The Moot

We need to talk about Europe!

Amplifying the voices of refugees

ECER2015 Moot

 

[for ppt, click on MOOT 2 , for the report see below]

Educational research and educational researchers need public places and spaces of unrestricted communication. The EERJ Moot aims to create a space where an intergenerational discussion and debate among researchers can take place.

Our plan for this year is to re-orient The Moot and try and hold a collective public reflection on how we as education researcher can relate to the ongoing European situation. This is a proposal to think about what we are doing as (European) educational researchers while being confronted with what happens in Europe or in the name of Europe. This is not about a particular country, but about education and educational research(ers) in relation to Europe and Europeanization.

The proposal will serve as a guideline for the MOOT meeting at ECER 2015, and can also orient the debates in the network sessions.

Engaging with this proposal probably requires to take a distance from common ways of framing and phrasing problems and challenges, from common ways to understand our roles and responsibilities, and from common critical or supportive positions. It is an invitation to look for new or alternative perspectives and concepts that allow to articulate how, why or whether what is happening is challenging us and to what extent we can or should deal with these challenges. In order to come to an academic response to these pressing issues, it is of importance to do justice to the complexity of the situation, and hence to being cautious about how we speak, and what we speak about. The following questions could serve as a guideline for the debate:

  • What do we, as academics, think about what happens today in and with Europe (both from a general perspective and from the perspective of our specific field of research)?
  • What are the implications of what is happening in and with Europe to educational research and to us as educational researchers?

“Our educational research” refers for instance to how we in different ways frame problems and define situations, the approaches we choose, how we collaborate or compete, the discourses we support or criticize, how we are financed and (get) published, how we define debate or define validity, …

The main objective is not only to reflect upon what happens today, but to put what we are as (European) educational researchers to the test of what is happening today?

All networks are invited to formulate a few sentences, ideas or key words as ‘input’ for the MOOT, by sending an email to refugeesecer2015@gmail.com and by uploading them on this page as a comment below (before Thursday evening, 22h)

We need to talk about Europe!

Amplifying the voices of refugees

 [Report on the EERJ MOOT – Friday 11 September 14:00-15:00]

This MOOT is aimed at a double objective: (1) to offer an opportunity where we can be together, think collectively and speak publically, and, if possible, (2) to reach an agreement on a number of statements based on the network meetings.

[Extracts from the network discussions]

[Presentation of 4 statements]

Reactions:

NW19 suggested a set of values to bring this community together, not only within Europe but in a global context: Hospitality – Memory – Generosity – Solidarity – Action.

It was suggested to vote on these values. This idea was opposed, suggesting that we should not vote, but rather move towards a consensus preparing this talk [the MOOT] for distribution, and mobilize talking about us and what is happening in our institutions. The values were added to the PowerPoint presenting the statements. Someone commented that ‘hospitality’ and ‘generosity’ sound a bit patronizing and suggested to change the order of the values starting with ‘Justice’. Another suggestion was to use the word ‘Recognition’ instead of ‘Memory’.

[Discussion about the statements in small groups]

Some questions were raised on the statute of the statements:

  • Who are these statements directed to? To EERA, to the European institutions, to the nation states, to other academic societies and institutions, …? Or do we see ourselves in the eyes of others?
  • Do we speak/Can we speak on behalf of educational researchers, sending out a message that goes in various ways?

In the light of statement 1, someone made the observation that 1) these values are easier to evaluate than to enact, and 2) that what is happening today is not like before; to sleepwalk could be catastrophic.

Someone suggested that it would be easier to have some declaration to be taken back home to our local universities and start the discussion there. A wide dissemination would be worthwhile, it was said, making the message go out in various ways. Following up on this, someone added that it is very important to have this statement, but that it would better if it came from EERA or ECER.

Someone raised the question why we are not talking about IS in this context – shouldn’t we go deeper into the problem of IS and not just address what happened as a result of this [the refugees crisis]?

One of the discussion groups had several suggestions on what to do further with this statement at home and how to add various stakeholder groups in the process:

  • mobilize our own universities;
  • ask for changing of research funds, e.g. to set up action research;
  • include regional context, and to enable educators of refugees to self-organize
  • involve our students in mutual support (difficult to keep it on over time)
  • regional cooperation between universities and local governments to establish solidarity learning together

The question ‘What can we do here?’ was raised, suggesting practicalities such as each network buying one tent, people donating their spare florins or the conference bags which would be thrown away otherwise.

The suggestion that there should be a clear statement from the conference here [this conference of educational researchers], was broadly agreed upon. Although someone uttered that this could suffer from academics never being able to agree on anything, a draft statement should be issued beginning along the lines set out in the statements. Someone suggested to make a change in the first statement [which has been adjusted in the meantime].

Another remark was made stressing that the effect of a general statements could be to lose punch. Each of us, because of our different fields and disciplines, will be engaging in particular ways, and this particularity is as important as our general language. The statement shows partly what Europe stands for and could be, and these particularities about Europe differ from e.g. China, the USA or Australia. It is important to recognize the potential of the distinctiveness and history we have.

In the round up, it was said that it would be interesting to take these statements to the national educational research associations, asking them to place these on their homepage. It could also be retweeted.

The proposal to speak on behalf of this MOOT on the EERA-Council was agreed upon.

Some additional comments:

  • People proposed to turn the statement/declaration into an online petition that could then be circulated;
  • People asked to put the NW-reports online so that they can see where the extracts that were shown in de presentation originate from;
  • People asked not to take pictures since they were not given time to decide not to be photographed; they request not to use the pictures (or at least to be handled very carefully);
  • This report was made based on the notes of several people attending the MOOT. If you have any remarks, suggestions or comments, please feel free to add these to the report.
  • All material on the initiative will be gathered on the blog https://refugeesecer2015.wordpress.com/.

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