Conference Archive

Conference 2020

Opening Up Education: Options, Obstacles and Opportunities

3rd – 5th September | Online (hosted by Institute of Education, Dublin City University)

“We cannot sow seeds with clenched fists. To sow we must open our hands.”
– Adolfo Pérez Esquivel

The foundations of openness are rooted in altruism and the belief that education is a public good (Weller, 2014). While the concept has been a focus of increased debate and discussion in recent times (Bayne, Knox & Ross, 2015), Hug reminds us that characteristics of openness can be found in many respects throughout the history of education, “from Comenius’ call for pedagogical reform to postmodern educational theory, requirements of access, social justice, creativity, knowledge sharing, innovation, and capacity building” (2015, p. 72). Openness in education advocates transparency and the lowering or removal of barriers at all levels in research, teaching and learning (Inamorato dos Santos, Punie & Castaño-Muñoz, 2016). It is a multifaceted concept that draws on a complex history of social, political, economic and technological change (Costello, Huijser & Marshall, 2018), an evolving term that covers a range of philosophies and practices aimed at widening access to education (Weller, 2018). In the rapidly changing world in which we find ourselves, and at a time when discussions about borders and boundaries feature so prominently, openness has never been more important or more in need.

As we reach the calendar milestone that signals we are one fifth of the way through the 21st century, the Educational Studies Association of Ireland invites scholars, practitioners, policymakers, emerging researchers and interested others from Ireland and beyond to come together at our annual conference and reflect upon, debate and discuss the opening up of education. The rich concept of openness welcomes broad interpretation and interrogation, and we invite papers that consider it through a variety of lenses which include (but are not limited to) sociological, pedagogical, historical, religious, ethical, technological, philosophical, political and economic. The ESAI 2020 Conference will continue our strong tradition of providing a forum for the dissemination of research that considers past, present and potential contributions and influences at local, national and international levels.

Call for Proposals

The online abstract submission system is now open for submission of proposals. Please note information about (1) Structure of Abstracts, (2) Presentation Formats, and (3) Abstract Review, before submitting an abstract. The closing date for submission of abstracts is Friday 06th December 2019. The abstract submission system can be accessed at

Structure of Abstracts 

  1. background/context
  2. research aim/objectives
  3. methods and data sources, or equivalent for theoretical/conceptual papers
  4. key findings/takeaway points

Abstracts must be between 200 and 400 words in length.

Presentation formats

  • Papers: Individual papers will be timed for 20 minutes: 15 minutes presentation and 5 minutes for Q&A.
  • Symposium: Symposia will typically contain 3 papers based around a central theme and will usually be timed for 60 minutes. This should include at least 10 minutes for discussion after the papers have been presented. To submit a symposium proposal, please use the form below to enter the symposium title, all author details, and the abstract for the overall symposium, then upload the Symposium Proposal form (which can be downloaded) to provide the remaining details about symposia papers, etc.
  • Poster: Abstracts to submit a poster should follow the same format as Individual Papers. Posters will be displayed using A1 or A0 size.
  • Early Career Researcher: ECR papers will be timed for 15 minutes: 10 minutes presentation plus 5 minutes feedback from an experienced mentor, plus a brief open discussion at the end of the session. The ECR strand is intended for current research students or those who have recently completed a research degree.

Conference 2020 Programme

To access the ESAI Conference 2020 Booklet, please click here or see below.

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Conference 2020 Timetable

To access the ESAI20 timetable please click here or see below.

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Conference 2020 Registration

Please note that all delegates must be current Individual Members of ESAI (or in the case of a graduate student, a current Associate Member). If you are not currently a member and are attending this year’s conference or have accepted our invitation to present at ESAI20, please use the relevant option below to take out membership as part of the Registration process. If you have not renewed your membership since January 2020, it has lapsed and you must use one of the options below to renew it if you wish to attend this year’s conference.  

If you had registered for our original face-to-face event then there is no need to re-register; all registrations for our original conference dates (2-4 April) have been carried over.

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