2024 - Webinar Series

Social Imaginaries of the Future: The making and unmaking of certainty in education.

To warm up to the 2024 ECER conference in Nicosia, Cyprus, the Sociologies of Education is organizing a webinar series linked to the theme of the conference and the network’s call, Social Imaginaries of the Future: The making and unmaking of certainty in education.


The future of education is a favourite topic for speculation. While some highlight the importance of continuity and are therefore easily categorised as conservatives, others argue for radical change under the mantle of progress and progressivism.  Nowadays it is particularly common to have high hopes about technology which, according to some, will make it possible to tailor education increasingly to the learning needs of individual students, so that they will acquire useful knowledge and skills that will equip them for an unknown and rapidly changing future. In addition to the fact that education always takes place in the present, which makes too much attention to the future sound as a distraction, I will make the case that the common view about where education should go is actually a step backwards rather than a move forwards. In this context I will explore three rather old and perhaps old-fashioned ideas – the school, the teacher and the question of authority – and will argue for the importance of taking these more seriously than where many people see and would like education to go.

Gert Biesta (www.gertbiesta.com) is Professor of Educational Theory and Pedagogy at the Moray House School of Education and Sport, University of Edinburgh, UK, and Professor of Public Education at Maynooth University, Ireland. He is a member of the Education Council of the Netherlands, the advisory body of the Dutch government and parliament, co-editor of the Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education and associate editor of Educational Theory. His most recent monography, World-Centred Education: A View for the Present, was published in 2021 by Routledge.

Thursday, 11 April: Beyond Hope and Despair: The Radical Imagination as a Collective Practice for Uprising

Second Webinar: Thursday, April 11th 2024 2PM-3:30 PM CET

Dr. Elke Van dermijnsbrugge (NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences): Beyond Hope and Despair: The Radical Imagination as a Collective Practice for Uprising
Discussant: Prof. Dr. Felicitas Macgilchrist (Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg)

In this session, we actively engage in alternative world-making through the exploration of Education for Uprising. We investigate the concepts of hope, despair and the radical imagination, driven by the following questions:

Can we exist beyond the binaries of hope and despair, two key concepts that drive educational practices? And if so, what does this place look like?

What is the radical imagination and what are the conditions for it to be put to work in educational spaces?

First, education is explored as a hyperobject that is owned, imagined and practiced collectively. The semiotic square is introduced as a heuristic tool to illustrate the limitations of the binary opposition between hope and despair, and allows for an exploration of what is possible when these binaries are being set aside. The radical imagination then, is described as a collective practice that is radical in the sense that alternative social forms can always be imagined once we acknowledge that every social form is the result of the collective imagination. Finally, we explore conceptual as well as practical ideas and examples that underpin Education for Uprising which is understood as the emergence of micro-political, autonomous spaces of direct action where community, solidarity and self-organization are key principles.

Thur, 14 March: A Critical Look in the Educational Aims and Imperatives in the Future-proof Era.

First Webinar: Thursday, March 14th 2024. 2PM-3:15PM CET.

The guest speaker of the first webinar is Professor Kristiina Brunila (University of Helsinki) who will talk about the findings of the global FuturEd research initiative.

"A Critical Look in the Educational Aims and Imperatives in the Future-proof Era"

This presentation draws on insights from a four-year inquiry within the global FuturEd research initiative. It explores the shift in education governance towards individualised and personalised learning strategies, aimed at both meeting future requirements and effectively managing the present. The focus of my presentation is to present key insights that stress the imperative of shaping specific types of future-oriented learning individuals. Influenced by economic trends, the expansion of global stakeholder networks, and advancement in the life and behavioral sciences, these shifts are reshaping the objectives, content, and methods of education in significant ways. Through an examination of current and emerging trends in education governance, my argument proposes a new conceptual tool: precision education governance. This tool enables us to make these significant changes visible and allows for critical engagement when necessary.

The webinar will take place at Thursday, March 14th 2024. 2PM-3:15PM CET.

Please register to the webinar here and you will receive the link for the webinar a few days in advance: https://forms.gle/oGYZTrLSc5oGhY5D6

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Interview with Link Convenor 2019