This Learning Unit gives an insight into the debates, assets, and challenges of education in a metropolitan city. In addition, students are introduced to the philosophy of education in relation to daily class practice and reflect on their own professional identity and cooperation skills. Interdisciplinary student teams collaborate with urban schools (and possibly other stakeholders, in function of the self-chosen research topic) to analyse and/or develop solutions for urban educational challenges related to topics such as educational organization (Who organizes education?), school-community partnerships (The school as an island or as a network?), school infrastructure (Schools of/for the 21st century.), inclusive education (Pupils in boxes? A mosaic of diversity)... By means of collaborative inquiry all steps of the research cycle are followed to analyse a specific situation (and in some cases suggest solutions for specific challenges).
The Urban Education learning community provides for an exchange of information, expertise and experiences (pathway #0) and focuses on five possible pathways to structure and jointly shape knowledge production and sharing regarding the selected topic (pathway #1-5): 

Learning Community Activities

Coming up

Pathway #1: Glossary of Key Concepts in Urban [Inclusive] Education Research 
Goal? Developing a common frame of reference, as a condition for international exchange between students and staff. 
Format? Annotated online glossary of key concepts, which includes an accessible abstract and key publications. 

Pathway #2: Tools & skills for collaborative extended (transdisciplinary) teacher teams 

Pathway #3: III. Using the city/space outside of the school as a learning environment (as well)   
Goal? Connecting schools and urban societal actors / embedding the school in its broader urban living environment. 
Format(s)? interactive city walks / (hybrid) spaces for interaction, connecting university, school and other societal actors.  

Pathway #4: Cross campus case study reports & discussions  
Goal? Case study research and cross-campus exchange. 

Pathway #5: a virtual educational tour (interactive, integrating frameworks & debates) in different European cities.   
Goal? Having students follow in the virtual footsteps of pupils attending school in the selected cities through a virtual tour, tapping into assets and challenges regarding education in a “super-diverse” context. 
Past activities

Pathway #0: sharing existing information, expertise & experiences 
Goal? Getting to know each other and each other's expertise better.  
Formats? Online pitching of existing learning activities; fieldtrips; …. 

Fieldtrip VUB MILO Brussels to CY Paris (Muriel Epstein & Philippe Bongrand) @ Gennevilliers campus on November 7 & 8, 2022. Knowledge sharing on the Urban Education expertise line, co-creation of pathway #1 (testing the format of a common glossary) and a school visit and city walk near campus.

Fieldtrip CY Paris (Philippe Bongrand & Muriel Epstein) to Brussels on May 20 & 21, 2022. Knowledge sharing regarding the expertise line 'Urban Education' within the educational master's programme MILO @ VUB (Brussels) and its partners (such as Huis van het Nederlands and Ladder'Op vzw) on the one hand and the COOTOPIA programme of CY Paris on the other hand.


How to get involved?

(Students and educators)
Contact the EUTOPIA curriculum team: Jo Angouri (J.Angouri@warwick.ac.uk) and Karen Triquet (karen.triquet@vub.be).

Learning Community Members

Click on names below to see picture and short biography
Lead: Joost Vaesen (VUB). Email: Joost.Vaesen@vub.be

Assistant Professor, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Multidisciplinary Institute for Teacher Education (MILO) Culture & Society
Joost VAESEN (° 1979) is an assistant professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) (Brussels, Belgium). He teaches “Global City-Region Brussels. Language, Policy & Identity”, “Urban Education” and several courses on subject didactics in the field of culture and society within the Educational master's program. Joost VAESEN obtained his PhD in History (2008) on the topic of the Governance of Brussels (1970-2004). Between 2012 and 2019 he was director of the new established Brussels Studies Institute (2012-2019), a Brussels-based interuniversity knowledge platform currently federating over 400 researchers.

Lead: Els Consuegra ​​(VUB). Email: Els.Consuegra@vub.be

Tenure track professor and vice-chairman at the Multidisciplinary Institute of Teacher Education (MILO)
Els Consuegra (°1988) holds a PhD in Educational Sciences (2015) and is a tenure track professor at the Multidisciplinary Institute of Teacher Education (MILO) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). Her research addresses teachers’ initial and continued professional development with a focus on equity and diversity issues. Consuegra is the vice-chairman the Multidisciplinary Institute of Teacher Education (MILO) and chairman of the Inclusive Education Commission of the VUB.

Assistant: Inge Bogaert ​​(VUB). Email: Inge.Bogaert@vub.be

Dr. Inge Bogaert
Teaching Assistant Learning Unit EUTOPIA Urban Education
Teaching Assistant Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Multidisciplinary Institute for Teacher Education (MILO)
Chair WG Internationalisation MILO

Partner: Muriel Epstein ​​(CY). Email: muriel.epstein@cyu.fr

Muriel Epstein is an Associate professor in Education Sciences at CY Cergy Paris Université. Her research group, EMA (Ecole Mutations Apprentissage), works on school transitions and learning in general. She teaches mainly teachers and professionals in the education system. Before entering academia, Muriel was a maths teacher and statistician. She used both qualitative and quantitative methods in her research. Her PhD is in Sociology and dealt with school dropouts. Her research focus has evolved from exclusion to inclusion, focusing in particular on how digital technologies can help to make schools more inclusive and leverage Teachers' professional development. She is interested in the development of hybrid training for future teachers, for innovation and inclusion of students.

Partner: Philippe Bongrand ​​(CY). Email: philippe.bongrand@cyu.fr

Philippe wrote his PhD in political science about French educational policies in socially disadvantaged areas. He is currently leading a research project about homeschooling in France. An associate professor in the CYU Teacher education Department ("INSPÉ"), he is the responsible for the "COOTOPIA" Degree, which trains school supervisors, teachers or city administrators to improve school-parents partnerships.

Partner: Encarna Atienza ​​(UPF). Email: encarnacion.atienza@upf.edu

Encarna Atienza is a tenured professor in the Department of Translation and Language Sciences at UPF. She teaches bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate courses in subjects related to Languages and Education. She has been a teacher of Spanish as a L1 and as a foreign language for more than 30 years and a trainer of teachers of Spanish as a foreign language. She is part of the consolidated research group Gr@el, a research group on language learning and teaching. She has participated in more than 10 competitive research projects as a research member. Her main lines of research are the analysis of educational ideologies, the development of multilingual competence, the evaluation of discursive competence and the promotion of reflective practice. She is currently interested in developing a critical attitude in the Spanish language classroom. See more here.

Partner: Havadi-Nagy Kinga Xénia ​​(UBB). Email: kinga.havadi@ubbcluj.ro

Havadi-Nagy Kinga Xénia is a geographer born in Cluj-Napoca (Kolozsvár, Klausenburg). She completed her Geography and German studies at the Babeș-Bolyai University and then did her doctorate at the Eberhard-Karls University in Tübingen with a thesis on the Austrian military border. She has been teaching at the Faculty of Geography at Babeș-Bolyai University for over 10 years, with her teaching and research focus on regional development strategies, rural areas, sustainable tourism and geography of the European Union.

Partner: Helena Gabrijelčič Tomc ​​(UL). Email: helena.gabrijelcictomc@ntf.uni-lj.si

Helena Gabrijelčič Tomc is a teacher and researcher of communication and media technologies. She lives in Slovenia and works at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering, Department of Textiles, Graphic Arts and Design. Her teaching and research activities include conceptualization, design and planning of communication media content (static and motion graphics, animations, digital illustrations), 2D, 3D and hybrid based graphic visualisations and extended realities. In collaboration with students, she also explores the innovations of learning approaches and creative processes in the fields of graphic and interactive communication.

Partner: Emma Smith ​(UW). Email: E.Smith.22@warwick.ac.uk

Professor Emma Smith is currently Head of the Department of Education Studies at the University of Warwick. She researches social justice issues in the field of education. She is particularly interested in the role that policy can play in reducing inequalities and closing gaps in participation and achievement at all levels of education. She has published widely in this field, most recently on the career trajectories of STEM graduates, and her research has been funded by the ESRC, Nuffield Foundation and the European Union. She is also interested in research methodology, especially the use of large-scale secondary datasets to address questions about educational equity, and is a co-editor of the BERA SAGE Handbook of Educational Research.