XXIX Conference ⋅ 25-29 May 2020 ⋅ Reggio Emilia ⋅ Italy

Communities and education in an era of accountability and control



Few cities or universities are associated with a distinctive and influential pedagogical approach that has inspired educators around the globe. The Reggio Emilia vision views education as the right of all children but one best understood in relation to community. In their own words:

Education is an opportunity for the growth and emancipation of the individual and the collective; it is a resource for gaining knowledge and for learning to live together; it is a meeting place where freedom, democracy, and solidarity are practiced and where the value of peace is promoted.

Notions of community/ communities in education are rich and embody multiple histories and contexts. They can be grounded in culture and politics as well as conditioned by empires and economic systems. They include reference groups of classrooms, parents and citizens as well as practices, professional groupings and discursive/ epistemic groupings. They embody governing organizations at local, regional and national scales and are increasingly supra national in their reach. Education – broadly understood as all formal, non-formal andGeneral  informal learning contexts – faces new opportunities and challenges. In what ways are historically-constituted communities being transformed by the demands for measurement, standardization and comparison across spaces? How are traditional notions of community being challenged, even fragmented, by the vocabularies/discourses/practices of newer global communities that reimagine education in terms of partnerships, coalitions and networks that are often blurred in terms of their locus of control and interests? In what ways is education affected by the new intensities and divides afforded by social media and digital technologies and the communities that they constitute and are constituted by? How does the gaze of objectivity and expertise – familiar to schools and universities but now reaching into early learning but also adult education (?) – change what counts as a community/ communities in education and how does this gaze effect the ideals of ‘freedom, democracy, and solidarity’ as well as our understanding of accountability: Who is held accountable, to whom, by what means and for what?

These are some of the broad questions that set the agenda for CESE’s 2020 conference to be hosted by the Departments of “Education and Human Sciences” and “Communication and Economy” at the historic University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in beautiful Reggio Emilia. The CESE Executive Committee in association with the Reggio Emilia organising committee invite papers that explore the conference theme from a range of local, national and supranational contexts. We encourage submissions that engage both theoretically and empirically with the issue of communities and education, and initially offer the following six Working Groups to explore diverse theoretical perspectives, methodological and empirical approaches:

  • Communities through time: history and theory of education
  • Old and new communities of global education policy and governance
  • Higher education governance and participation
  • Adult education and lifelong learning
  • Teachers, pedagogies and professional communities
  • What Images, Purposes and Pedagogies? Political Choices for Early Childhood Education in a time of Converging Crises

In addition to these six groups there will be a Working Group dedicated to New scholars, as well as opportunities to submit papers for a number of Cross-Thematic Sessions (CTSs) or Thematically-Focused Panels (TFPs).



Dearest Colleagues, Distinguished Scholars,

thank you for your interest in our CESE conference, which will be held in Reggio Emilia on 25-29 May 2020.

The website is ready for the Abstract submission and registration to the conference.

As a tradition of the CESE Conference, the fee is kept below 300 euros, and there is a lower fee for students and scholars coming from developing Countries.
You can start planning your trip by checking the availability of hotels and B&B accomodation in Reggio Emilia.

The conference will be hosted by the Department of Education and Humanities, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, in the centre of Reggio Emilia.

If you need a particular enquiry, you can write to the address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you very much for your interest and I hope to see you in Reggio Emilia next May,

Nicola Barbieri
Professor of History of Education
University of Modena and Reggio Emilia
Head of the Local Organization Committee

23 October 2019
Abstract submission and registration open
15 February 2020
Abstract submission deadline
10 March 2020
Acceptance notification
1 April 2020
Eary bird registration deadline
22 May 2020
Registration deadline