English version




 International Conference

  Traveling Experiences and Lifelong Learning:

Adult education, discovery of new horizons and situations of alterity

 15-17 June, 2017

Rennes 2 University, Villejean Campus


Conference theme

For all time, travels have stimulated knowledge. In the West, Homer's Illiad, Marco Polo's Book of Travels, Caesar's War of the Gauls, or the study of Saint Brendan's manuscript tell us about the development status of the civilizations and the peoples met. They have notably fascinated the imaginations which contributed to the conception of European culture, born of cultural intermingling. If literature has related a lot about these journeys and intercultural encounters, these contacts have deeply affected, over the centuries, other subjects like philosophy, human geography, arts, history, but also mathematics, life and engineering sciences.

From the Middle Ages on, the travel is at the core of the companions' learning experience in order to conceive the work that will complete the first step of their training. More recently, and until the 19th century, travel has become a central element in the training of young aristocrats or artists, leaving for a “Grand Tour”. Finally, Jack Kerouac's novel “On the Road” has served as a model for the “Beat Generation”, in order to move away from material goods, through uprooting, meeting with otherness, and experiencing the unknown. It is also a way to find an answer to the quest for the self.

Thus, going on a travel educates and trains in a variety of ways. In the period of globalization, the link between travel and lifelong learning or education takes another dimension. In leading French schools, in engineering schools, in health and social training institutes, and even in faculties of medicine, education through travels is more and more important in curricula. Through mobility, one encounters the unknown, whether in the context of apprenticeship, or of humanitarian missions for healthcare professionals... and can bring together the experiences of identity formation, of the development of a transnational citizenship, and the acquisition of skills integrating the variety of relationship to the self, to the body, to others and to the world.

Post-modernity opens to the increasing global mobilities, chosen or not. New social practices democratize intercontinental travels thanks to low cost opportunities and to collaborative economy.

For the conference, different forms of voyages (tourist travels, study or professional trips, initiatory journeys) or of migrations (endured or chosen) are considered as opportunities to learn, to be formed, to professionalize, through intercultural, foreign meetings, and welcoming otherness.

Discussions can be fed by reflections on experiential acquisitions from voyages and relationship to the self, but also by the study of literary works, of training experiences or practices, of the analysis of pedagogical projects or of professional periods.

The conference will aim at “thinking about voyage”, in its past and contemporary forms, in its offering possibilities for training, in the context of lifelong learning, in curricula, but also as a way to develop professionally.


In this context, Educational Sciences are asked to enlighten, in this conference, the four dimensions that connect voyage and adult education (self-directed learning, self-development or autoformation in French):


 Axis 1: The biographic and existential dimension, that is to say the conditions under which the experience of a voyage becomes a particular moment on one's life. This specific moment can take the form of a trial, imposed to oneself or not, and which is the condition of a lived experience and of a potential transformation of the self and the relationships with the world.

 Axis 2: The pedagogical dimension, reflecting about the role of experiences of mobility in education and training or in supporting measures, in the field of institutional contexts (school, social work, educational therapy, health and safety education, etc.) or of apprenticeship. The objective is to analyze the kinds of learning made possible through a pedagogy of the meeting and the prolonged immersion in intercultural situations, aiming at emancipating learners.

 Axis 3: The dimension of professional development, studied through experiential acquisitions, issued from long-time experiences of mobility and of work in plural groups. The aim is to discuss the effects of professionalization during work abroad, the type of knowledge acquired, of skills mastered in these different places, professional environments or into contact with different craft cultures.

 Axis 4: The intercultural dimension, associated with the uprooting implied in voyage and migration, and the necessary learning to understand the new worlds met when put to the test of alterity. This intercultural learning consists of not only the mastering of linguistic skills, but also of cultural elements, that make sense through the other social universe, of social and relational know-how that induce one to invent new ways of seeing, saying, and doing.

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