This year’s conference in Cadiz 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. The Network established itself this year for 1 joint session, 2 workshops, 11 paper sessions. A total of 42 presentations were organized. This year the network continued the idea of a workshop ‘Session Zero’ which aimed to offer a window into both the network and those who worked within it for the week. The very well attended workshop was again organized by Tony Cotton and Helen Toft. 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.
The range and quality of the presentations of the network was by many viewed to be excellent and the diversity of perspectives offered throughout the sessions and 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 were: Developing a Curriculum for Intercultural Education, Mathematics Teacher Practices, Crossing Borders - International Collaborations, Music Education in an Intercultural Environment, Intercultural Issues in Foreign Language Teaching, Using New Technologies for Intercultural Education, Developing Teachers and Learners for Collaborative Teaching and Learning Environments, Developing Innovative Intercultural and Inclusive Learning Environments, Arts Based Educational Inquiry, The Impact of Migration on Learning, Developing Competencies for Inclusive and Intercultural Education and Cooperation, Educating Future Citizens in an Multicultural Society. Most of the papers reflected the theme of the conference 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 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 or very well attended. The business had to be moved to take place between session 11 and 12 since the last session the workshop had to be cancelled due to Tony Cotton being taken ill during the last days of the conference. The business meeting was attended by a few. The developing website was presented and it was decided to try to set up a discussion forum for three researchers who would like to start a discussion on one of the themes possibly taken up again next year in Istanbul. The sub themes are to be the same for the next conference in Istanbul: 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 conveners of this network are: John Willumsen (Link convenor), Tony Cotton, Manfred Bayer, Maria-Angels Subirats de Bayego and Raimonda Bruneviciute.