Conference Programme 22-24 June 2016


Panel 1: Andrea Waxenegger – University Lifelong Learning in Europe and its social dimension – notes from practice
Panel 2: Tomasz Szkudlatek – Life-Long Learning and Knowledge Politics
Panel 3: Adrianna Nizińska, Antonion Fragoso – Knowledge triangles stakeholders



Registration form_conferences EDUPRO


Higher Education (HE) functions and mission have been constantly changing over the last decades. The idea that HE serves mainly to train graduates, either to learn a profession, either to serve the labour market and the economic systems interests is widely recognised as reductive. A considerable number of researchers have been arguing, for example, that HE should respond to and answer the human and social challenges emerging daily at higher education institutions (HEI). On the other hand, the severe financial constraints experienced by many HE European systems today, makes it difficult to pursue humanistic purposes. There has also been a move towards neo-liberalism and a human resources vision of HE that imposes “quality” as a major concern of management bodies. Two of the components of this so-called HE system’s quality – efficacy and efficiency – are often privileged in mainstream discourses. But De Ketele (2008) underlines that efficacy and efficiency are useless if they are not socially relevant. We, therefore, need to add to these two aspects of quality a third component as a major banner of our institutions: equality.

Equality as a central component of HE raises issues of institutional responsibility, especially in relation to the promotion of social and human development. For example, in 1998 the World Conference on Higher Education (WCHE), organised by UNESCO, raised a series of questions directed to European universities. The Declaration of this event clearly stated that HEIs should make human and social development an integral part of its regular activity (Corbett, 2008). Higher education, therefore, seems today to be a space characterised by different trends, approaches and paradigms. This includes a more diverse student population. In this dynamically constructed learning space there is much to discuss. Lifelong learning is a part of the ongoing debates within higher education. What is our understanding of the role of lifelong learning in HE? Can lifelong learning contribute to a more human, social sensitive higher education system, in which universities assume equality as a key focus?

In recent years widening access and lifelong learning policies have enabled ‘non-traditional’ students to enter HE. The various forms of recognition of prior learning (or similar concepts and corresponding practices) are, in a number of European countries, an important part of lifelong learning in HE. These practices can be very different from country to country and contribute to either making access to HE more accessible or providing non-traditional students with new possibilities for valuing their experiences and professional knowledge. We are therefore also interested in a deeper understanding of the role of RPL within this framework of lifelong learning in HE.

 The conference will address the following themes:

  • The role of higher education in developing lifelong learning and challenging inequalities
  • Institutional support and structures to support non-traditional adult students
  • The potential, challenges and practices of RPL in widening access and lifelong learning in HE
  • The learning experiences of non-traditional adult students in higher education
  • The impact of class, gender, ethnicity and disability on learning in HE


Corbett, A. (2008). The role of higher education for human and social development in Europe. In GUNI (ed.), Higher Education in the World 3. Higher Education: New Challenges and Emerging Roles for Human and Social Development (pp. 240-252). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

De Ketele, J-M (2008). The social relevance of higher education. In GUNI (ed.), Higher Education in the World 3. Higher Education: New Challenges and Emerging Roles for Human and Social Development (pp. 55-61). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Keynote speakers:

Dr. Andrea Waxenegger Director of the Center for Continuing Education at the University of Graz, President of EUCEN-European University Continuing Education Network (2010-2015)

Prof. dr hab. Tomasz Szkudlarek is professor in the humanities, employed at the Institute of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Gdańsk. He chairs the Department of Philosophy of Education and Cultural Studies and is director of the Doctoral Studies in Education and Political Science. He also collaborates (part-time) with the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk where he teaches social theory in the doctoral programme. 


Proposals should be no more than 500 words in English and connected to the conference themes.

Please submit abstracts in two separate files: one including the title, the name, address, e-mail of each author; and the second one including the paper title and abstract.

The abstract, the paper and its presentation should be in English. However, efforts will be made to provide translation during the conference.

Important dates:

Conference dates: 22th (Wednesday), 23th (Thursday) and 24th (Friday) of June 2016.

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 31th March 2016 (

Acceptance of abstracts will be confirmed: 15th April 2016

Deadline for registration and payment of the conference fee: 15th May 2016

Final papers should be submitted: 15th June 2016

Conferences Fees (Included: 4 coffee breakes, 2 lunches, welcome reception, conference materials)

200,00 PLN/50,00 EUR

100, 00 PLN / 25,00 EUR – PhD student

Conferences diner (23/06/2016)

120 PLN / 30 EUR

Scientific and organizing committees:

Sandra Valadas, University of Algarve

Antonio Fragoso, University of Algarve

Joca do Arco, University of Algarve

Barbara Merrill, University of Warwick

Scott Revers, University of Warwick

Will Curtis, University of Warwick

Maria Mendel, University of Gdańsk

Ryta Suska, University of Gdańsk

Marcin Zieliński, University of Gdańsk

Anna Bilon, University of Lower Silesia

Adrianna Nizińska, University of Lower Silesia

Ewa Kurantowicz, University of Lower Silesia