Internationally, as the twenty-first century unfolds, there is a burgeoning literature that documents the changing nature of academic work and workplaces. One recurring theme in this literature is the extent to which academic freedom and autonomy are being threatened in higher education settings. In this article, the nature of this ominous threat and what might be done about it are interrogated using praxis as a conceptual lens. On one meaning of praxis, we consider the actions of academics as individuals aiming for 'right conduct'; on a second meaning, we consider praxis as collective 'history-making action'. An analysis of the existing practices of researchers in two international settings revealed particular kinds of practice architectures ' collective research practices ' that have revitalised and sustained the working lives of these academics. The notion of collective praxis is suggested as a model of intellectual engagement for building communicative connections. It provides a strategic way forward both to enable academic freedom and autonomy and to benefit the institutions in which academics work.