Confirmed keynote speakers:

Anna Ekström

Minister for Upper Secondary School and Adult Education and Training

“At school, all pupils should learn as much as possible and develop as active members of society, regardless of their background. Education and training should be open to everyone throughout their entire lives. This is how the conditions for lifelong learning are created. I believe in an equitable school system that is focused on knowledge and learning.”
(Government of Sweden, 2016)

Anna Ekström has a Master of Laws Degree from Stockholm University. Ekström has held positions as State Secretary at the Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications, Director of Planning at the Prime Minister's Office and Director-General of the National Agency for Education.

The Minister for Upper Secondary School and Adult Education and Training is also responsible for issues regarding popular education.

Kjell Rubensson

Professor Emeritus, University of British Columbia, Canada

Global governance of adult learning and education: a challenge to the Nordic model.

Supranational organisations, particularly the OECD and the World Bank, have become a kind of ‘éminence grise’” of industrialised countries’ adult learning and education policy. In Gramscian terms these organisations have achieved hegemony over the discourse through its capacity to manufacture the "common sense" of society. They are able to set agendas that become taken for granted and govern national policy actors’ approach to adult learning and education reforms. In this talk I will review the mechanisms by which the supranational organisations set the agenda and discuss how this agenda challenges the Nordic model.

Annette Sprung

Professor, University of Graz, Austria

The role of adult education in migration regimes

Adult education has always relied on having a strong sense of and feeling for social trends and current challenges. In spite of this, practical concepts and more pertinent research around topics like migration, transnationalism and racisms have only been developed rather hesitantly over the last decades. In the recent past, a multitude of activities around these issues have been established, dominated mostly by policies and propositions for the so-called integration of migrants and refugees. Many further challenges have to be faced in contemporary adult education, including the rise of nationalist and racist attitudes/practices and the accompanying threat to democratic achievements.

I would like to discuss these aspects in particular, which reach further than the question of addressing specific ‘new’ target groups with migrant biographies. I will explore a critical perspective on new (and maybe old) challenges for adult education and research in terms of a deeper reflection of their (political) self-understanding. This debate includes the specific role assigned to adult education in migration regimes, which often implies functions of control and selection, sometimes with serious, existential consequences for migrant participants. Furthermore, I will discuss other aspects such as the contribution of education and research to reproducing problematic categories and discourses (‘othering’, utilitarian approaches etc.), the problem of institutional racism or the phenomenon of ‘white privilege’ in adult education. Based on this analysis I will explore the critical potential of adult education for resisting against such problematical developments and for enhancing social change, social justice and solidarity.