What does civic mean? It’s a difficult question to answer! Civic means many different things to different people. The Civic University Project has taken the time to compile some examples of civic action in contexts outside of UEA. Why not have a look through what we’ve found and see if you can think of any ways in which which what these groups have done could be applied to UEA?

A man is climbing UEA's climbing wall, left leg hoisted onto a stone with arm reaching out to grab for support.
The Civic University Debate event held by UEA at the Kings Centre, Norwich on Saturday 27th November 2021. The Lord Mayor of Norwich was in attendance.

UN Development Project in Guinea Bissau

For many years, international development organisations and civil society actors in Guinea-Bissau have struggled to coordinate actions in their efforts to support local communities and strengthen social cohesion. The United Nations Development Programme established the Na Nô Mon platform in Guinea-Bissau as a shared resource to help international and local development actors identify unmet needs across the country. 

Read more here:


Social Science Centre Lincoln

The Social Science Centre, is a worker-student cooperative providing free public higher education in Lincoln. It was established in 2010-2011 by a cooperative of academics formally withdrawing from the university as an institution. The staff maintained a role inside the University of Lincoln and established an alternative form of higher education by keeping on with their socially necessary labour in order to engage in other forms of life enhancing work around the community and globally.

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Professor Catherine Rowett explains in her 2022 talk at UEA, how Socrates is significant for the civic component of higher education. Socrates as a historical figure presents a perfect example of how civic education can impact the local politics and social morals. Socrates was a philosopher between 469 to 399 BC.

Thames Futures

The ‘Thames Futures’ project empowered communities in East-London to be given a say in how their community was regenerated in 2019. The initiative formed a partnership between The Young Foundation, who established The Open University, and property developers Barking Riverside London (BRL).

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The unMonastery + Matera 2013

The unMonastery is a social ‘clinic’ for the future. It is a place-based social innovation aimed at addressing the interlinked needs of empty space, unemployment and depleting social services by embedding committed, skilled individuals within communities that could benefit from their presence. The first unMonastery opened its doors in Matera, Italy in 2014 and hosted prototype community projects like unTransit, a real-time city transport system app.

Read more here: http://unmonastery.org/

UNDP Accelerator Labs

The United Nations Development Programme, UNDP for short, was established in 1965 and places emphasis on developing local capacity towards long-term self-sufficiency and prosperity. It is tasked with helping countries eliminate poverty organising to achieve sustainable economic growth and human development.

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Autonomous University Barcelona (UAB)

The UAB is a public university. The UAB campus offers an interdisciplinary framework which includes teaching, research, technological platforms, knowledge transfer, creation of businesses and university life all in one same space. The singularity of this campus favours the presence of renowned academic fields and the internationalisation of lecturers and students. The UAB believes in a common university project shared by all, where people are at the centre, and transparency and dialogue are at the core of any decision-making process. The UAB promotes an education model in which academic spaces are conceived as transformation areas and promoters of individuals holding the reins of their future.

Read more here: https://www.uab.cat/web/universitat-autonoma-de-barcelona-1345467954774.html

Mondragon Cooperative University (MCU)

The MCU is a further example of civic focus within higher education institutions. It is a cooperative university, founded in 1997. It comprises four educational cooperatives. The cooperatives establish general university policies, strategic alignment and institutional representation and solidarity mechanisms. Each university Faculty is built upon a shared project with common cooperative principles such as the priority of democracy and solidarity.

Read more here:


LANKI Institute of Cooperative Research

LANKI is the Institute of Cooperative Studies of Mondragon University, housed in the Faculty of Humanities and Education. Its mission is to investigate, shape, and have an impact on the development of the socio-educational aspect of cooperativism and the social economy. Cooperativism is the social movement that defines the cooperation of its members in the economic and social range as a means to ensure that its members, integrated in voluntary associations called cooperatives, obtain a greater benefit for the satisfaction of their needs.

Read more here: https://lanki.mondragon.edu/en/home

Sunflower Student Movement

The sunflower Student movement was a protest movement that happened in Taiwan in 2014. It was driven by a coalition of students and civic activist groups. Professors and industry experts also acted through the movement by issuing joint statements and holding panel discussions to show their discontent on the Cross-strait Service Trade Agreement. This was a trade treaty between China and Taiwan. During and after the movement, many student and youth activists formed various associations and organisations, which contributed to the revival of Taiwanese civil society.

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The Hong Kong Umbrella Movement

The Umbrella Movement, or the Occupy Movement, was a political movement that emerged during the Hong Kong democracy protest in 2014, demanding a more transparent election. This is a movement that was initiated by students and professors, and they took a predominant role in this movement.

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