Adult Learners’ Festival

The AONTAS Adult Learners' Festival 2024

4th to 8th March

Everyday Learning Spaces #FindYourselfHere

Thank you to everyone who got involved in this year's AONTAS Adult Learners' Festival. There were a fantastic 166 events taking place all across the island of Ireland over the course of the week. 

We are so grateful to everyone who got involved. Click here to take a look at the events

We were also delighted with our two Dublin-based events. "Who Does It Cost?" - our policy discussion - was a rounding success last Monday 4th March, with discussions of how to strengthen investment in adult learners in Ireland. We'll have more coming on this soon as we launch a national campaign on increasing financial supports for learners. Find out more about Who Does It Cost here.

We also had the fantastic AONTAS STAR Awards in Croke Park on Friday 8th, featuring special guest comedian and radio presenter PJ Gallagher, and the fantastic Dublin Uklele Collective.

Congratulations to all the winners and many thanks to our fantastic judges and presenters. Find out who won at the STAR Awards.


This year’s AONTAS Adult Learners’ Festival celebrates adult and community education that happens in everyday learning spaces. This year, we celebrate safe and supportive learning environments, wherever they may be, with our theme "Everyday Learning Spaces – Find Yourself Here".

We welcome educators and learners to join us this March to celebrate and recognise how people learn in lots of different places and spaces in communities across the island of Ireland.

Meet us in these everyday learning spaces – and find yourself here.

What do we mean by everyday learning spaces?

This is where adult learning happens in communities across the country, not just in classrooms but in libraries, digital hubs, learning pods, or learning facilitated in parks or social spaces where people can sit together, eat, and share ideas.

With global changes and challenges in areas like technology, and climate change and sustainability, we need to invite people into flexible and varied learning environments that are diverse and open, while being safe and respectful. 

We’re thinking about how to use new approaches to teaching and learning, like universal design learning or digital tools and assistive technology. With everyday learning spaces, there are opportunities for people to learn in a way that suits them, whether that’s through individual reflection, collaboration, or storytelling – or a combination! Learners are the focus and take an active role in shaping these spaces.

These environments can be adaptable and respond to what learners need, and what is available in their local areas. The learning helps people with real-world challenges, whether that is older learners struggling with using Zoom or online banking; people with disabilities who need different forms of communication; or people with caring responsibilities who need flexibility.

Learning can be creative and practical. People can have the option to build, make, or create things as they learn, whether that’s an art class, woodworking, or plumbing workshops.

Learning can be immersive and interactive, it can be games-based, it can be one-on-one or in a group. It can help individuals, and also have a positive impact on the wider community.

Everyday learning spaces are an open call for anyone to “find yourself here.”


Hold an Event  

Let us help you promote and raise awareness of your work in adult and community education!

"Walk and Talk" event from Tipperary Education and Training Board FET Campus in Clonmel last year!

Get involved in the Festival from anywhere across the island of Ireland, and celebrate an everyday learning space near you! Hold an event during or around the Festival week and use our FREE resources to promote it.

Click here to access the free Event Guide and Resources. 


More resources by post: 

Submit an event to our website, and the first 100 events that are submitted before 26th February can request a FREE resource pack to be posted out to you with printed posters, pens, bookmarks and flyers to help you celebrate.

This year, we will support the first 50 organisations to submit an event with a €50 voucher, which you can use to buy resources or to support learners. Submit an event as part of the Adult Learners’ Festival 2024.  


Social media and print media:

We also promote Adult Learners’ Festival events on our social channels and website, and through the media. Last year we reached 5.2 million people! 

We'll be sending out press releases around the Festival so don't forget to send us photos of your event. You can take Clonmel as an example (see image above) and send photos and details to your own local paper too!  

Find us on X/TwitterFacebookInstagram and LinkedIn and use the hashtags #FindYourselfHere #ALF24 #AONTAS  

Contact if you have any questions.  


What Else Is Happening? 

We’re holding two big events in Dublin during the Festival week.  

"Who Does It Cost? How greater investment in adult learners will strengthen Irish society"

Monday 4th March 2024 

Our opening event of the Festival we will bring together AONTAS members and policy makers to explore policy solutions to the growing levels of poverty and income inequality for adult learners.

Happening at the Richmond Education and Event Centre in Smithfield in Dublin, this event will bring together educators, adult learners, and policymakers to discuss how greater investment in adult learning would help address growing levels of poverty, and work towards addressing inequalities in Irish society.  

The AONTAS STAR Awards 2024 

Friday 8th March 2024

The annual AONTAS STAR Awards are the culmination of the week of celebrating adult learning. Taking place on Friday 8th March in Croke Park, the STAR Awards celebrate and recognise the very best in adult, community, and further education across Ireland, and raise awareness of the fantastic work by education providers that makes a real difference to people’s lives. 

Because we want to really celebrate and recognise the educators and learners shortlisted for these awards, this is an invitation-only event, but we will be sharing all the action on our social media and our website. Learn more about the STAR Awards here. 


Looking back at the AONTAS Adult Learners' Festival 2023: Create Your World

Last March, we hosted two major events in Dublin as part of the Adult Learners' Festival. Kicking off on the morning of Monday 6th March we had “Stepping Stones and Stable Roots: The Versatile and Enduring Strength of Community Education” at the Richmond Education and Event Centre in Smithfield, Dublin.

We brought together educators, adult learners, and policy-makers to discuss the unique value of community education in Ireland and its relationship to the new Unified Tertiary Education System. Find out all about "Stepping Stones and Stable Roots".  

Then we had the annual AONTAS STAR Awards, the grand finale of the Festival, on Friday 10th March in Croke Park in Dublin. The STAR Awards celebrates and recognises the very best in adult, community, and further education across Ireland, and raises awareness of the fantastic work by education providers which is making a real difference to people’s lives. Take a look at this round-up of last year's winners and more about the celebration. 

We also invited everyone involved in adult, community and further education to join us for the Adult Learners’ Festival and register any adult learning events during the week of 6th to 10th March through our new website at Early birds received a FREE resource pack with promotional materials and a €50 voucher to contribute to event costs.