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Invitation: Announcing the Speculative Education Colloquium, April 21-22, 2020

“We found love in a hopeless place” – Rihanna

The world feels bleak too often today. Amidst global peril, many systems of education are re-entrenched in back-to-basics packets and regressive forms of online instruction. What’s worse, our sheltering within such ramshackle education solutions is being positioned as a temporary stopgap until students and teachers are returned to the weathered and stratifying systems of schooling from before. COVID-19 is redefining life for students and teachers globally and its dictates for physical distancing have reinforced standardized and isolating models of schooling across the U.S. 

But we know this doesn’t have to be the case. We know that, in the words of Rihanna, we can find the possibilities for designing for love in this often hopeless-seeming moment.

Teachers, students, researchers, parents, community members: we can imagine new systems of learning and new ways of interacting. Packets and online learning management systems are not the future of education we were promised nor the one that our students deserve. 

To this extent, we invite anyone interested to join us on April 21 from 11am-2pm (PST)/2-5pm (EST) and April 22nd from 9am-1pm (PST)/12-4pm (EST) to participate in an organic colloquium centered on reimagining schooling and educational research in an era of global pandemic, anxiety, and systemic rupture. We are building on the invitation extended by Drs. Na’ilah Nasir and Megan Bang of the Spencer Foundation to “reach for what might be possible that wasn’t visible before” in this present moment. With the cancellation of AERA, we are working on a very short timeline to find space for as many of us as possible to gather during days that would have been otherwise spent closing physical distance and learning from within each others’ presence. 

Though we are still developing the agenda (and we welcome your ideas!), several innovative scholars who have inspired our thinking will facilitate aspects of this colloquium. These speakers include:

  • Megan Bang
  • Angela Booker
  • Jonathan Rosa
  • Stephanie Toliver
  • Shirin Vossoughi
  • K. Wayne Yang

To be clear, this is an interactive gathering. Design–and specifically design for new possibilities in the work that we do–is central to what we expect to come out of these two days. Our hope is that we can collectively share diverse, interdisciplinary perspectives to spark imagination around new modes of education and research. We also recognize that participation in this colloquium will unintentionally privilege scholars with stable, consistent internet access–as much of schooling in this era of Coronavirus does. 

Participation is free. However, in light of increased Zoom bombings, we are asking folks to indicate their interest using this form. Links to join the discussion will be emailed on April 20th. 

We hope you will join us.

Nicole Mirra & Antero Garcia

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