22 Jan 2024

Find Yourself Here with Everyday Learning Spaces: Adult Learners' Festival 2024

Adult Learners' Festival image shows a couch and table in a field with trees and mountains in the background, in colours of purple, yellow, orange and green

We’re delighted to announce that this year’s AONTAS Adult Learners’ Festival celebrates adult and community education that happens in everyday learning spaces. 

Join us this March to recognise and celebrate 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? 

Adult learning happens in community spaces across the country as well as in classrooms.  

People learn 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.  

People can 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 to what learners need, and what is locally available.   

Everyday learning spaces help 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. 

In these everyday learning spaces, there is an open call for anyone to “find yourself here.” 

What’s Happening? 

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

The first will focus on education policy, specifically on the cost of adult education in Ireland, and the links between education, poverty, and inequality.  

Happening on Monday 4th March at the Richmond Education and Event Centre in Smithfield in Dublin, this event will bring together educators, adult learners, and policymakers to discuss how class inequality and poverty continue to exclude people from under-resourced communities in accessing adult education, and identify specific advocacy actions that can make change happen.  

This event is open to all, but spaces are limited. Find out more and register here.  

The AONTAS STAR Awards 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. 

Hold Your Own Events 

In the coming days, we'll share more details about how you can get involved in the Festival from anywhere across the island of Ireland, and celebrate an everyday learning space near you. Find out more about the Adult Learners’ Festival 2024.   

Take a look back at last year's Festival and get some inspiration! 

Find us on X/TwitterFacebookInstagram and LinkedIn for the latest updates.  

Use the hashtags #FindYourselfHere #ALF24 #AONTAS  

Contact if you have any questions.