Date: October 23 (evening) - October 26, 2014
Theme: Spaces of Transformation and Transformation of Space
Location: Teachers College, Columbia University, New York
The term ‘space’ carries two meanings: time or duration and area or extension (Oxford English Dictionary, 2013). Questioning the role of ‘space’ with regard to transformative dynamics raises questions about the environments that hold – and are held by – processes of transformation. Space includes the physical, social, cultural, psychological, liminal, and temporal environments that guide and hold human action and interaction.
Since Jack Mezirow introduced in 1975 the notions of "perspective transformation" and "transformative learning" into the North American adult education literature, and especially in the last twenty years, research and writing in this area has proliferated. Mezirow defined transformative learning as the process by which we call into question our taken for granted frames of reference to make them more inclusive, discriminating, open and reflective so that they may generate beliefs and opinions that will prove more true or justified to guide action. Other views of transformative learning have emerged, based on different lenses—e.g., holistic, spiritual, embodied—or arising from a variety of theoretical perspectives, e.g., depth psychology, developmental psychology, lifespan studies. Any transformative learning experiences shape—as well as are shaped by—the spaces in which they occur.
What to Expect
We return to Teachers College, Columbia University, the original home of the Transformative Learning Conference, to explore characteristics of space and its importance for Transformative Learning. Teachers College—and the surrounding cultural, architectural, and urban experiences of New York City—will provide a rich, reflective space for us to revisit our history, honor the legacy of those who have inspired us, acknowledge what we know and explore our unfinished work. Organizers will offer heterogeneous—traditional and innovative—spaces to encourage dialogue and experimentation with new, yet rigorous forms of learning that may expand and transform our knowledge and community.
The conference design is inspired by the question: How can we organize in the space of this conference to encourage experimentation and new forms of learning that may expand and transform our community? We aspire to bring the outside culture and experience of New York City into the conference. We will also create communities within the conference for reflection, dialogue and deep learning about the connection between transformative learning and space!
Steering Committee and Partners
Special Advisor to the Conference
In collaboration with