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Centre for Lifelong Learning attend The Universities Association for Lifelong Learning at Cambridge University

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The Universities Association for Lifelong Learning held their annual conference last month on the grounds of Cambridge University at Downing College. Senior Teaching Fellow and Tutor, Dr Anil Awesti, Early Years Programme Director, Dr. Sarah Cousins and Director of 2+2 and Part-time Degrees, Dr. Simon Glaze attended the event from the Centre for Lifelong Learning.

The Universities Association for Lifelong Learning provides a forum for the active exchange of ideas and good practice and undertakes research. Members represent all aspects of the sector, within and beyond universities, both in the UK and internationally, from senior managers to practitioners, and with interests ranging from public and employer engagement to lifelong learning. The conference, held annually, aimed to target five key themes this year, including social mobility and inclusion, well-being throughout life, apprenticeships and work-based learning, learning in cities and regions and lifelong learning pedagogies. Attendees had the opportunity to network and share experiences of the lifelong learning sector, learn about current issues and also participate in seminars and workshops.

“The conference provided a welcoming space to share ideas, receive feedback and network amongst colleagues involved in adult education in the UK and internationally.” Dr. Anil Awesti says.

Anil additionally presented a paper at the conference entitled, ‘Public Engagement for Social Healing’ highlighting concerns of the role of Higher Education in public engagement in an era which is witnessing the developing ghettoization of British society.

“Social groups increasingly exist in ‘echo chambers’ in which social interaction is confined to like-minded others. The paper argued that universities have a responsibility to act as inclusive civic spaces and provide arenas for social mixing, particularly as public spaces of social interaction disappear under the politics of austerity.”

Dr. Sarah Cousins presented the current developments in our department at the UALL conference, discussing ‘A University of Maths and English, a centre of excellence,’ in relation to ‘addressing barriers to progression’ stating she was “Proud to share our developments at the UALL.”

Dr Simon Glaze explained that were a number of other highly engaging panels at the Conference, including those featuring innovative approaches to student support and engagement in HE and FE institutions in the UK and at The People’s University Aarhus in Denmark, which has increased participation in lifelong learning tenfold through a number of hugely interesting public engagement activities.

The conference came at an important time for the future of lifelong learning in the UK, with the recent appointment of a new minister of Higher Education and launch of the Office for Students, a government-approved regulatory and competition authority for the Higher Education Sector. In her keynote speech at the conference Chief Executive of the Office for Students Nicola Dandridge outlined the OfS’ structure, core philosophy and immediate plans including those relating to lifelong learning.

The conference will be hosted by the University of Wolverhampton in 2019 and we look forward to seeing developments this month with the launch of the OfS.

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Downing College Grounds, Cambridge University

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Dr Sarah Cousins' Presentation

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UALL Conference