History of NW 14

The original name of Network 14 was ‘Communities and their schools’, suggesting that educational research has to extend beyond classroom walls. 

Network 14’s history begins at ECER 1996, in Seville, Spain. Dr. Linda Hargreaves, then at the University of Leicester and a group of researchers interested in comparative empirical-analytical research on rural schools, initiated Network 14. Linda wrote the application to EERA, in order to establish the research network and did the most important work as link convenor during the establishing years and held this position from 1996 to 2006. In this position she was also member of the EERA Group of link convenors, developing the conditions for the carrying bodies of the EERA and ECER – the networks and their sessions.

Linda developed the NW’s conference programme each year, in cooperation with the members of the group of co-convenors – Dr. Lisbeth Åberg-Bengtsson, University of Gotenburg, Sweden, Dr. Janne Petarinen, University of Joensuu, Finland and Dr. Rune Kvalsund, Volda University College, Norway. This was the core group of the network, the carriers of Network 14’s identity and they have been with the network since it started.

The research interests of the network were rooted in comparative analysis of school-community relationship in rural education. A major accomplishment of this group of convenors was the development of a symposium and the publication of a special issue of reviews of research on rural schools and their communities in British and Nordic countries, for the highly rated International Journal of Educational Research, Vol 48(2), 2009, with the following contents written by researchers of the convenor group and presenters in the NW: 

  • Introduction: Reviews of research on rural schools and their communities in British and Nordic countries: Analytical perspectives and cultural meaning. Linda Hargreaves, Rune Kvalsund and Maurice Galton
  • Centralized decentralization - or decentralized centralization?  A review of newer Norwegian research on schools and their communities. Rune Kvalsund
  • The smaller the better?  A review of research on small rural schools in Sweden. Lisbeth Aberg-Bengtsson
  • Small rural primary schools in Finland: a pedagogically valuable part of the school network. Esko Kalaoja and Janne Pietarinen
  • Research in small rural schools in England - where respect and responsibility reside. Linda Hargreaves
  • Changes and challenges:  Key issues for Scottish rural schools and communities. Jennie Dowling
  • Reviews of research in rural schools and their communities: analytical perspectives and a new agenda. Rune Kvalsund and Linda Hargreaves

In 2006, Dr. Janne Pietarinen, University of Joensuu, Finland, became our link convenor and did a wonderful job for three years. At this time, we experienced a decline in submitted proposals of research on rural schools. It was decided that the network would probably gain from a thematic expansion with families and parents explicitly included in the network profile and a changed name – Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research. The convenor group was extended with three new members – Dr. Pedro Silva, Politechnic Institute of Lieira, Portugal, Professor Marta Soler Gallardt, University of Barcelona, Spain and Professor Raquel-Amaya Martinez-Gonzalez, Universidad de Oviedo, Spain. This clearly had a positive effect. The increase in submitted proposals translated into the need to organize parallel paper sessions, which hadn’t happened yet for NW14.

Professor Rune Kvalsund, Volda University College, Norway, took over as link convenor in 2009.

The number of proposals has increased almost every year, and NW14 chose to implement a double-reviewing system. The Network has maintained high standards in the presentations that are accepted, and attracts good audiences in most of its sessions.

Unfortunately, Professor Lisbeth Åberg-Bengtsson and Professor Marta Soler Gallardt are prevented from further work as convenors. We thank them both very much for their valuable contribution for Network 14.

After ECER 2010, in Helsinki (Finland), the convenor group grew significantly, with new colleagues from Czech Republic, Finland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom.

At the end of ECER 2011, in Berlin (Germany), Rune Kvalsund decided to step down after three very productive years as link convenor, and Dr. Joana Lúcio (University of Minho, Braga, Portugal) was invited by Rune and Linda to take over that role. Rune maintained his position as link convenor until ECER 2012, in Cádiz (Spain), after a year of valuable mentoring.

As of November 2013, Joana is NW14’s current link convenor, having officially taken over that role at ECER 2012. 

It has been NW14’s standard for the link convenor to act for a period of 3-4 years.


  • Rural schooling;
  • Urban schooling;
  • Place based and place conscious education;
  • Educational trajectories and transitions;
  • School-family-community links;
  • Parental and familial involvement in schools;
  • Family Education;
  • Evidence-Based Programs;
  • Positive Parenting