When you think of academia, perhaps visions of ivory columns, stuffy, monotone-voiced professors and dimly-lit libraries with bad air circulation come to mind. That’s definitely not the case at Malmö University. Having only been in existence for 20 years, the University doesn’t have all that tired institutional baggage. The buildings are smack-bang in the city and even have artsy, shape-shifting window installations. Students run the uni’s social media account, and even the actual traditions are not that traditional. Take, for example, the academic ceremony, where newly appointed professors get awarded rings made from repurposed firearms.
2. Acting like a grown-up
A couple of years ago in Sweden, Malmö University was not-so-affectionately dubbed Malmö lekskola, or ‘Malmö play school’ – a reference to the supposedly lax teaching approach and ‘soft’ subjects the University is known for. Well, the rumours are true. Playing, experimentation and creativity are vital parts of learning, and Malmö University believes that subjects like language, design and communication are just as important as number crunching and lab work. There is even a seminar series entirely dedicated to smells. So, sorry snobs, but what kind of world would it be without poetry and art to express ourselves, or a focus on the environment when thinking about innovation? Or without a critical look at media and how it shapes society? Sign us up to the play school any day.
3. Sticking to one thing
If there’s one thing the University is really bad at, it’s making clear-cut choices. For example, would you rather go to an in-depth academic talk on artificial intelligence, or have a chill night out with friends at your local bar? Well, why not both? Malmö University’s ‘Knowledge Bar’ takes research out of the labs and lecture halls an into one of the city’s most lively bars, inviting everyone to crack open a cold one and learn about some of society’s most pressing issues.
4. Regular study
If you think studying is about sitting on plastic chairs trying not to fall asleep in front of yet another Power Point lecture, think again. At Malmö University, students are enthusiastically encouraged to engage with their surroundings and the community, whether that means live streamed, interactive seminars with classmates across the globe, getting support to create their own start-ups, or figuring out how to make Malmö a more sustainable city by ‘co-designing’ with locals.
Okay, this is something the University is genuinely awful at: making robots. Evidenced annually at Hebocon – a competition organised by the Internet of Things and People research centre, where robots fight each other for fame and glory. The competition is open for all, especially amateurs and the technically ungifted, which makes for some, uh, interesting, stand-offs. Prototyping and design meet complete ineptitude in this glorious, true-to-form celebration of creativity, failure and fun!
This article was produced and sponsored by Malmö University.