Call for papers – Symposium on transitory learning spaces (ECER 2015)

Symposium on transitory learning spaces (revisiting space as virtual, in-between and dangerous?)

At ECER 2014 we held a roundtable on the study of children’s and youth’s educational spaces in network 17.
There was a general interest in exploring the notion of space further and in doing so together. One of the more concrete suggestions that came up was to arrange a symposium for ECER 2015 – and that it could be done in relation to the overall ECER conference theme 2015 (transition). This is primarily what this email is about:

For the ECER 2015 we would like to make a symposium framed by the notion of “transitory (learning) spaces”.
If your research already link to or you wish to explore it under the theme of transitory spaces let us know.
Send an abstract for the paper you would wish to give and we will see if we can make it come together in a symposium. We welcome researchers within the field of educational history but also researchers dealing with transitory spaces in a contemporary perspective and researchers from various disciplines within social science and humanities are welcome to join.

Transitory (learning) spaces could be understood in manifold ways. It could be understood as the possible unacknowledged spaces such as in-between spaces, temporary spaces, and informal spaces, examples within an institutional framework could be school corridors, school camps, and school yards and in non-institutional areas it could be urban settings or maybe virtual spaces.

Transitory spaces are also possible to comprehend in terms of moving across different space(s). That could be moving between different institutional settings, e.g. from kindergarten to school or from high school to university or from various kinds of schooling into work life. Then the question is about what is played out in these temporary spaces of possible limbo? It could also be moving horizontally between different institutional and/or non-institutional settings: from school to home, from schools to museums. This movements across spaces asks for and analysis of the in-between spaces, the road to school or on the bus but also of the relations between the spaces in play and how these relations are likely to have changed over time: e.g. how museums are used (and formed) by their use in various forms of schooling.

As such transitory spaces could also be explored as the transitory and to some extent non-solid character of space itself. That could be how the conception, décor and use of specific spaces change over time – may it be classrooms, school architecture, museum exhibitions or cityscapes etc. As it goes this opens up to consider the more immaterial dimensions of educational spaces – themes of learning strategies and learning processes intertwined with (and sometimes sought prompted by) a specific – or more random – architecture. It also links to the relations between spaces and emotions and how spaces can be regarded and experienced as friendly, easy, forbidden obscure and/or dangerous.

Finally, the way space has been studied and theorized has also gone through a transition, not least within research of educational history. The study of space has been important to many of the methodological innovations within educational history. These transitions would be interesting to analyze and also take into consideration how the study of transitory spaces on the one hand might require the development of new methods and on the other hand one might ask if the very notion of transitory spaces follow the a growing interest in theoretical notions of process, movement and change.

If we succeed in putting together a symposium we suggest to have ‘work-meeting’ on the day before the conference and maybe a seminar sometime after the conference when the presentations have been turned into written texts.

We look forward to hear from you on the 25th of January at the latest. Please, email to

Best wishes

Björn Norlin (Umeå University) and Lisa Rosén Rasmussen (University of Copenhagen)

On symposiums at ECER: A symposium provides opportunities, not afforded by a single paper, to examine a specific education research problem or topic through an international, comparative, or worldwide lens and to bring to bear diverse perspectives, intensive discussion, or a wide range of expertise. Symposium abstracts are a maximum of 600 words. Submissions also include 400-word summaries for each presentation/paper in a symposium, and allow for up to ten references for each presentation (200 Words references per presentation). References cited in the summaries must be set forth in the reference list.

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