Programme 2014

Orwells “1984” 30 years on

Practising pedagogy in a watching world

This is the 9th ConCrit conference, and over the years, we have had many interesting and inspiring perspectives on the driving forces behind the unfortunate changes in the pedagogical and educational fields in recent years. Every year, the Concrit conference has offered an alternative and informal environment for professional practitioners, pedagogical researchers, students and volunteers, to share and discuss current agendas of pedagogical development across Europe.

Since the 2014 conference marks the 30 year anniversary of George Orwell’s futuristic society of Oceania in 1984, the question we want to ask is: How far is Orwell’s description of omnipresent government surveillance, of mind control, of Newspeak, of ’thought crimes‘ and of ’Big Brother’, from the present pedagogical reality? We would like to invite the participants of the conference to apply a 1984 perspective to the current political, institutional and pedagogical agendas.

The conference will consist of keynote speeches, group discussions, workshops, brainstorming and cultural events

The conference is completely free of charge.


The conference will take place in the park at Kollwitzplatz, in the area of Prenzlauerberg:



Friday the 23rd of May

16.00:                 Register for the congress

16.45:                 Official welcome and introduction to the conference

17:00:                Keynote speaker – Niels Kryger, Associate Professor, Department of Education (DPU), Campus Emdrup, Copenhagen, University of Aarhus, DK

“Education – and the never-ending story of growth”

The speech is an invitation to discuss and formulate an alternative to the neo-liberal understanding of investment in education as a means to economic growth, to increase GDP and competition among states. In the speech I’ll discuss how this investment logic has set a political agenda for the entire education sector even for preschool (kindergarten, nursery) characterized by rhetorics and campaigns that have a narrow view on learning as a means to economic growth and competition among states. It is accompanied  by monitoring- and control- programs to support this investment-thinking such as Pisa tests, language tests etc. In this context the watching “big brother” is not only an external influence on the individual, but programs also strives to install the” big brother” within children and young people telling them that personal growth and development primarily is about economic growth. However, there is a long and much broader tradition of talking about growth and development within the pedagogy. The speech will discuss this broader view on growth as a counter-movement to the narrow investment logic.

17.45:                 Workshops round 1 – motivation of ideas, creating groups and watching the movie “1984”

20.00 –                Dinner and social event


Saturday the 24th of May

10:00                  Introduction to day 2

10.15                  Keynote speaker – Kieron Hatton, Principal Lecturer in social work and social care, University of Portsmouth, UK

                             Policing the Poor: The surveillance state and inequality”

11:00                  Workshops round 2(including lunch)

14.45                  Cultural event

15:00                  Keynote speaker – Bethan Hulse, subject leader, PGGE Secondary Program, University of Chester, UK

                      Walls of Glass : Inside a State of the Art Academy in England

A critique of the neutrality of physical space in the design of new ‘Academy’ schools in England. A large number of new schools have been built in recent years under the Academy Schools Project in areas of high social deprivation with the explicit intention of raising the aspirations of students from poorer families. Taking one particular school building as an example, this paper explores how the architectural space has been physically and culturally structured as part of institutional regimes that the state has established to represent apparently rational choices that have been fabricated for children and families. The organisation of physical space, it is argued, is directed by conceptions of the self that are forms of corporate imposition and which deny the place of personal understandings and individual experiences.

16:00:                 Workshops round 3

17:30:                 Closing statements

18.00:                 Break (dinner, change of clothes, etc.)

20:00 –                Party and concert with Yuliesky Gonzales (Cuba) in Café “KohlenQuelle” (on Kopenhagener Str. 16)