This paper outlines the risks and possibilities of university engagement and it considers its importance in terms of innovation in the ways of conducting academic research and teaching. In this sense it stands ‘on the side of the universities’. The author explores two specific areas in particular in order to investigate the issue. The first can be identified as lying around the question, what it is to inhabit or live. The second surrounds the question of what public is. To inhabit or live refers to that set of social practices (and therefore of interactions) which are both a means and opportunity for learning, precisely because they are considered together as a whole and not in relation to particular aspects of existence considered individually. The term ‘public’ implies that there is a possibility of processes of social construction of what is public being formed. The term public must therefore necessarily mean a process, with respect to which what one says happens, happens ‘in public’.
Keywords: Inhabit or live; public; university