Seminar 5th July 1-2pm with Dr Kyungmee Lee

Before leaving for Seoul, Kyungmee is visiting us in Wales and we’re delighted to link her up with Cardiff University’s School of Social Sciences Educational Research Seminar Series. We’re meeting in-person at the Glamorgan Building Council Chamber and online through Zoom (joining link). There’s no need to register if you wish to join.

The title of her talk will be ‘Educational Researcher (and Machine) in the Posthuman Era: Methodological Reflections.

There has been increasing enthusiasm for and conversation on machine-assisted research innovation in the broad field of education and social sciences. This seminar will provide a brief overview of popular claims—both positive and negative—about fast-emerging posthuman conditions; and unpack some of the dominant discourses of innovative machine-assisted research approaches. The ‘back-to-person’ and ‘back-to-basic’ methodological approaches, exemplified by autoethnography and evocative academic writing, will be discussed as a critical alternative approach to rethinking machine-assisted research and researchers.

Who is Kyungmee??

Senior Lecturer in the Department of Educational Research at Lancaster University. Kyungmee is a co-editor of Studies in Technology Enhanced Learning. Her research targets the intersection of online education, adult education, and international education concerning issues of accessibility and inclusivity. Using a range of qualitative research methodologies and evocative academic writings, her current projects investigate the academic experiences of diverse non-traditional student groups in distance education settings. Kyungmee’s scholarship emphasises concepts of discourse, knowledge and power, understood through a broadly Foucauldian lens.

Book agreed

Just over a year after our ‘found chord’ double-symposium at NLC2022*, we were thrilled to hear today that our book proposal has been approved to take a place in the formidable Networked Learning Springer book series. Our proposal takes in updated versions of the symposium papers and weighty additional original chapters from Norm Friesen, Stig Borsen Hansen and Lucy Osler.

So, today, our vision for advancing phenomenology in networked learning took a big step forwards. It was so encouraging to read our proposal reviewers’ comments. This is the fruit of tremendous effort and commitment by the author/editorial team, some of whom have faced up against life’s severest head-winds. I feel a great sense of gratitude to chapter and book reviewers who have taken such a positive and constructive approach, all but guaranteeing that the finished product will be greatly enhanced. Of course, good feedback entails yet more work to realise that potential!

*The symposium papers are available now collated within the NLC22 proceedings available on the NLC website (pages 423-482).

Exploring networked learning and phenomenology

It was such a joy to meet up yesterday – with Dr Lucy Osler, Cardiff University philosophy and, in spite of many toils and trials, Dr Felicity Healey-Benson, in triumph following recent viva success!! Warmest congratulations to Felicity!!

Lucy joined Cardiff last summer from completing a post doc at the Center for Subjectivity Research at the University of Copenhagen, run by Dan Zahavi, attached to a project run by Thomas Szanto. We are thrilled that Lucy has agreed to provide an opening chapter for our collaboration, ‘Phenomenological Perspectives on Networked Learning’. Lucy aims to explain what philosophical phenomenology offers the field of networked learning and, since NL is a new field for her, we spent some time discussing its definition and distinctives. I am thrilled that Lucy is keen to help. Phenomenology has been a contested space, and many point to it as key to their research. There are all shades of claims made to verify a project’s phenomenological credentials, with anything from a brief mention of Husserl, to more elaborate frameworks. With our book, we aim to portray some of this diversity, disavowing sectarianism, but Lucy’s chapter should set us out with a voice from the same philosophical river of which Heidegger spoke.

I was happy to lend Lucy my copy of Chris Jones’ (2015) book and observed that many scholars coming afresh to NL struggle with the term, and even feel the need to seriously challenge it. I find it helpful to refer to Peter Goodyear’s blog post where he explains that, originally, networked learning was not ‘our’ choice, but that of a UK funding body:

In the circumstances – late 1990s, UK Higher Education – it was quite likely that Jisc would fund proposals that focussed only on individual use of online learning materials (given the interest in personalised learning and more efficient “delivery” of education). We were keen to create other opportunities: a more ambitious conception of what was possible and worthwhile. We weren’t introducing the term “Networked Learning” – we were expanding what it meant and beginning to shift the core of its meaning.


Thus, arguably more central to whatever else we mean by networked learning these days is the keenly felt need to contend for education along ‘critical and emancipatory’ lines. Although the newer NL definition takes a post-digital approach by presuming ICT, rather than explicitly mentioning it, I tend to agree with Chris Jones who still (see NLEC et al. 2021) holds out for the importance of explicitly circumscribing the definition with information technology because otherwise NL is in danger of becoming a ‘theory of everything’, and, quite possibly, nothing of very much analytical purchase, or saying much more than good old humanism… which was how it felt at the SHRE ‘relational pedagogies’ book launch on Tuesday, surely ‘connections’ that NL scholars have been ‘promoting’ for decades. Yet we all need to keep an eye on Hannah Sfard’s wisdom,  ‘On Two Metaphors for Learning and the Dangers of Choosing Just One.’

Jones, C.R. 2015. Networked learning : an educational paradigm for the age of digital networks. London: Springer.

Networked Learning Editorial Collective (NLEC) et al. 2021. Networked Learning in 2021: A Community Definition. Postdigital Science and Education 3(2), pp. 326–369. doi: 10.1007/s42438-021-00222-y.

Osler, L. 2021. Taking empathy online. Inquiry , pp. 1–28. doi: 10.1080/0020174X.2021.1899045.

Osler, L. and Zahavi, D. 2022. Sociality and Embodiment: Online Communication During and After Covid-19. Foundations of Science . Available at: [Accessed: 3 October 2022].

Sfard, A. (1998). On Two Metaphors for Learning and the Dangers of Choosing Just One. Educational Researcher, 27(2), 4.

Stig Borsen-Hansen’s VLOG from 2021: Heidegger, Networks and Dwelling

We’ve been in touch with Stig (orcid profile link) in the hope that he will contribute to the book we’re planning, and he kindly agreed to release the lovely VLOG he made for us in 2021. This was previously only available to those who had booked onto our 2021 workshop. Back then, when we moved online, the idea arose to broaden the Day 2 ‘Voices from the River’ session into a VLOG series. ‘Voices from the River’ is inspired by Heidegger’s metaphor concerning the need to learn phenomenology by doing it, as with learning to swim… as depicted in hanfod.NL’s swimmer logo.

In the video, Stig offers a few ideas on what a phenomenological lens can bring to networked learning, drawing especially on Heidegger’s discussion of bridges, e.g. in Discourse on Thinking (PDF). How can we have a dwelling (Gestell) in a society increasingly made uniform by technology? But have networks helped us to ‘dwell’, especially during the pandemic lock-downs? According to Illich’s vision, skill exchange is a key part of networked learning.

Stig’s ‘Philosophers of Technology’ is a good place to explore these ideas further – DOI link. You can read Stig’s astute response to the 2020 community definition on networked learning in Post-Digital Science and Education, which drew attention to a distinction between stipulative, descriptive and functional definitions. We loved his allusion that, “NL is much more of a bazaar, with a multitude of theoretical voices, than it is a cathedral.”

The VLOG is hosted, with permission, on, which does not impact on privacy or ownership as some video-sharing platforms.

Phenomenology of Practice in full colour

Felicity and I are deeply grateful for Professor Michael van Manen’s seminar yesterday. Prior organisation was a little stilted by email, and the announcement somewhat belated. Nevertheless, we were encouraged by the turnout, a respectful group of almost 50 tuned in. Michael gracefully took us through an illustrated tour of phenomenology of practice, with reference to the ‘Classic Writings’ book and his own research related to his work as a neonatologist.

Professor van Manen presenting

Michael kindly allowed us to record the presentation although his use of many evocative images makes it impossible to share very widely. If you would like to view, please get in touch with us using the info@hanfod.NL email address.

Here are references shared in the seminar:

Networked Learning Editorial Collective (NLEC) et al. 2021. Networked Learning in 2021: A Community Definition. Postdigital Science and Education 3(2), pp. 326–369. doi: 10.1007/s42438-021-00222-y.

van Manen, Max 2016. Researching lived experience: human science for an action sensitive pedagogy. Second Edition. London New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

van Manen, Michael 2012. Carrying: Parental Experience of the Hospital Transfer of Their Baby. Qualitative Health Research 22(2), pp. 199–211. doi: 10.1177/1049732311420447.

van Manen, Michael 2018. Phenomenology of the Newborn: Life from Womb to World. 1st edition. New York: Routledge.

van Manen, Michael and van Manen, Max 2021. Classic writings for a phenomenology of practice. New York: Routledge. Available at: [link to CU Library record]

I stopped recording at the start of the question/discussion part to help everyone feel less inhibited. I have anonymised and reproduced the four questions and answers here though:

Continue reading “Phenomenology of Practice in full colour”

hanfod.NL on the road – BSP in Exeter!

The Senior Common Room at Exeter Queens Building where the hanfod.NL banner had its 2nd outing

Congratulations to the teams (BSP & Exeter) on a brilliant event! It was a great privilege and pleasure to attend in-person after sampling online in 2020. I was a bit embarrassed to be thanked for chairing the methods session yesterday, when the hosts were all over it. I merely did a bit of sentence strangling, to allow a couple more questioners their say. Even that was made far easier by Zoe Waters who anchored the session.

Exeter Quay

I went to Exeter with few expectations but a fair bit of dread, and kept reminding myself of why I was going: literally fly the flag for hanfod.NL But fainter hopes were more than realised. It was so helpful to be exposed to a range of current scholars deploying a wide breadth of phenomenological ideas in a variety of ways. There were certainly opportunities to break the brain on thoroughgoing philosophy but also a range of ‘engaged’ papers. Even the read-out and zoom-streamed philosophy papers were more accessible at a conference. In her NLC2020 keynote, Prof Lesley Gourlay (sadly not at BSPAC2022 – one day Lesley 😉 raised the eventedness of lectures as special, and, if we aim for everything to be recorded, because we can, we risk consigning the arguably richer embodied congeniality of events to channel conducive, generative scholarly activity. At Cardiff’s graduation events, I missed the ceremonial announcement that we were ‘having a congregation’. When we concur to devote time and space of our short lives in these ways, it matters and the in-between chatter matters. In one conversation we reflected on how the pressure to raise production values messes with the messiness of exploring ideas, plainly admitting we do not have all the answers cuts against demands to be slick.

Exeter Cathedral in the sun, community café in shade

I don’t claim much depth to my phenomenology yet I was able to keep pace with many of the papers. Without mentioning names, someone in the methods session criticised the inherent reductivism in published frameworks that aim to help novice phenomenologists. Of course, such frameworks can be helpful, and this is especially the case where a ‘loose coupling’ leaves the researcher with guiding stars, rather than a prescriptive routine that squeezes out opportunities for developing reflexivity. Students can be in too much of a rush and instrumentalise the method instead of understanding it and their place in it. Phenomenology is beyond understanding for the best of us anyway… And yet, Max van Manen’s phenomenology of practice, not mentioned this week, does, for me, hit a sweet spot of impelling one to push for deeper grounding into the heart of phenomenology while laying out the parts in sufficient detail to avoid getting completely lost. Max was busy on a new edition of his 2014 book, so we were thrilled that his son, Michael van Manen, who did get a mention this week, agreed to present for us on the 14th (see previous blog post). I was not there to present a paper, at least I was able to encourage a few scholars even newer to phenomenology than I am: I was able to point to the place of oft dreaded canonical writers, drawing from Max van Manen’s framing them as ‘insight cultivators’. It’s not how much you cover, but how inspiring a sentence can be for analysis. With that in mind, I’ve set off on a 2-page per day odyssey with Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception. I’ve always believed in the importance of reading beyond oneself but MP seems harder than Gadamer! I will find my feet again in the Preface, which is more than enough to stretch the mind.

Statue of Floella Benjamin, famed Chancellor (not least for hugging graduating students rather than doffing or handshaking!

Back to the conference, another draw for me, and hanfod.NL interests, was that Dr Lucy Osler was presenting. One of her aims was to seek another way out of the dichotomy between technological optimism/pessimism and online/in-person sociality. A brilliant talk, there were clear links with the recent symposium papers and great potential for cultivation of insight!

Lucy Osler beaming in from Copenhagen on the first day of her lectureship at Cardiff! Just outside is the well greased elbow of Matt Barnard, indefatigable in his support of the event – big thanks to him!

Webinar 14 Sept 22, 2pm (UK): Michael van Manen

We are thrilled to announce a webinar featuring Michael van Manen (University of Alberta profile page). Endowed Chair in Health Ethics, Michael is the Director of the John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Paediatrics.

Michael van Manen

In just over three weeks time, on 14th September, Michael has very kindly agreed to rise early to help us understand phenomenology of practice from his perspective as a neonatologist (see webinar abstract below). We have scheduled 60 minutes for the presentation, leaving 30 more for questions and discussion.

Image: DrParthShah, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Among other notable contributions, Michael recently collaborated with his father, Max, to publish Classic Writings for a Phenomenology of Practice. This is an important work to support and demonstrate the heritage of the Phenomenology of Practice approach, also documented in the 2021 paper Doing Phenomenological Research and Writing.

A link to Michael’s recent discussion of Medical Ethics is offered below.

Webinar Abstract: Phenomenology of Practice: Ethics, Phenomenology, Value
What does it mean to do phenomenology directly on the phenomena that we live?

What distinguishes phenomenology as a method compared to other human science traditions?

How may phenomenology offer relevance and value to professional practitioners such as teachers, nurses, doctors, social workers, or other caring professions?

Phenomenology does not have to be an impenetrable philosophy but instead may be realized as a method to sensitively explore and explicate everyday human experiences.

Such understandings offer insights into the everyday ethics implicit in the practices of practitioners.

In this talk, I will discuss the tradition of phenomenology of practice, and the intersections of ethics, phenomenology, value, and technology at the hand of several health research projects. I hope to show the value of phenomenology for practice and also the value of practice for phenomenology.

We do hope you will join us on the day. Please email for the Zoom joining link or download this ics calendar file. We hope to record the session so you can catch up if you are unable to attend online.

NLC2022 ‘Found Chord’ symposium papers link

I remember well enjoying the 2020 conference from Cardiff and have fond memories of really important happenings, including hanfod.NL that arose from it. However, to be back in-person at Sundsvall was profoundly wonderful. I have some photos on flickr and Felicity composed brilliant montages, one of which is featured here but see the others and her brief write-up on her EmergentThinkers blog.

We are incredibly grateful to our fabulous partners especially because our combined work strengthened the conference and lay down a marker for phenomenology at it.

Montage from our ‘Found Chord’ symposium at NLC2022 (cc FH-B)

The papers have been made available on the conference website – this link to it might work for a while [I’ve also added the Zoom Breakout Room paper to my Cardiff Uni profile]. One of our next plans is to take the papers and create an edited collection with them. However, there may be room for a couple more contributions. If you have a good suggestion about that, please get in touch (via the contact form or email if you wish).

Re-purposing the time 12 & 14 September 2022 14.00-17.30 (BST)

We were planning a workshop to tide us over between the fact that we couldnt run with more than 90 minutes at the conference – it really needs longer than that! There has been little uptake and so we are planning to pitch the workshop off into next year. Meantime, we have some exciting work and plans for the slots, the Wednesday in particular with a special guest speaker webinar.

Just a quick post to invite anyone who would like to participate in another online-only phenomenology of practice workshop with us later in September, please email info@hanfod.NL to let us know and we can send you further details. As you might appreciate, there is a LOT of catching up to do after being away at the Networked Learning Conference so I may come back to doll this post up a bit when I get a chance.

These sessions are only introductory and yet the focus is so deep, many people, us included, appreciate returning time and again to the same matters so feel free to do so. Apologies to those who will struggle to make this timing because of time-zones. We have not forgotten you! We just needed to get something in the diary for after the conference where we could only do ‘Session 1’, see below:

Session 1 – 90 minutes – Online-only 12th September 14.00-17.30 BST

Introduction to phenomenological research (30 mins) and fundamental concepts (30 mins)

EXERCISE: crafting a phenomenological research question (30 mins)

Session 2 – 90 minutes – Online-only 14th September 14.00-17.30 BST

Doing phenomenological research: human science (e.g. gathering material through interviewing, observation) and philosophical methods (e.g., the reduction)

EXERCISE: writing lived experience descriptions


Adams, C., & van Manen, M. A. (2017). Teaching phenomenological research and writing. Qualitative Health Research, 27(6), 780-791. doi:10.1177/1049732317698960

hanfod.NL @nlconf #nlc2022

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Wonderfully, some of us are able to travel to an international conference to celebrate and enjoy this event, after an in-person hiatus of four years for regular NLC delegates. I am writing this as the coach takes me from Wales across England to Heathrow. Very sadly I am mindful that Professor Cathy Adams is unable to attend for unavoidable personal reasons. Her in-person presence will be sorely missed and we wish her well (hugs will be all the tighter next time, DV). This throws down the baton for Felicity and myself to make a success of the workshop on Tuesday afternoon, based heavily upon Cathy’s content and approach. For this 90-minute workshop, we are running in-person only (but offering another online only workshop 12 & 14 September 14.00-17.30 (UK time). The organisers sensibly opted for a hybrid of online and in-person attendance. Whatever the merits and compromises of trying to cater for both, the prospect of having to swing to online only again was very real and we would just have to make it work again. Life has become even more uncertain over the last months, and these very days, our conference host nation is deciding whether it will join NATO, something Russia may not take without disruptive retaliation… something every one of us travelling to Sweden has a heightened awareness of. Why travel when you could ‘videoconference’ is an obvious question that some will ask. Below are two slides from our zoom breakout room presentation to help explain. When I played spot-the-difference with these images with students yesterday, although there were smirks at those in the picture who were slumbering (a classic trope used by those who denounce lectures), their other responses chimed with Prof Lesley Gourley’s superb keynote at NLC2020, and the eventedness of this kind of gathering that was so much richer than what is sometimes mocked as an embarrassing attempt at anachronistic, domesticating knowledge transfer into passive recipient digital natives with hybrid learning styles and minimal attention spans.

In-person education (large class to group-working)
Online education (large class to group-working)

Image credits: Polly makes pancakes, cat daydream/distraction large class, solitude laptop, groupwork

Kyungmee’s voice

It is wonderful to hear Kyungmee speak on this episode. I’ve known Kyungmee for several years since she is a tutor on the doctoral programme I studied with, at Lancaster’s Centre for Technology Enhanced Learning. I particularly love the attitude she exemplifies that gracefully refuses to accept an unhealthy status quo. This recording previews Kyungmee’s paper which she is due to present, en route to England, via Seoul, Turkey and then Sundsvall! Kyungmee makes a fascinating case for using Lived Experience Descriptions (Van Manen, 2014) alongside evocative writing in autoethnography. Thank you Kyungmee! Not long now… Follow her on Twitter.

Daisy chain cc by jamessant on Flickr.
Kyungmee previews her #NLC2022 paper

Mike’s daisy: spoken

man's left hand holding a 2-flower daisy chain above grass with daisies.
How many daisies does it take to make a chain? Now we have two!

I recorded this ‘daisy’ as a prelude to our symposium, ‘Networked learning and phenomenology: a found chord’, and note it is published one month before the start of the 13th International Conference on Networked Learning.

Mike Johnson, speaking without notes, about speaking.

I promised that I would follow Greta’s recording, however, it was always, following the daisy chain metaphor, going to involve some violence to what she did, in order to ‘attach’ this recording to her’s. Indeed, I felt torn between Greta’s brilliant scholarship and erudition, that she read it out, [even more terrifying for me now is that Greta later informed me that she wasn’t reciting!!!! I am scrabbling at the foot of Greta’s Eiger-like scholarship, but anyway…] and something that Gadamer (2014) discusses concerning recitation:

Reciting is the opposite of speaking. When we recite, we already know what is coming, and the possible advantage of a sudden inspiration is precluded.

(Gadamer 2014, p552, in the Afterword)

Thus, for my recording, I felt compelled to try and speak without notes. Just 10 minutes after all… Should be easy! No. Apart from exposing the huge gulf between my ‘beginner’ level scholarship in phenomenology and Greta’s astonishing expertise, and the danger of my sliding into waffle, part of the dread of this recording is my own reluctance to foist more verbiage into an already cluttered world. You might be able to sense the awkwardness in my voice. So I don’t have a verbatim transcript for you but will add the following…

I wished to link this post with Steve Fuller‘s 2014 argument in his keynote, ‘The Lecture 2.0’, at NLC2014 (watch on YouTube and hear Nina in the questions at the end!), that brand-conscious/savvy Universities ought to only put out content by the ‘best’ performers. That was a provocation, and sat alongside other notable points which I take up here:

  • The lecture is not mainly about the faithful conveyance of knowledge to the next generation. I am bored of the classic medieval image, as can be seen in Wikipedia’s Lecture entry, of some authority figure at the front reading from the only book and students having to write it down to have their own copy of the book. Steve points out that, even then, there was more going on…
  • The lecture, in the enlightenment sense, is someone exemplifying ‘daring to know’ (after Kant). Academic freedom was a ‘guild right’; the academic is someone whose broad horizon can review much, and make discriminating judgements about the field, and improvise upon that, to ‘riff’ off their notes, to think in public, straying from the script, somewhat like a jazz performance.
  • The text is still vital, spoken improvisation is on the basis of text.
  • The student in this setting is training for freedom, in that academic sense of freedom to critique, based on broad/deep scholarship. It is something that maybe only happens formally in viva exams but has many practical and practice-based applications, such as in healthcare within multi-disciplinary team meetings or giving an introduction to a musical performance (I’ve enjoyed Jonathan James (Twitter) doing this for the BBC, here more reciting, here more improvised ).
  • Merely dealing in orthodoxy within lectures strangles the enlightenment ideal of growing the capacity to think for yourself and compete (and win) an argument. Adept at this, I cant be a ventriloquist – I have to take responsibility, weigh, measure, understand the audience and adapt the speech. I’ve explored this with staff in a seminar around ‘learning to think in public’ – mindmap here.

And then… I must also link these ideas with our Networked Learning Conference Symposium paper is that, in our analysis, a zoom breakout room, a virtual meeting, thins out self-revelation, the truth of the person that we cannot filter so well when in-person. Nothing but in-person speaking obliges ‘unplugged’ students to stand behind their words.

Where do spoken words arise from? Is there not something uncanny in the unscripted spoken word?


Recorded using Audacity. Photo on Flickr.

Introducing daisychain recordings with our first, by Greta

Daisy image CC by Kelbv on Flickr
A single daisy for our first recording in the daisy chain series – image CC Kelbv

To herald the Networked Learning Conference in May, we aim to release short audio reflections, linking with our symposium, and possibly each other’s recordings. Practically, we have in mind those who are curious about exploring networked learning and phenomenology, with the hope of inspiring more people to join in. However, part of the reason is that we just can’t keep quiet for long! – it must be admitted that there is an element of self-indulgent enthusiasm behind this mini-project 🌞

We love metaphors: daisy-chains are delicate, free, and carry a universal, humble beauty. They are often made in a shared between-time, and bestowed as a happy love gift in-person. We hope for you it is the thought that counts. When, as in the COVID-19 pandemic, mitsein (being-with, after Heidegger) may be in short supply, it behoves us, as we can, to humanise interactions and mitigate alienation. We hope hearing our voices will help you to connect more richly with us and the ideas we present. The voice alone is not video, but, as McLuhanesque hot media, may be all the more intriguing for that.

We are beyond delighted that Dr Greta Goetz, University of Belgrade, agreed to start us off. As one might expect, given her 2021 PDSE article, the recording is a singular work of scholarship in its own right, weaving many redolent ideas from her deep engagement with phenomenology. Mike (2008, p330) has styled information technology as ‘a chain of weak links’, which is also a feature of daisy chains, so we invite you to take advantage of the recording while it, the transcript and references, are still available. Honouring Greta’s authorship, the 11 minute recording is to be found on Greta’s site using this link.


Goetz, G. (2021). The Odyssey of Pedagogies of Technoscientific Literacies. Postdigital Science and Education, 3(2), 520–545.

Johnson, M. R. (2008). Investigating & encouraging student nurses’ ICT engagement. In T. T. Kidd & I. Chen (Eds.), Social Information Technology: Connecting Society and Cultural Issues (pp. 313–335). Information Science Reference.

McLuhan, M. (2001). Understanding media: The extensions of man. Routledge.

symposium AND workshop accepted for nlc22

It was with great relief and gratification we heard that our double symposium and phenomenology of practice workshop proposals were accepted for the coming conference. This was something of a make-or-break moment for our plans and this post celebrates the hard work of our collaborators, now including those who reviewed our work! The two reviewers made excellent comments for us to take forward, into the conference and our hoped for edited collection as part of the Networked Learning Springer book series.

Having missed out on an in-person event last year due to the pandemic, it is a marvellous prospect to be looking forward to hosting a phenomenology of practice workshop at Sundsvall in May is a marvellous prospect. We think the online version worked quite well but now we hope and plan in earnest for something even better.

The prospect of the symposium, and beyond, causes us to reappraise what hanfod.NL stands for and how it defines phenomenology. The draft symposium introduction draws a distinction between phenomenology and phenomenography and one reviewer thought this was a distraction. However, we are acutely aware of our audience, that many of those unfamiliar with these concepts will presume there is a close link, particularly because the confernce has routinely featured phenomenographic articles but less so phenomenological ones. In a similar way, notable by its absence will be contributions from the interpretive phenomenological analysis stable, because IPA is arguably reducable to methods of data gathering and analysis. We agree with the view that a better fit for the ‘P’ of IPA could be ‘psychological’, as this would seem a better match with what IPA articles offer… rather than evoking ‘wonder in the face of the world’, as was dear to the Utrecht School

While trying to stay true to values of openness, we continue to consider and define what hanfod.NL is about, perhaps with respect to the authors we draw from, or certain styles of thinking and practices…. It is an exciting journey! Our tickets are booked! Hope you can join us!?

Hope you enjoy this Sundsvall photo group found on Flickr:


Symposium Progress

Mike, Cathy, Felicity, Jean, Kyungmee and Nina met using Jitsi (soon afterwards joined by Greta!)
Mike, Cathy, Felicity, Jean, Kyungmee and Nina

It was a high delight even to meet virtually last Monday, 1st November, to align our objectives and aspirations for a phenomenology and networked learning symposium at the next conference 16-18 May 2022. Felicity and Mike are gently pinching ourselves – we feel like we have a ‘dream team’ of enthusiastic participants who can genuinely carry the hanfod.NL vision of bringing phenomenology into the spotlight within networked learning.

  • Greta Goertz (2021 PDSE article) – Re-presencing the digital trace in networked learning design
  • Nina Bonderup Dohn – to discuss Merleu-Ponty’s importance for networked learning research (YouTube video abstract)
  • Kyungmee Lee (Twitter profile) – exploring what phenomenological ideas can bring to writing ‘thick description’
  • Jean du Toit and Gregory Swer – reflect on student reports of alienation and self-awareness while studying in a pandemic. (Meet the authors in this YT video and a recent unrelated article in Teorie vědy)
  • Felicity, Mike, Cathy Adams and Joni Turville (Twitter profile) bring a phenomenology of practice lens to the student’s experience of Zoom breakout rooms.

Some of the discussion was about having five solid full papers when a symposium is usually four papers, but we have ambitions around filling a double-symposium and developing something substantial to make good use of the time.

We established a few dates: Mike to draft a symposium proposal outline by 26th Nov. 10th Dec to send around full drafts of papers to each other for feedback and responses, and comment on the symposium draft. 3rd Jan 2021 for final full papers, ready for submission as soon as possibly prior to the 7th January target for Networked Learning Conference scientific review.

In sympathy with Greta’s idea of retaining control of the traces we leave within the Internet, we chose to use Jitsi for this meeting and it performed admirably although browser-based (sometimes app-based video-conference tools are more stable). Unfortunately Greta was delayed and so unable to join the group photo-call.

Planning for the symposium in NLC2022

We feel like our 10/11 June workshop was so long ago…. although it is a happy memory. Another small example of overcoming in the face of the pandemic… However, if you had a summer like us, writing was not easy to fit in. A busy life can really desiccate attempts to enter into a phenomenological attitude…

We hope you have managed to relax a little over the ‘holiday’ period – you may be still trying to do so.  However, we can’t rest on our laurels for long – we have started to properly look forward to next year’s in-person conference – a very exciting and hopeful prospect, given global events.

If you have time, take a look at this site which takes an informal look at the host city: Mike really tried to find a land route to Kolding in 2020, and is wondering whether not flying is going to be a realistic option this time without having to immitate Phileas Fogg!

Nacksta Sankt Olof, Sundsvall, by Hans Lindqvist, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of hanfod.NL’s aims is to organise a phenomenology and networked learning symposium – the deadline for symposium proposals and full papers is the same –  October 8th. We need a clear idea about the viability of a symposium well in advance and so we’re inviting you to join us. Please email with your abstract by 2nd September in order for us to meet online for feedback and review on the 3rd at 2pm (GMT) – you are welcome to join us. We will email the zoom link you if you send us your abstract.  

We look forward to hearing from you (soon 🙂

‘Get the spirit and do it’ – Greg & Jean

Having moved to an online event, abandoning the Petcha Kutcha session that was to begin day two, there was no reason why we could not continue to gather VLOGs. We are very conscious that networked learning draws mainly from North America, Europe and Australasia. So I was delighted when my tentative email to Jean and Greg in South Africa was met with such enthusiasm. Jean’s article (2020), ‘Living in the age of the embodied screen’, in the Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology ( ) had drawn Mike’s attention when we were looking for potential contributors, and the insights, building upon Merleau-Ponty, really chimed with the article we’re developing around learners’ experiences of Zoom Breakout Rooms. Indeed, there seem to be many positive points of connection with networked learning and we hope to continue to explore and grow this in future. But perhaps the highlight for me was Jean and Greg’s reply to my hopelessly broad question about learning technology and phenomenology. They recommended not going overboard on covering the canonical phenomenological writers. Spend time getting the hang of the gist/spirit of phenomenology and then getting on with doing phenomenology, which wonderfully encapsulates the main message of the ‘Lleisiau o’r Afon‘ (Voices from the River) series. Thank you so much Jean and Greg!

Great day! #hNL21 is full!

Looking at it pre-event, we can say that the hanfod.NL initiative has been a success, even though there are many alluring aims still in view, as Nina shared the other day. But today we celebrate a new challenge – being on the brink of oversubscribed for hNL21! The event is a workshop and this means we have to limit numbers to assure quality and feasibility of good facilitation.

Participants’ interests are wonderfully diverse. Some are new to phenomenology, others have taken the course with Cathy in Alberta. Some are young postgrads, others are academics of many years’ good standing. Some can trace a direct link with networked learning research, others are coming more for the methodology refresh with far flung research questions – this can only increase the chances of expanding everyone’s horizons!

A number of participants have so encouraged us with words expressing their delight at finding us, perhaps because they have felt isolated. Mutual encouragement is a big reason of we are here! Someone was moved enough to become our first GoFundMe donor (apart from Felicity and myself!)!

AND our dear friend Stig (University profile page) has provided us with a superb example of ‘insight cultivation’ in a VLOG that touches on Hd’s concept of ‘dwelling’ with reference to networked learning. This is exclusively available to event registrants. The VLOG is entitled, ‘Heidegger, Illich and networks: A short tale of how deictic discourse turned up on my social media.’ You can find out more through Stig’s new book, Philosophers of Technology.

Stig Børsen Hansen. Associate Professor, University of Southern Denmark

Sadly, we are unable to accept further registrations. We had considered over-offering or operating a waiting list but neither of these appeal at our scale. Nevertheless, our mission is ongoing and if you are interested in collaborating with us at the conference (where we hope to run a symposium and a workshop) and beyond, please do get in touch.

Letter from NLC co-Chairs

We were so happy today to receive a letter from the co-chairs of the Network Learning Conference Consortium. You can read the letter here. What was especially pleasing for us is that both our node events, ourselves and Malta, were very formative ideas this time last year and no doubt there was some nervousness about NLC investing in node events like this. This may be just my perception but I think that both events and the NLC have gained strength and momentum through our initiatives and it appears that the co-chairs are encouraged enough to issue a wider call for others to take up the opportunity, whether that’s through a one-off event or something more enduring.

GoFund hanfod.NL :)

After months of persistent phoning and thinking of ways forward, Mike and Felicity met at Barclays Llanelli so that we could arrange to ‘wet sign’ a mandate to share a bank account and secure full access and transparency viz hanfod.NL funds. This paved the way for reclaiming expenses from last year and setting up a GoFundMe page so that we can receive donations. We have set up hanfod.NL as a non-profit and, from the initial vision, the events we organise are free… but that does not mean they are cost-free to us! If you would like to share the burden, or even just encourage us in this work – totally done in our ‘spare time’ (ridiculous phrase when Felicity is home-schooling!) – please do donate something, however small. Thank you!

Gadamer on experience

Many seek to investigate experience(s). Experience is one of the keywords that demarcates qualitative from quantitative research. However, if we will attempt to investigate it and represent it for others, we must ask, ‘what is experience’? I fear that many never pause to consider this but ways ought to be found to trouble the surface of our assumptions before we default to techniques and methods, such as slicing and dicing interview transcripts.

Gadamer notes that in the continuity of experience, just as music is more than the notes, but also the motifs which they support, experience as a whole, “…is not an act (a becoming conscious) and a content (that of which one is conscious). It is, rather, indivisible consciousness. Even to say that experience is of something is to make too great a division.” (p226 2013ed)

In the very act of observation, experience is already fractured.


Photo credit: CC Michael J

UPDATE! hNL21 going online

That’s right – we have succumbed to covid! However, like the rest of a hopeful humanity in 2021, we intend to rise – phoenix-like – reaping lessons from the pandemic to maximise the benefits of online events. We earned our stripes with NLC2020 last May, which successfully flipped online, and were inspired by the classy BSP conference in September. So, do watch this space for how we plan to do #hNL21 🙂