Academic papers were delivered by two colleagues from the Centre for Career & Personal Development. Anne Chant and Rebecca Tee spoke at the European Society for Research into the Education of Adults conference held at the University of Southern Denmark last month. Their papers conveyed key points from their respective doctoral research at CCCU. Anne Chant’s paper looked at the impact of parental influence on career choice whilst Rebecca Tee’s explored the motivation of school governors.
The conference theme was life history and focused on aspects of in-depth autobiographic narrative enquiry which both Anne and Rebecca are using as their methodology for their research. One of the most impactful aspects of the conference was the array of disciplines that were represented, all using life story and narrative approaches to help to understand the breadth of human experience.
The conference was opened by Nora Bateson from Canada, who showed a film she had produced about her father, Gregory Bateson (1904 – 1980), an English anthropologist and social scientist and author of: “Steps to an Ecology of Mind” (1972).
Peter Alheit from Germany spoke about his research which delineates the history of biography. Marianne Horsdal introduced her new book ‘Telling Lives’ and discussed the interface between positivist and constructivist approaches to narrative research, emphasising the importance of narratives to make sense of the temporal world.
Other notable contributions included:
- Linden West from CCCU – reflecting on transformative learning
- Jesper Hoffmeyer from Denmark introduced the subject of Biosemiotics. Countering the ‘either/or’ debate he discussed the interface between science and emotions.
- Ian King, a doctoral scholar from CCPD presented a summary of his research which gave us a lot to think about. We were particularly taken with the metaphor of the ‘quarry’ from which we dig deep for memories of life’s experiences.
- Laura Formenti from Italy contributed with her ‘myth of birth’ seminar. She had collected the stories people have of their own births and explored the impact this may have had on those individuals in their relationships and in later life.
This was a memorable and varied conference which illustrated both the power of life stories as a research tool and as an effective conduit for our biological, sociological and emotional journeys.