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3rd International Conference on Geographies of Education

Loughborough University, UK - 3rd-5th September 2018

Call for papers

Education and learning are key processes that shape the life chances of individuals and the sustainability of democratic societies, even if the question of what counts as knowledge and education remains highly contested in different political regimes and realms of society. Since the first two International Conferences on Geographies of Education were hosted in the Department of Geography at Loughborough University in 2010 and 2012—in order to enhance understanding of the performances, practices, and processes that shape education and learning from distinctively geographical research perspectives—new geographies of education and learning have become a vibrant intra- and interdisciplinary as well as international field of research (e.g., Holloway & Jöns 2012; Freytag, Jahnke & Kramer 2015; Bilicen & van Mol 2017; Pini et al. 2017).

Recent contributions to the field range from changing and highly segmented spaces of education (Brooks, Fuller & Waters 2012; Findlay et al. 2012) via the cultural and radical geographies of alternative, informal, and formal education (Kraftl 2013; Mills & Kraftl 2014; 2016; Meusburger, Freytag & Suarsana 2016; Mitchell 2017) to the socio-political geographies of (re)constructing nationalisms in schools (Mavroudi & Holt 2015) and of professionalised parenting under neoliberalism (Holloway & Pimlott-Wilson 2016). Geographical studies of higher education have diversified to examine philanthropy and fundraising (Warren, Hoyler & Bell 2016) and its new regional geographies (Harrison, Smith & Kinton 2017); the career trajectories of women geographers beyond the academy (Monk 2017); and other highly diverse knowledge mobilities (Jöns, Meusburger & Heffernan, 2017). A new emphasis examines international study in the global south (Gunter & Raghuram 2017) and discusses the decolonisation of geographical knowledge and education (Esson et al. 2017).        

The third International Conference on Geographies of Education aims to bring together scholars working in different disciplines on the diverse range of historical, cultural, social, political, and economic topics that constitute this creative and critical field of inquiry. We invite paper submissions in the English language on the following topics and associated themes, including conceptual, methodological, and empirical contributions, and distinctively critical geographical research perspectives: 

  • Historical geographies of education
  • Histories of geographical education
  • Geographies of educational provision and experience across the life course (pre-school, school, higher education, on-the-job training, personal development, life-long learning)
  • Geographies of non-formal educational settings, practices, and experiences
  • Geographies of informal learning processes
  • Knowledge exchange and outcomes of education and learning
  • Discourses, imaginations, and emotions in/of education and learning
  • Mobilities, internationalisation, and neoliberalisation in/of education and learning
  • Materialities, technologies, and virtual realities in/of education and learning
  • Intersectionality, assemblages, and triadic thought in education and learning
  • Multi-scalar geographies of education and learning
  • Contesting and decolonising education and learning


Keynote speakers

The programme will evolve around keynote lectures covering the latest scholarship on the geographies of education in schools, universities, and wider society. The confirmed keynote lecturers are:

Tim Freytag (University of Freiburg)
The place of Hispanics and Hispanic cultures in higher education and research institutions in New Mexico: Reflecting sociocultural and geographical settings of educational inequalities

The modern system of higher education and research institutions in the United States is steeped in ideas and traditions mainly from European universities. Serious consideration of studying and teaching Hispanic, Native American, and other ethnic minority cultures from an inside perspective did not emerge until creation of numerous corresponding research centers and academic programs in the 1970s. Nonetheless, the percentage of ethnic minorities in U.S. higher education has increased little, with Hispanics still underrepresented among students and academic staff at U.S. universities and research institutions. In this paper, I revisit educational statistics and extensive fieldwork, including a set of interviews I conducted more than 15 years ago with professors and institutional decision-makers at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Drawing upon these empirical sources, I propose a contextual approach to help explain the persistent underrepresentation of Hispanic students and professors and to ask whether there is a place for Hispanic culture in higher education and research institutions in New Mexico 

Katharyne Mitchell (UC Santa Cruz)
Education and public scholarship: Intersections of theory, policy and practice
In this talk I introduce several vignettes that reflect two decades of work on education and public scholarship. I interrogate personal and institutional successes and failures in participatory action research, community engagement, writing for the public, and serving as a university administrator. Each of these vignettes raises questions about how we understand knowledge production in the contemporary moment. What is our role and our responsibility as theorists of education in the context of profound changes to our systems of education and to perceptions of the value of education? And what are some of the possibilities and consequences (both intended and unintended) of direct interventions in this area? In providing some examples from my own history I hope to open a broader conversation about education theory and practice, and about the direction of scholarship and the ways we might want to shape it in the years ahead.


Parvati Raghuram (Open University)
International student migration and development
The increase in numbers of international students globally has brought with it academic, policy and media attention. Descriptive and analytical studies on international student mobility (ISM) are now abound but there has been much less attention paid to the normative frameworks that education offers and how these intersect with ISM. This is, in part, because the ISM literature has not adequately focused on the rich insights from educational research on the topic. In order to address this, this presentation utilises insights from a study of international distance education students in South Africa, using a range of methods (learning analytics, learning design, adaptation questionnaires and interviews, social media analysis) to explore how and why students move, their educational outcomes and how to interweave these into pedagogic practices in the global South. It focuses in particular on how ideals such as access to education and widening participation, that are important to the UK HE sector, can engage with the broader literature on ISM in order to offer new analytical insights at the individual and institutional levels. The paper ends with reflections on how the ISM literature can contribute to global discussions on education and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.


Johanna Waters (University of Oxford)
Mobilities and materialities of cross-border schooling: Children’s education and lives between Hong Kong and Mainland China
Work on the relationship between education and mobilities (across varying distances) has uncovered the complex and diverse ways in which young people are mobile. We are also becoming increasingly aware of the materialities of these (educational) mobilities (Brooks and Waters, 2018). In this paper, I consider the intersection of mobilities and materialities in the lives of young school children and their families as they undertake the daily, onerous commute to Hong Kong from Mainland China and back again. This phenomenon, known as cross-border schooling, happens around the world, as children straddle different politically-defined territories. It is one example of a broader trend in transnational mobilities for education, as households are reproduced across and between geographic sites. Education is often interwoven with other complex mobilities and materialities (e.g. labour issues or healthcare considerations). In this paper, I draw upon data from a current project with Maggi Leung (Utrecht University) on cross-border schooling, to understand: what is the significance of ‘education’ in this mobility? How do children and wider families experience the materiality of the border through their quotidian (im)mobilities? What other materialities come into play? I will reflect upon the wider implications of this type of educational mobility for understanding the role played by education in social reproduction both locally and regionally.


Abstract submission

Please submit an abstract of up to 200 words by 30 April 2018 to Heike Jöns (


Presentation format

Conference papers will each be allocated a time slot of 20 minutes. The recommended length of presentation is 15 minutes so that 5 minutes can be used for Q&A. The conference rooms will be equipped with a laptop and data projector, provide Internet access, and contain a whiteboard and flip chart board with suitable pens. Please contact Heike Jöns ( if you require any other media for your presentation.


Book your place

Please register for the conference here.

The early bird conference registration fee for academics will be £125 until 30 April 2018, afterwards the registration fee will be £150. The conference registration fee for PhD students and postdocs will be £100 (early bird) or £125 (regular fee) and that for other students and unwaged delegates £80 (early bird) or £100 (regular fee).

The conference registration fee includes coffee/tea during the event, three lunches and one conference dinner. Accommodation needs to be booked separately.


Conference venue

Loughborough University, Holywell Park Conference Centre 



Accommodation needs to be booked individually. The following recommendations suit different budgets and preferences:

15 minute-walk to conference location

Burleigh Court Hotel – 4 Star Hotel and Spa on Loughborough University Campus

Link Hotel – 3 Star Hotel next to Loughborough University Campus

40 minute-walk to conference location or 25 minutes by bus

Forest Rise Hotel – B&B accommodation near Loughborough University Campus

50 minute-walk to conference location or 30 minutes by bus

Premier Inn Loughborough – 3 Star Hotel in Loughborough Town Centre

Ramada Loughborough Hotel – 3 Star Hotel in Loughborough Town Centre

Travelodge Loughborough Central – 2 Star Hotel in Loughborough Town Centre

For a price comparison on Trivago, click here.


Directions and travel

How to find Loughborough University


For the conference programme, please click below:

Research group sponsorship 

This conference is kindly supported by the RGS-IBG Population Geography Research Group (PopGeog), the RGS-IBG Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group (GCYFRG) and the RGS-IBG Social and Cultural Geography Research Group (SCGRG).