(Un)Conference 2021

Theme: Sivela phi? Siphi? Siya phi? – Being resilient, responsive and relevant in a shifting Higher Education context

HELTASA (Un)Conference 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has foregrounded the need for HELTASA to be responsive to the changing higher education context. The 2021 HELTASA (Un)Conference focuses on being resilient, responsive and relevant in a shifting Higher Education (HE) context by exploring professional and student learning, curriculum and academic development and decoloniality.

We will be running five half-day sessions for the 2021 HELTASA (Un)Conference, to reflect on the important lessons we have learnt about teaching and learning during this pandemic. Covid-19 underscored the need for us to be proactive and prompt when responding in a changing higher education context.

Themes & Sub Themes

Sivela phi? Siphi? Siya phi? – Being resilient, responsive and relevant in a shifting Higher Education (HE) context

Subtheme: Shape-shifting: past experiences, current realities and future possibilities

In our move to be Responsive, Resilient and Relevant, HELTASA has acknowledged feedback from conference participants, which highlighted disabled spaces for open discussion and dialogue on research, critical issues and prevalent challenges related to scholarly work.

Sivela phi?
Past experiences of deeply entrenched social inequities and inequalities concerning learning and teaching access and success within the HE sector set up by the colonial and apartheid regime continue to exist post-1994, into a democratic South Africa. The #FeesMustFall student protests and the unprecedented challenges of the enduring COVID-19 pandemic continue to raise awareness of the importance of including and representing diverse voices across the academic spectrum.

The current reality of HE in South Africa, is that existing approaches and enactments in academia may no longer be wholly relevant. As a higher education community, we must reflect on our resilience, capacity and capabilities to fulfil our directive in a changing and uncertain learning and teaching context. These concerns call for us to re-imagine transformative curricula and socially just pedagogies that are relevant and responsive to current and future learning spaces.

Siya phi?
In re-thinking and re-imagining the traditional conference, HELTASA is shape-shifting towards an (un)conference: a participant-driven opportunity for intellectual engagement and expression whilst maintaining academic rigour. The (un)conference includes a blended approach of the traditional conference and unconventional interactions. These methodologies aim to create an open space to share, critically reflect, be creative and develop innovative approaches to learning and teaching through collaboration, scholarly conversations and research.

Call for Proposals

We invite conference participants to join us as we collaboratively embark on this journey of being change agents in learning and teaching institutionally, nationally and globally in times of increasing uncertainty. We encourage participants to submit proposals exploring the (un)conference themes “Sivela phi? Siphi? Siya phi? Being resilient, responsive and relevant in a shifting HE context” and “Shape-shifting: past experiences, current realities and future possibilities” in one of the following scholarly areas:

  • Student learning
  • Professional learning
  • Curriculum development
  • Academic development
  • Decoloniality

Submission of proposal should include:

  1. Title
  2. Scholarly Area: (1) student learning, (2) professional development, (3) curriculum development, (4) academic development, and/or (5) decoloniality
  3. Format: Oral paper, poster presentation, provocation, open space methodology, artistic demonstration
  4. Proposal (500 words + Question/s)

The HELTASA (un)Conference provides participants with the opportunity to share their thoughts and engage with each other. To learn more about the submission formats download the below document.

Significant Dates

  • Call for proposal submissions open: 31 July 2021
  • Dates of registration: 31 July to 30 October 2021
  • Closing date for submissions: 30 September 2021

  • HELTASA conference: 6 to 10 December 2021