Annual Report 2010, Helsinki

Annual Report 2010, Helsinki

This year’s conference in Helsinki of the network Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments Network in the European Education Research was organized as paper sessions and network meetings. The Network promotes innovative strategies dealing with intercultural teaching and its learning environment. Key issues are cultural identity and diversity, multi-ethnic learning groups and communities, intercultural discourses and the role of intercultural education in promoting both the local identities of groups and a sense of common citizenship in Europe.

Sessions

The Network established itself this year for

  • 2 symposia,
  • 3 workshops,
  • 9  paper sessions,
  • 2 poster sessions
  • and two network meetings
  • presenting a total of 46 papers and two posters.


"Session 0"

This year the network introduced the idea of a ‘Session Zero’  which aimed to offer a window into both the network and those who worked within it for the week. The group  of contributors who engaged in this session suggested that this event seemed to create a sense of comradeship and shared endeavour which encouraged us all to make connections within and between each others papers and presentations. It also supported us all in feeling welcomed to the network and eased the nerves a little as we realised we were amongst friends for our own presentations.


Range and Quality of Presentations

The range and quality of the presentations of the network was by many viewed to be the highest experienced in many conferences and the diversity of perspectives offered throughout the sessions brought a sense of inter-disciplinarity to the network which we have rarely experienced at a conference. It was also encouraging that the discussions after the papers were not dominated by one or two voices but seemed to offer space for anyone who wanted to offer a contribution to do so in a supportive environment.

The thematic focus of the sessions was

  • Intercultural Education and Issues of Inclusion;
  • Innovative Research Methodology;
  • Cross Cultural Research and Intercultural learning;
  • Intercultural Education and learning environment in Higher Education;
  • Innovative Arts Based Educational Enquiry.

Most of the papers reflected the theme of the conference, "Education and cultural change" as well as the perspective of the network: To create new ways of working and new combinations of ideas and practices in intercultural education. Some of the sessions were drawing upon the projects and the way of working developed within earlier international seminars of the network. Maria Angels Subirats, Raimonda Bruniviciute, Tony Cotton and John Willumsen were chairing the sessions (and Dr. Ingrid  Gogolin and Gert Biesta and Simon Warren the Symposia) which were all initiating interesting discussions and also gave a variety of researchers a chance to present a lot of new ideas and approaches.

The number of people attending was varying but most sessions were well very well attended. The business meeting was only attended by a few and it was decided to change the format to something similar to the "sessions 0"  next year. Possible future actions might be a joint symposium with network 24 and 27 and perhaps contribute to summer school activities during the coming years.

The subthemes are to be the same for the next conference in Berlin:

  • Intercultural education and issues of Inclusion;
  • Innovative Research Methodology;
  • Cross Cultural Research and Intercultural learning;
  • Intercultural Education and learning environment in Higher Education;
  • Innovative Arts Based Educational Enquiry.

The website will be developed with facilities such as exchange forums for papers, presentations and links as well as a discussions board. It is possible to link to the ‘Future(s) of Education Project’. At the next conference the network title and description will be discussed again for possible future adjustments. The conveners of this network are: John Willumsen (Link convenor), Tony Cotton, Manfred Bayer, Maria-Angels Subirats de Bayego and Raimonda Bruneviciute.

Each network holds a Network Meeting during ECER and invites interested researchers to join. We have collected the network meeting minutes.
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