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ESREA Network on the History of Adult Education and Training in Europe

Network description on French


ESREA Network on the History of Adult Education and Training in Europe


Françoise F. Laot


Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne

Cérep - IUT RCC - Bureau Z-07

Chemin des Rouliers, BP 1035

51687 REIMS Cedex 2, France



Kirsi Ahonen


University of Tampere, Finland

School of Social Sciences and Humanities



History and aims of the network

The network is continuing the work of the network Cross-cultural Influences in the History of European Adult Education, established in 1991. This network focused originally on the period 1880–1930 and on the educational activities within workers’ and women’s movements. By 2006, the network had organized seven research seminars and published several books founding on them.


In the research and practice of adult education, the significance of cross-cultural, transnational and comparative perspectives has become ever more obvious during the past years because of economic globalization and political transnationalization. It is also evident that the familiarity with adult education traditions basing on serious historical research is indispensable not only for the recognition of the field and identity of the practitioners of adult education but also, and mainly, for the discussion concerning the current state of adult education. This state is the outcome of complicated processes containing numerous initiatives, decisions, practices and actors in the context of different national, social and cultural milieus. Therefore, historical approach combined with cross-cultural and transnational perspectives reveals the diversity and richness of European adult education as well as the challenges it poses for the transnational communication and cooperation.


For these reasons, the remodeled network started at the end of 2008 with the aim of promoting discussion on cross-cultural, transnational and comparative issues in a wider time frame and within the context of different forms of adult education and training, including popular/liberal, vocational and academic adult education and staff development.

The network provides possibilities for communication between scholars representing different fields of research: education, history, sociology, information studies etc. and encourages the interplay with historical research and the research on the current state of adult education.



The network organizes seminars every second year.

Previous conferences and seminars*

Life Course and Learning in History: Cultural, Societal and Individual perspectives on Adult Education and Training in Europe

University of Turku, Finland, June 8-9 2009


Adult Education and Citizenship. Relations in Space and Time

Joint conference of the ESREA Network on Active Democratic Citizenship and Adult Learning and ESREA Network on the History of Adult Education and Training in Europe, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, June 16-18, 2011


Historical Approach Specificities in the Context of Adult Education Research

Round table session in the framework of the ESREA 7th European Research Conference in Berlin, 4-7 September 2013


Forthcoming events

Network seminar in 2015, location and topic will be announced later.



* Conferences and seminars organized by the network Cross-cultural Influences in the History of European Adult Education : Leiden (NL), July 1991; York (UK), September 1992; Strobl (AU), September 1993; Salamanca (ES), September 1994; Strobl (AU), September 1996; Frankfurt (DE), September 1997; Paris (F), June 2006.


Report from the conference held in Turku, June 2009.

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