Network 23 had a very successful conference in Hamburg in 2019. We continue to attract large numbers of European education policy researchers, the majority of whom are now regular participants of ECER conferences in general and Network 23 events in particular, presenting their work year after year and strengthening with their contributions the presence of the critical social research traditions within the ECER conferences as a whole.
Evaluations of this year’s network programme were very positive, particularly as network sessions were all in close vicinity to each other and this gave a coherent feel to the programme. The network programme worked well, with papers in paper sessions sharing some commonality, and all linked clearly to the conference theme. Although we are a very large network, a number of participants are regular attendees at ECER and many focus largely on Network 23 activities. This helps the network work as a genuine academic community.
Sessions were very well attended, and provoked considerable discussion and debate. Fourteen symposia formed the backbone of the conference programme, on themes that included Doing Democracy: Research Perspectives on Risks and Responsibilities within a Marketised Education; Accountability Policies’ Enactments: Comparative Perspectives; and Priority Education Policies in Europe: Can Education Compensate for Society? However, we also had a high number of papers gathered into nearly forty themed sessions. These covered a diversity of policy concerns, and taken together, reflect the considerable range and depth of network members’ research and scholarly activities. Session chairs and participants reported a good standard of papers presented in the sessions they had attended. Many papers and symposia were thoughtfully and thoroughly prepared, and reported the findings of well-theorised studies.
We had a special call for papers for this year’s conference at the University of Hamburg, on the theme of ‘Collaborative Comparative Critical Policy Studies in Education’, which relates closely to the conference theme. It built on our Networking Seminar in University College, Copenhagen in August 2017, ‘Promoting Inclusive European Collaborative Education Policy Research’, which was generously supported by a grant from the EERA Council, and our Capacity Building Workshop with the same title in Free University, Bolzano in September 2018. We sought papers and symposia each addressing methodological challenges in collaborative and/or inclusive education policy research, collaborative and/or comparative education policy research, especially where this involves diversely constituted research teams, and research comparing diverse cultural and policy contexts and socio-economic conditions across Europe. The call attracted a number of individual paper and symposia submissions.
We continue to develop our relationship with Emerging Researchers Group.
Meanwhile, network convenor Anne Larson is responsible for the network’s mailing list on the EERA Network 23 website. Those interested in the work of the network can register for inclusion, to connect with the network between conferences and receive information related to critical education policy research. The network mailing list is for sharing information on conferences, books and other activities that might be of interest for network members. To join the mailing list, send a blank message to nw23-subscribe(at)lists.eera-ecer.de.
There remains an unequal distribution of conference participants, with relatively few from Southern and Eastern Europe. Despite this being our focus for three years, this is something on which we will have to continue working.