"Living and Learning in Diverse Communities"

13-15 June 2019 - Pécs, Hungary

In the last conferences of 2017 and 2018 at the University of Lower Silesia in Wrocław and the Dante Institute in Opatija, central themes were the tensions across Europe and elsewhere caused by a rise of populisms and the tasks and challenges confronting the research community in response to the global targets for adult learning set by the UN 2030 Agenda. In sum, both sets of themes had to do with the changing contexts in which adult learners and communities now find themselves, and with the alternating pulls and pushes of neo-liberal or backward-looking conservative governments and the increasing demands for empowerment and self-development contained in international policy documents. A situation that requires new answers, new research practices and that asks us to look at new phenomena developing in the local and global.

The 2019 Network Conference, the 11th of the Network since 2006 in Faro, which is hosted and organised by the Institute of Human Development and Cultural Studies at the University of Pécs and the House of Civic Communities in Pécs - Hungary, will pick up the discussion where it was left off in Opatija and will address the broad question of ‘Living and Learning in Diverse Communities’, communities confronted by the chances implicit in the growth in importance of Lifelong Learning policies and the enhanced possibilities of adult learning which the local implementation of widened access to learning delivers, while at the same time communities - in Europe and beyond – are involved in conflicts around scarce learning resources and about ‘entitlement’. Peaceful co-learning and co-development are questioned or threatened by chauvinism while cultures of openness to others are branded as naïve, impracticable or downright harmful.

This Network returns always to the centrality of the notion of ‘living together’ as a challenge to the tensions innate to the global-local experience. The concept of living and learning together in peace shapes and engenders the work of researchers active in varying forms of participatory research into adult learning and the learning lives of and in communities around our continent and beyond. ‘Living and learning together’ can give sense to what happens in people’s lives, in their communities, their work, families, and in the social initiatives and movements they are part of. Living together and learning together predicates and privileges the practice of dialogue, of reflexivity, and solidarity. If we accept that diverse communities include within themselves all the diversity of the people living in them, then in this sense it can be affirmed that communities are places to learn in, places both of shelter and of conflict and debate, where ‘living together in diversity’ is debated, fought for and defended.

Papers are invited on any of the following themes:

  • Adult learning and cultural diversity
  • Methodolgies to research and act in diverse communities
  • The policies of diversity and adult learning
  • Building diverse communities
  • Diversity in Intergenerational Learning