Conference 2017

ESAI Conference 2017

Changing Research: working the spaces between education policy and practice

University College Cork: 20 April – 22 April 2017

The annual conference of the Educational Studies Association of Ireland will take place in Cork, 20 -22 April 2017.

This year’s theme invites researchers and practitioners to consider the challenges and expectations driving education research work in contemporary Ireland and beyond. Recent years have seen a number of substantive revisions to the very nature of research activity, to its funding and its perceived purpose within a fast-changing system. Austerity and its strictures have affected badly the focus of research undertaken and even perceptions of possibility, but in Ireland that now appears to be beginning to soften. We see increasing indications of renewed engagement across the university and college sector with issues such as arrangements for the organisation and provision of education, with concerns for social justice and equality, with additional learning needs, with curriculum and assessment, with policy work and policy action, and with the political economy of education. Doctoral studies programmes in education are again on the rise. We are also seeing the emergence of a form of practice and practitioner research under the aegis of the Teaching Council as it continues to position itself as agent and broker for funded, small-scale work relating to its ongoing Programmes – covering priorities such as the continuum of teacher education, teaching in a changing society, pedagogy, and so on. And of course increasingly research is interdisciplinary in nature.

Taken individually these developments are significant, taken as a group they are potentially transformational.

ESAI Conference 2017 presents a timely opportunity to consider the extent to which the work we are engaged in – across the full spectrum of education research interests and concerns – can change for the better what happens in our schools, colleges and universities.

Research is a lived activity; it has its origins in curiosity or concern, it has its life-course, its ways and means, its underscoring intentions, and its outcomes. Working the spaces between policy and practice is about understanding and improving. Yet working these spaces can also provoke conflict, confusion and limitations. ESAI 2017 is about wrestling with all of this. In this way, we hope that the conference can bring together educationalists with a broad range of interests, from a similarly broad range of sectors and roles (e.g. researchers, policymakers, practitioners, and interested others.) from Ireland and beyond.

Call for Papers

The call for papers is now closed.


Registration for ESAI Conference 2017 is now open. Please register at

Image credit: Lia Leslie via Pixabay website, CC0 Public Domain