learning and engaging with colleagues' research:
"Education Politics between the transnational and re-nationalizing pressures"
Aalborg University's Center for Education Policy Research and Danish School of Education's (DPU) research programme 'Policy Futures' at Aarhus University shares the distinct feature of engaging with policy within education, and had in late September joined forces on a 2-day collaborative seminar. This seminar aimed at increasing cross-institutional collaboration and sharing of knowledge and trends within the field, and took place at DPU's location in Copenhagen. With another planned seminar in the spring in Aalborg, the two research groups expand horizons, achieve valuable insights into the work of colleagues, and receive appreciated feedback on ongoing projects.
The two research group leaders, Mette Buchardt and Katja Brøgger, gave brief introductions to their respective groups and set the scene for a lively and open debate. The seminar contained 18 presentations from individual or paired researchers within the two research groups lasting approximately ten minutes pr. presentation followed by a panel debate. The themes centered around themes such as "Transnational institutions and identity politics", "Repositioning educational responsibilities", "Breaking or (re-)making the (trans-)national?", "Pedagogy and reforms between national and universalist narratives", and "Data, numbers, and measurements". All themes had representation from both groups and lively debates ensued.
The seminar concluded with presentations from guest lectures Jana Bacevic (University of Cambridge) and Bob Lingard (University of Queensland) themed around "Education Politics between the transnational and re-nationalizing pressures" and was followed by a plenary discussion. Bob Lingard's presentation revolved around data infrastructure and it's implications for the distinction between public and private actors within education, and it's importance in governance. Using cases from the US and his home country of Australia, Lingard showed how privatization of infrastructure in schools can go by unnoticed - or be subjected to critical scrutiny by practitioners and parents. Jana Bacevic discussed the social life of neoliberalism, and how naming something as neoliberalism is a critique and how this relates to activism.
Below is a selection of pictures from the seminar.
Bob Lingard's presentation on the global education industry. The plenary discussion included debates on the legislation surrounding data infrastructure, and schools' autonomy in choosing to contract online learning services.
Jane Bacevic' presentation titled: "The social life of neoliberalism". The plenary discussion touched upon the separation of academia and activism, and researchers' positioning in the field they investigate.
Katja Brøgger presenting on an ongoing project regarding the EU's informal method of governing education. She opened up for discussion regarding civil legitimacy, democracy, for-profit actors in education and the historic importance of the Bologna-process.
Jin Hui Li presenting on transnational institutions and identity politics based on her work in transnational university institutions, based on the case of Denmark and People's Republic of China. The panel debate included discussion on the term 'transnational' and whether a binary understanding of national/transnational is suitable for the field today.
Miriam Madsen has investigated indicators for the work with graduate unemployment and how relevance is measured in her recently submitted Ph.D., with a focus on the humanities. She discussed the "fear of falling behind" and a focus on risks rather than competition in humanities students.
Above is a panel discussion "Breaking or (re-)making the (trans-)national?". Discussions centered around the national and international governing of the mind and body of the child, and the relation to the (inter)national focus on economic growth.
Annette Rasmussen elaborated on her work with 'talent classes' in secondary schools in Northern Jutland. This involved the translation and enactment of policy documents in practice, and led to discussions on the balance between divergent norms in Danish schools of community contrasted by a focus on individualization.
We thank our colleagues for an exciting and productive seminar, and we look forward to further collaboration!