Paulo Freire Centenary Celebration (1921 - 2021)

18 Mar 2021
On Day 3 of the AONTAS Adult Learners’ Festival 2021 (Wednesday, 3rd March), AONTAS held an event in collaboration with the Paulo Freire Institute of Portugal to commemorate the centenary of Paulo Freire's birth in 1921.

Almost 90 participants from around the globe joined us for this event, highlighting the extent to which Paulo Freire's work has left an indelible mark on Ireland's adult education landscape, particularly community education. The geographic span of participants at this online event – including United Kingdom, Scotland, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia, and Malaysia – was testament to the international scope and continued relevance of Freire’s work across the globe.

Animated image of Paulo Freire (1921 - 2021)
In keeping a transformative approach to adult education alive, the event, chaired by AONTAS CEO, Niamh O’Reilly, set out to promote and communicate the work of Freire to a broad audience. This dialogue-driven event was informed by expert inputs from Dr José Pedro Amorim and Professor Luiza Cortesão, offering participants a space to learn about Freire and discuss the impact of his work.

Twelve breakout discussions took place, facilitated by members of the AONTAS Community Education Network (CEN) and others working in the area of community education. Through these discussions, participants responded to the question: “Is Freire still relevant today?”, which generated a range of provocative and energising dialogues. Look out on AONTAS’ communication channels for an upcoming podcast episode focusing on this event and Paulo Freire’s Centenary.

The event also marked the launch of the Call for Abstracts for the 37th Edition of The Irish Journal of Adult and Community Education: The Adult Learner. AONTAS Head of Research, Leah Dowdall, outlined the journal theme of Measuring Success in Adult, Community, and Further Education, which resonated with many of the discussions on Freire taking place throughout the event. Since its inception, The Adult Learner has provided a forum for critical reflection on the practices of teaching and learning, giving priority to subject matter that addresses disadvantage, social exclusion, and equality. Freire’s work therefore underpins much of the work discovered there, and in 2020 the Journal celebrated 50 years since the publication of Pedagogy of the Oppressed in the English Language. A copy of The Adult Learner 2020 can be accessed online and is available to all readers free of charge.

“Wonderfully supportive event - great to have the opportunity to discuss and share ideas that are close to our hearts.”

- Freire event participant

AONTAS warmly thanks all who attended this event and those who participated in the Festival week.

2,557,558 people were reached through AONTAS' Festival Communications activities. More information about the Adult Learners' Festival is available here