Third edition of IPiE was held in Leuven.

The International Perspectives in Education (IPiE) conference was organized in Leuven on 8th & 9th April 2022. The conference was open to researchers and professionals in varying fields of education, from early years education to pedagogy and practice in Higher Education.

Prof. Oliver Holz, Lotte Geunis and Annelies Van Hove from the KU Leuven were involved in organizing this edition. We spoke to Prof. Oliver Holz about his experience.

You recently organised the 3rd edition of IPiE. Prof. Holz, you are one of the founders of this conference. Can you tell us more about this?

IPiE is the result of several European projects dating back to 2011. I have been involved in many of these (Erasmus+) projects for 20 years. Mostly, we developed materials for secondary and higher education. The materials were presented to a broad target audience during a ‘multiplier event’ as Europe calls it. Unfortunately the implementation and dissemination of the developed materials stops when the projects are over. Some of the involved colleagues decided in 2017 to look for a sustainable alternative. This team includes people from five different universities, namely the KU Leuven (Belgium), Leeds Trinity University (UK), the Izmir University of Economics (Turkey), the University of Lodz (Poland) and the University of the Aegean (Greece).

We started talking about something more long-term, something more sustainable and relevant for everyone involved in a teacher training programme. In 2017 we held a first meeting in Spain and the title International Perspectives in Education (IPiE) came to mind. We asked ourselves the question: “How do we see ourselves and what is our target group?”. We discussed that we did not want to aim for a specific discipline or domain, but take a broader view. People involved in different disciplines or domains relating to education should have a platform with us and bring their ideas or project to the attention of the public. Our target group is mainly people involved in higher education. It is our goal to bring international developments and perspectives to the attention. That is how IPiE came to life.

We organized the 1st edition in 2018, which was a ‘live’ edition. In 2020, the 2nd edition – in the middle of the pandemic - was online. This 3rd edition, here in Leuven, was a hybrid one.

We are very proud that after each conference, we produce a publication that includes all the perspectives we discussed during the conference. It has become a book series called Voices from the classroom.

We are already looking forward to the 4th edition of IPiE, which will take place in Turkey in spring 2024.

How did you hear about the Leuven Convention Bureau?

I have been working with a colleague in Vienna, Austria for many years now. She was responsible for conferences in her job. She worked together with several institutions all over Europe, including the VisitFlanders Convention Bureau who promote conferences in the Flemish part of Belgium. She knew we wanted to host IPiE in Leuven and introduced me to her liaison, Gemmeke. Gemmeke in turn introduced me to Karin of the Leuven Convention Bureau (LCB). Karin organized a site visit to various location in Leuven to find the best suitable to our needs. Afterwards, Priscilla handled the IPiE conference and has supported us ever since. It was very nice to be able to turn to the LCB for information. The LCB provides advice, but cannot help out with practical matters. Nonetheless, introducing us to contacts or pointing us in the right direction was very valuable. On top of that, the service of the LCB is free of charge. We will definitely contact you again if we want to host a conference.

Leuven as congress city, how did you and the IPiE participants experience this?

The participants loved Leuven. We started the first evening with a welcome reception in the City Hall where the deputy mayor of education gave a speech. People felt really welcome and appreciated. Leuven is small but lovely. The participants also found that Leuven is an innovative, dynamic city. The attractiveness of Leuven in terms of accessibility is very good. Unfortunately, Leuven is not yet known internationally. The conference ended with a dinner in the Faculty Club which was also a wow factor!

What everybody should know about (KU) Leuven is...

This comes down to 2 things.

1. You should know about Leuven - we are innovative, young and dynamic, with a university at the top of the rankings. We are hospitable and multicultural. We are an intelligent city.

2. When you talk about important cities in Flanders, don't just talk about Antwerp and Ghent, but definitely also about Leuven!