Maynooth University’s HELLIN Conference 2018

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Register now for HELLIN Conference 2018 ‘Transitions: Lifelong Learning and Higher Education’.

  • Date: Friday 7 December 2018
  • Cost: €120 – Standard Registration / €50 Student Registration
  • Kickoff: Registration at 8.30am-9.15am.
  • Welcome: 9.30am with President Prof. Philip Nolan.


HELLIN Conference

Dr. Derek Barter chair of the Higher Education Lifelong Learning in Ireland Network (HELLIN) talks about the upcoming conference in Maynooth University on Friday 7 Dec. 2018:

Learning spans the lifetime of every individual. The contexts in which learning takes place cannot be separated from the influences of political, social and economic concerns. This year’s HELLIN conference will ask some difficult questions of the whole landscape of the formal education system. It will also argue for an alternative vision for education through the lens of Lifelong Learning and consider how things might be better achieved as we move through the Twenty First century.

Societies and the individuals within them are poised to experience unprecedented levels of uncertainty in terms of employment and job security. No longer able to rely on the ‘job for life’ it is predicted that in the future people will need to be able to move between multiple careers. To this end, we need to think about Lifelong Learning not only in terms of upskilling for current careers, but also for retraining or reorienting people utilising their accumulated lived experience.

Beyond the pragmatic concerns of the market the HELLIN conference will explore some important questions such as what kind of advice, guidance and information do people require to make good decisions for their education, career and wellbeing? How do we accommodate those who are currently considered non-traditional or atypical students such as matures, minorities, or people in mental health or addiction recovery? How do we reach people who would not normally regard education as being relevant to their life or circumstances? How do we present education and learning as something that can help us live, give life meaning, and understand ourselves and the world around us? And finally how do we manage these transitions currently and how can we manage them better for the future?


The HELLIN conference will explore these challenges. Senator Lynn Ruane, who herself entered education as a mature student and has faced significant challenges in finding her way through the Lifelong Learning process, will be facilitating one of the conference workshops. Speaking about the conference Lynn said;

“I am excited to be hosting a discussion on alternative entry routes to higher education at the HELLIN conference, and to be part of the wider discussion around the importance of Lifelong Learning. With the changes in politics, and society overall, there has never been a more important time to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to engage meaningfully with Lifelong Learning. I am excited about the work being undertaken by Maynooth University in this area, and by HELLIN overall, and I look forward to producing a white paper on the conference outcomes which I hope to present to my political colleagues in February of next year”

Conference Content

These are some of the themes which will play a central part of the conference discussion points.
Keynote speaker: Prof. John Holford, The University of Nottingham, Robert Peers Chair in Adult Education, will present: Wider lives need wider education: lifelong education for 21st century citizens.

Parallel Thematic Panel/Facilitated Workshops:

1) Lifelong Learning / Further Education – Higher Education and CPD (Policy and Practice)
Dr. Rory O’Sullivan, FE to HE Network; Wendy Fowles-Sweet, University of the West of England, Bristol; Deirdre Goggin, Cork Institute of Technology.

2) Experiences of Diverse Learners (e.g. older learners, migrant learners)
Dr Amin Sharif Isaloo, University College Cork; Professor Sabina Brennan, Trinity College Dublin; Dr. Patricia Doyle, Maynooth University and Recovery Academy of Ireland

3) Advice, Guidance and Information. Dr Aoife Kerrigan, Maynooth University and Inner City Renewal Group; Bernadette Walsh, Maynooth University and, Anthony Murray, Dundalk Institute of Technology

4) Alternative Routes to Higher Education. Damian Butler University College Cork; Sarah Grimson, Trinity Access Programme; Dr. Willy Kitchen, University of Sheffield

Plenary Session: Lifelong Learning Reimagined – An Alternative Vision for Higher and Further Education: Dr. Fergal Finnegan Maynooth University; Dr. Mary-Liz Trant, SOLAS; Professor Maria Slowey, Dublin City University; Dr. Bryan Maguire, Quality and Qualifications Ireland; Chair: Peter Cassells, Maynooth University


For further information, please contact: or 01 708 6062. To pay by invoice please contact:


Gemma is a nomadic writer, filmmaker, & journalist.
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