Spaces, Times, and the Rhythms of the Education of Adults and its Movements (STREAM)

Aims and themes of the network

The STREAM network focuses on space, time, and rhythm as key aspects and determinants in any human processes and movements. References to those notions are ubiquitous and transversal themes in current research in adult education. Recent developments in educational research have shown the significance of considering changes taking place in the policy, practice, empirical and theoretical study of education, considering the way people perceive, conceive and experience space and time.

Both indeed represent critical lenses to describe and interpret phenomena through which autonomy, identity and inequalities are (re)produced in society. Closely related to these two notions, rhythm is also increasingly acknowledged as a critical notion to conceive fluid, dynamic and complex phenomena, typical of those constitutive of culturally diverse educational processes (e.g., transformation, professionalization, emancipation, identity development). Also, the historicity of educational phenomena is marked by multifarious and variable movements and changes. Temporal facets in adult education are woven into political norms of lifelong and life-wide learning, the fluidity of phenomena, changing programmatic topoi (e.g., online or hybrid modes of teaching and learning) and experiences such as temporal alienation, environmental issues, present fragmentations, future dystopia, etc.

One of the objectives of the STREAM network is to question systematically the assumptions about time-space relation shaping the praxis of adult education, through its heterogeneous expressions and movements (e.g., formal and informal education, higher education, vocational education, self-development), raising questions about the relationship between situated context and global processes, including emancipation, equity, and marginalization.

Furthermore, the network explores the multiplicity of temporalities and rhythms that inform and constitute educational settings and processes, and the effects inherent to their antagonistic and complementary dimensions on adult learning and professional development (e.g., tensions between continuity and discontinuity, long and short temporalities, professional identity development, working in ubiquitous crisis scenarios, spatial hybridization).

The aim of the STREAM network is thus to explore critically how to conceive the influences and movements of spatial, temporal, and rhythmic configurations through which adults learn, transform, and develop themselves in an ever-changing world. What is at stake is to determine how to identify, interpret and evaluate the relations through which space and time influence educational processes, including the way they are lived subjectively, how they are framed in modernity (e.g., time regimes), and the rhythmic configurations they may display. The general vision of this network is twofold:

(1) to provide researchers and practitioners working in the field of adult and higher education an institutionalized environment and an ongoing agenda to share and discuss recent contributions to an emerging field of research; and

(2) to valorise research conducted in different linguistic, cultural, and geographic areas, in order to highlight proximities, reinforce connections, explore differences, and ultimately strengthen international collaborations around theories and empirical studies related to the study of space, time and rhythm in adult education.

History of the network

In 2022, three symposia around the themes “space, time and rhythms in adult education” were organized during the ESREA 2022 Triennial conference. The enthusiastic participation in the symposia and the sustained interest they generated among colleagues was instrumental to the creation of a forum for debate where contributions could be explored in a longer format. Accordingly, the Temporalities, Rhythms & Complexity Lab (led by Dr. Alhadeff-Jones at the Sunkhronos Institute) took the initiative to organize in 2023 an online Research Symposium Series, including research presented in Milan and additional contributions, for a total of 10 events ( Following the success of these initiatives, and to sustain the momentum, the constitution of the STREAM network was formalized in February 2023.

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