The ECER conference held in Copenhagen was in many respects a successful edition for Network 17: Histories of Education. The special call Educational reforms and historiographical change was prepared by the link convenors and circulated through EERA, as well as other networks of historians of education.
The presentations engaged with the ECER theme Reforming Education and the Imperative of Constant Change from the different perspectives of the history of education. The presentations were well focused, their scientific quality was high. In total 12 sessions, 3 panels and 2 symposia were organized containing 40 individual presentations. NW17 attracted an increasing number of proposals coming from different disciplines, e.g., architects and designers. The presentations were held by scholars from many countries outside of Europe, e.g., Canada, US and Australia. Sessions were gathered by experienced and young scholars, as well as doctoral students. The different focuses definitely contributed to the interdisciplinary and intercultural exchange of opinions during the sessions. On average approximately 20-30 scholars attended each session (some sessions attracted a smaller number of participants, especially parallel sessions). Very successful were two symposiums involving audiences not just in academic discussions but also in practices. As always, NW17 organized a social event that was highly appreciated by the participants.
As always, ECER was an excellent opportunity to discuss current issues in the field of the educational research. NW17 discussed such topics as racism, the arrival of refugees, the OECD’s work, citizenship education, and education under dictatorships from the various perspectives of history, e.g. gender and cultural background. Like previous years, the network’s participants were attracted by the potential of visual sources and materialities in the history of education, including school design. This trend opens new perspectives in terms of cooperation with specialists from seemingly different fields, like architects and designers. This year, the conference was especially open for scholars from different countries and continents who contributed to the discussion of research innovations.
Like every year, a special call was prepared by NW17 convenors. This call gave a clear perspective to ECER’s overall theme and invited participants to focus their papers on the impact of policy and research on educational and/or historiographical reforms and change – and vice versa. The special call resulted in well-focused presentations and discussions. The special ties with other networks were realized through participants who took part in different sessions of ECER, including those of NW17 and NW20.