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Five minutes with Sofia Nyström ...

... education science researcher who has just become Secretary General of ESREA, the European Society for Research on the Education of Adults. What kind of association is it?

Sofia Nyström, porträtt

“It’s a large European research organisation that works with issues related to teaching adults and adult learning. The society has almost 200 members from across Europe. In ESREA there are ten or so research networks, and the society operates as an umbrella over them. The networks deal with adult learning from different perspectives, for example learning in working life, teaching and learning for older people, gender and learning and also adult learning in connection with democracy and citizenship.

“It’s important to highlight knowledge in the field and what role adult education has in different countries. Here in Sweden, for example, it will become topical in connection with the discussion on retirement ages. If older adults – those over 60 – are to continue to work for a while longer, it is interesting to know more about what their learning is like.

The purpose of ESREA is to disseminate research in the field. How do you do that?

“We produce the periodical RELA, an open journal of research articles. We also have a series of books that we publish. And not least we arrange on average five research conferences in Europe each year. The next major conference will take place in Berlin this autumn.

The society has existed for over 20 years, and for the last six years the secretariat has been located in the Division of Education and Adult Learning at LiU. As the new secretary general, what will your role be?

“I coordinate the board and keep in contact with the members, it’s a lot of administration. And it’s fun – I was recently at the first board meeting, in Poland. The society is truly European, our members come from a large number of countries, from Estonia to Spain and Turkey, so it is actually not an organisation that just brings together researchers from Northern Europe. You get to meet a lot of new people.


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Last updated: 2017-02-13