Govinn researcher, Cori Wielenga, had the opportunity to present her work at the Building Bridges in a Complex World conference was very innovative in its approach and the way in which it was framed. It challenged mainstream academia both in terms of substance and process. As stated in their framing documents, academic events tend to stress certain hierarchies and power relations that turn academic discourse into ‘pretentious competitive performances’. Instead, this conference was set up to create safe spaces for genuine dialogue and the creative exploring of ideas together. A thread running through the conference was that the ‘neoliberal’ paradigm has affected both our teaching and research such that we have reduced these to products that need to be churned out and consumed. Conversations centred around how we can revive a research and teaching culture of inquiry and critical open-mindedness.