For the past 20 years, Dr Linda Hargreaves, Reader Emerita in Classroom Learning and Pedagogy, Cambridge University Faculty of Education, and Rune Kvalsund, Professor of Education, Faculty of Social Science and History, Volda University College, have devoted themselves to starting, developing and consolidating NW14, a network of scholars in Europe committed to rural schools, communities, families and those populations out of the mainstream. As founders of NW14, they have both been involved in the network as lead convenors, co-convenors, reviewers and presenters in all the conferences (with the exception of just one each) since 1995 and 1996, respectively.
Their contributions to NW14 have been essential all these years for the development and consolidation of the network. They have worked tirelessly to engage researchers from diverse countries and backgrounds making NW14 a multidisciplinary group of scholars. In particular, we would like to highlight their deep commitment to involving and collaborating with colleagues from different geographical areas in order to have a more dynamic and vibrant NW14, one that could reach more people (which, as it turned out, happened). They have engaged colleagues in the network from all the European spectrum (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, and UK).
Their work has been crucial to increasing the number of papers NW14 has received over the years as well as the outputs obtained in terms of publications and joint projects with other colleagues within the NW14, and they continue in these efforts to this day.
Building capacity within the NW14 is another crucial aspect for which Linda and Rune have always worked. They have been extremely supportive of the young scholars and emerging researchers, such as Dr Joana Lucio and Dr Rocío García-Carrión, who owe an important part of their learning and achievements in academia to them both. As young scholars, both have been always supported by Linda and Rune to take the responsibility of being Link Convenor counting always on their help for the betterment of the NW14.
Linda and Rune have given such an invaluable contribution to the NW14 along with their outstanding scientific careers - NW14 has benefitted enormously from having them with such great commitment for 20 years. Their contributions have been significant in their countries and relevant for many educational researchers in Europe. Linda Hargreaves is one of the leading scholars in the study of classroom interaction, groupwork, transfer, educational provision in rural schools and teacher status, using classroom observation where appropriate. Rune Kvalsund has led the longitudinal and cross-sectional research in rural schools and their communities in Norway, focusing on different arenas of informal social learning in schools and children’s home environment. He has also done research on life course transitions of young persons with special educational needs and traced consequences of schooling into their adult life. Both have had their research published in highly respected international journals and their contributions to the research on rural schools have been internationally recognised in several publications and have been essential in advancing knowledge in the field.
Linda and Rune’s contributions have made Network 14 open for voices outside the main-stream of educational policy and research, not the least by arguing for improvements in the quality of research design, for example, through comparative and longitudinal studies, and how basic theoretical choices influence the planning, process, meaning and ethics of research in rural schools and communities. This cross-disciplinary network of researchers has been supporting research themes with schools and communities ‘outside the mainstream’ of education systems over a period of 20 years. The activity of Network 14 has gradually extended internationally.