ECER 2014: The past, present and future of educational research in Europe

Ana Sofia Ribeiro dos Santos (Bielefeld Center for Education and Capability Research)

Ana Sofia Ribeiro dos Santos
(Bielefeld Center for Education and Capability Research)

This review is written by Ana Sofia Ribeiro dos Santos. She is a graduate of the Hedda Master programme, and currently undertaking her PhD dissertation research at the Bielefeld Center for Education and Capability Research and Instituto de Ciências Sociais at the University of Lisboa. Her research is undertaken as a part of EduWel, a Marie Curie Initial Training Network funded by the EU. Her dissertation is titled: Mapping vulnerability through a capabilities approach: a biographical study of first generation students in Portuguese Higher Education. 

The European Conference of Educational Researchers (ECER) is easily the largest conference on education in Europe, both by the high number of participants and its comprehensive approach of the educational field. The Conference is an initiative of the European Educational Research Association (EERA), and its 2014 edition gathered in Oporto around 2500 participants, and I was among them. Although the ECER is not a specialised higher education conference, one of its largest networks is the higher education one, and for that reason the ECER has become a relevant meeting point for the field.

This year’s conference theme was “The past, present and future of educational research in Europe”, a self reflexive call for the need to evaluate the field’s evolution and its challenges, that range from budget cuts to interdisciplinarity demands. The theme also celebrated the 20th anniversary of EERA, and to this effect a specific event was held at Casa da Música, where Prof. Lejf Moos, from Aarhus University, delivered the Presidency of the Association to Prof.Theo Wubbles, from the University of Utrecht.

For those who never been to the ECER, I will explain its organisation. The Conference is divided in 2 sections: the Emerging Researchers conference, where PhD candidates present their on-going research projects, and the Main Conference, where the 31 research networks have their presentations, what generally means that there are over 20 parallel sessions from which to choose from! The variety of the sessions in one of the strongest points of the conference, since there are tracks about vocational training, pedagogies, history of education, assessment, ICT in education, you name it. Having said that, researchers interested in higher education can not only follow its track of expertise, but also take a look at other areas and topics that may match their own research. From my own experience, network sessions from Sociology of Education and Policy Studies and Politics of Education were very inspiring, namely a symposium about Early School Leaving in Europe, whose discussant was Roger Dale, from the University of Bristol. This year, the Higher Education Network (Network 22) presented 121 papers, 9 posters, 8 symposia and 1 workshop. The contributions were divided into 5 topics

SRHE pre-conference seminar at ECER about European higher education

srheECER 2014 will be held at University of Porto in coming September. As a pre-conference event, SRHE is holding a one day seminar themed “European higher education – exploring effective strategies for turbulent times”. The event takes place Monday 01 September 13.30-18.30.

The organizers state the aim of the seminar to:

  • bring together colleagues from various European countries to discuss how higher education can cope with turbulent times and how to move forward.
  • bring insights into and examples from various European countries on current developments in higher education.
  • provide a meeting point for emerging researchers to discuss current issues and network with established researchers in the field of higher education.

The event includes a keynote speech by Professor Rosemary Deem (Royal Holloway, University of London, UK) and four parallel sessions:

Call for Papers: ECER 2014

eeraecerportoThe ECER conference is organised by EERA, the European Educational Research Association that is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2014. ECER 2014 will be quite appropriately titled: “The Past, the Present and Future of Educational Research in Europe“.

The conference will take place at the University of Porto in Portugal from 1 – 5 September 2014. In the European context, the conference is rather large, with usually around 2500 participants.

The conference is a combination of keynote speakers and paper sessions.

In 2014, the five keynote speakers include:

  • Madeleine Arnot, University of Cambridge
  • Gert Biesta, University of Luxembourg
  • Marilyn Cochran-Smith, Lynch School of Education, Boston College
  • António Nóvoa, Institute of Education of the University of Lisbon
  • Agnès van Zanten, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)

Proposals for contributions need to be directed to one of the EERA networks and can be handed in as Paper, Poster, Round Table, Workshop or Symposium. PhD students are invited to submit to the Emerging Researchers Conference. Some of the questions relevant to be addressed include: