What lies ahead?

The 32nd International conference on examining historical sources in adult education is scheduled for November 5-6, 2018 in Vienna. It is organised by the Austrian Adult Education Archive (ÖVA) in cooperation with the German Institute for Adult Education (DIE). It deals with issues such as access to historical reasearch in the field of national education, adult education and popularisation of science.

Following the 31st conference, which took place in 2016 in Bonn, this year's topic covers the historiography/historicity of adult education in a wider context. In addition to a methodological and theoretical approach, key questions, an overview of the status quo of historical sources and the corresponding archive situation, the focus will be on the commemorative culture and continuous dimension of adult education.

Call for Papers

In the past

The conference took place on May 23-25, 2016 at the German Institute for Adult Education - Leibniz Centre for Lifelong Learning (DIE) in Bonn. It was organised by the Austrian Adult Education Archive in cooperation with the DIE. The conference was financially supported bythe German Adult Education Association (DVV) and organised by Klaus Heuer (DIE).

Key issues were: How can the current status of safekeeping, documentatione and interpretations of central developments in adult education be evaluated from the perspectives of historiography and history strengthenind memory? To what extent will history deal with issues of historical science and methodology? To what extent is historical adult education research independent within a pedagogigal context? To what exttent do the particular requirements of the present co-determine the understanding of history and how is that discussed in theory and practice? Are specific archives on the collection of historical sources necessary to establish an informed and broadly based culture of memory, and to justify and further develop historical awareness of the achievements of adult education, but also alternatives that have not been realised?

For 30 years, the conference has been the event for German-speaking researchers and practitioners of adult education to exchange views and help construct a specific culture of memory with their discussions. In 2016, a generation change of contemporary eye-witnesses took place. These eye-witnesses see themselves as academic practitioners, and regard the promotion of historical awareness as guidance for their own practice. The change provided the opportunity to take stock of previous conferences in a biographical and specialist approach. Testimony was presented in a moderated round table discussion with long-standing participants and contributors, but was also critically questioned in a theoretical contribution regarding the change in testimony and its future character.

Expert topics

A discourse informed about the state of historical adult education research with a focus on a limited choice of subjects and key research desiderata. Additional contributions presented theses on the unexplained relation betwee adult education and the historical sciences, trends of migration of historical research on adult education into other disciplines, including, for example, the history of culture and mentality, in a literature review.

A third focus was on presentations of current examples of the existing awareness of history in adult education practice, e.g. in jubilee publications and exhibitions, as well as research reports on current academic historical studies, e.g. in dissertations. The conference aimed at gaining a more precise understanding of the relationship between the culture of memory and historical awareness, of their specific complementarity when established, but also as a dimension of continuity for adult education, as well as developing and implementing approaches for their consolidation.

Subject areas and speakers


I.    Keynote: History and change  in the cultural significance of testimony in adult education (Horst Siebert)

II.    Moderated round table on  testimony (Bernhard Schossig - moderator; Dorothea Braun-Ribbat; Wilhelm Filla, Jörg Wollenberg, Anne-Christel Recknagel, Erhard Schlutz - witnesses)

III.    Historical summary and results – highlights of previous conferences (Stephan Ganglbauer)

IV.    Adult education and history as an academic subject – an unexplained relationship? (Christian H. Stifter)

V.    Research on the history of adult education – limitations and requirements (Wilhelm Filla)

VI.    The disciplinary migration of historical debate with the history of adult education (Klaus Heuer)

VII.    Living historical awareness – case studies from adult education practice (open submission)

VIII.    Recent academic theses and papers – research reports (open submission)

Programm (PDF)

last changed 5/29/2018