History of Adult Education and Training in Europe

Aims and themes of the network

The purpose of the network is to promote the diffusion of the knowledge and understanding concerning various adult education traditions and the role of different forms of adult education (popular/liberal, vocational, academic etc.) by encouraging historical research of the field.
Knowing the past is indispensable for the discussion on the current state of adult education and the identity of the practitioners since the present-day situation is the outcome of complex historical processes in the context of different national, social and cultural milieus.
To reveal the diversity and richness of European adult education traditions, the network also emphasizes the significance of combining the historical approach with cross-cultural, transnational and comparative perspectives. Such approach can also help to understand the challenges of current transnational communication and cooperation in the field.
The network provides possibilities for communication between scholars representing different fields of research: history, social studies, educational studies, etc. and encourages the interplay with historical research and the research on the current state of adult education.
The network organizes seminars every third year.

History of the network

The network was established in 1991 with the name Cross-cultural Influences in the History of European Adult Education by Martha Friedenthal-Haase (Tübingen/Leipzig), Stuart Marriot (Leeds) and Barry J. Hake (Leiden). This network focused on the period 1880–1930 and mainly on the educational activities within workers’ and women’s movement. After the retirement, in 2008, of the long-time convener Barry J. Hake, the current conveners suggested that the themes of the history network should be widened to cover both a longer historical time frame and a broader scope of adult education activities.

Previous conferences: 2018, Paris, France Pioneering Women and Men in European Adult Education (19th and early 20th Centuries); 2013, Berlin, Germany, Historical Approach Specificities in the Context of Adult Education Research (Round table session in the framework of the ESREA 7th European Research Conference); 2011, Budapest, Hungary, Adult Education and Citizenship. Relations in Space and Time (together with the ESREA Network on Active Democratic Citizenship); 2009, Turku, Finland, Life Course and Learning in History: Cultural, Societal and Individual Perspectives on Adult Education and Training in Europe; 2006, Paris, France, The ‘Social Question’: European-wide Struggles for Adult Education in the Public Sphere during the 19th and 20th Centuries). 

Earlier conferences were held in Frankfurt, Germany (1997); Strobl, Austria (1996); Salamanca, Spain (1994); Strobl, Austria (1993); York, United Kingdom (1992); Leiden, Netherlands (1991). See their topics trough the titles of the publications that followed.


ESREA series
Hake, B. J. & Laot, F. F. (eds./éds) (2009). The Social Question and Adult Education: European Perspectives in the 19th and 20th Centuries/La question sociale et l’éducation des adultes: Perspectives européennes, XIXe – XXe siècles. Franckfurt-am-Main: Peter Lang.

Edited books produced by the previous History network Cross-cultural Studies in the Education of Adults

Laot F. F., Bron M. (Ed.), (2020), Pioneering Women in European Adult Education 1860s/70s-1910s, Pedagogika Społeczna/Social Pedagogy Quarterly,Vol 1 (75), Year XIX. (http://pedagogikaspoleczna.com/1-2020/)
Hake, B.J. (Ed.) (2005). Workers as Travellers, Migrants and Refugees: Border-crossings and the construction of proletarian public spheres in Europe 1890–1933. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hake, B. J. & Steele, T. (Eds.) (1997). No 5: Intellectuals, Activists and Reformers: Studies of cultural, social and educational reform movements 1890-1930. Leeds: Leeds Studies in Continuing Education.

Hake, B.J., Steele, T., Tiana, A. (Eds.) (1996). No 4: Masters, Missionaries and Militants: Studies of social movements and popular adult education 1890-1939. Leeds: Leeds Studies in Continuing Education.

Marriott, S. & Hake, B. J. (Eds.) (1994). No 3: Cultural and Intercultural Experiences in European Adult Education: Essays on popular and higher education since 1890. Leeds: Leeds Studies in Continuing Education.

Hake B, J. & Marriott, S. (Eds.) (1992). No 2: Adult Education between Cultures: Encounters and identities in European adult education since 1890. Leeds: Leeds Studies in Continuing Education.

Friedenthal-Hasse, M., Hake, B.J., Marriott, S. (Eds.) (1991. No 1: British-Dutch-German Relationships in Adult Education 1880-1930: Studies in the theory and history of cross-cultural communication in adult education. Leeds: Leeds Studies in Continuing Education.