greater creative thinking in how HE ambitions might be harnessed for greater city wide benefit.

The half day event used a number of methodologies to encourage discussion around key future drivers. Dedicated presentations and insight from a range of bodies including the RIBA, the Institute of Education, the OECD, Southampton City Council, the University of Southampton and Southampton Solent University and the gave attendees an opportunity to develop and submit ideas through debate. Speakers were chosen in light of their expert contribution to the 2009 publication, their dedicated work in the sector and/or their strategically important role in the Southampton area.

Attendees were carefully selected to encompass a range of senior level enablers and service providers from the Southampton area with effort made to ensure an ensure an even mix of academic, civic and business leaders- in order that the conversation is a joint venture between ‘town’ and ‘gown’ as pe the publication’s aims.


  • Where is Southampton heading? Is there a shared sense of direction?
  • What are the specific challenges facing Southampton that need to be addressed?
  • Do you collaborate enough?
  • Do any of the scenarios resonate with you or apply to Southampton?
  • By 2029 what do you want Southampton to be known for?

Programme & Audio

Welcome and Introduction
Dickon Robinson Chair RIBA Building Futures
Outline to the work of Building Futures and its programme, the motivation behind the publication and the aims of the seminar.

Publication Overview
Dr Eeva Berglund Anthropologist, consultant and editor of Growing by Degrees.
Introduction to key themes, future scenarios, provocations and emerging narratives in HE over the next 20 years and beyond.

Dr Paul Temple Senior lecturer in higher education management, Institute of Education, University of London.
‘The International Market.’
What if universities and other institutions carry on pretty much as they are? In-depth comment and analysis of the trans-national experience and its impact on UK University cities.

Alastair Blyth Policy Analyst, Centre for Effective Learning Environments (CELE), OECD.
‘Regional Behemoths.’
What if in 2029 a breed of super-universities has been created through mergers? In depth comment and analysis of new forms of structure in all purpose education providers.

In Response
Prof. Adam Wheeler
Deputy Vice Chancellor- University of Southampton
Dr Keith Johnson
Pro Vice Chancellor- Southampton Solent University
Tim Levenson
Head of City Development & Economy- Southampton City Council

Full audio of the event and discussion is available upon request


For more information on Growing By Degrees contact

Growing by degrees