Transformative and Emancipatory Adult Education

Aims and themes of the network

Facing crisis confronts us not only with the challenge but also with the possibility to learn, grow, change and at times even transform our deep structures. In times of crises – such as the climate crises, structural racism or a pandemic – there is a need to transform our taken for granted ways of knowing and being in the world, this promises an opportunity for emancipation. The idea of adult education (lat. educere) as a way forward, leading out from the crises we currently experience is at the heart of our network. As such the ESREA Network Transformative and Emancipatory Adult Education is concerned with researching and promoting ways of learning and “leading out”.

The mission of the “Transformative and Emancipatory Adult Education” ESREA Network is to promote a space for enhancing international dialogue and research on transformative and emancipatory adult education. Our aim is to co-create a vital community in Europe that is devoted to cultivating research, scholarships, and projects about how learning can promote personal, societal, and global transformations.

Potential themes (but not limited to) that will be explored are:

  • Critical traditions of transformative and emancipatory adult education
  • Theories of and research methods for transformative and emancipatory learning
  • Theory and practice of transformative and emancipatory adult education

History of the network

Having as a basis the theoretical framework of transformative learning that was developed in 1978 by Jack Mezirow, the “Transformative Processes in Learning and Education” network, which recently ceased its operation, focused on the processes of transformative learning and organized several conferences (in Athens in 2014 and 2016, and in Milan in 2018), where it brought together researchers and scholars from different countries.

The “Transformative and Emancipatory Adult Education” Network is also rooted in the idea of transformation and the tradition of transformative learning and will emphasise the emancipatory potential of adult education.

Our aim is to establish a vital community of researchers, scholars and practitioners that will cooperate in order to increase the impact of transformative and emancipatory learning in the community of adult educators in Europe and in the rest of the world. Our scientific, ethical, and community principles, such as our co-creative and collaborative approaches, sociocratic leadership, openness and transparency, as well as inclusion, diversity and equity, provide our common ground for continuing to build a community of research and practice.



Saskia Eschenbacher  Akkon University Berlin

Georg Koulaouzides  Hellenic Open University

Alessandra Romano University of Siena

Dina Soeiro Coimbra Higher Education School