Cycling and Society 2024 in Porto

Monday 9th and Tuesday 10th September
School of Higher Education of the Polythecnic Institute of Porto
Porto, Portugal

Call for contributions open until 6th May

Cycling and Learning: Skills for Ecological Transition? 

Cycling is a way to open up space for emotional awareness of the natural elements and their intrinsic value – a crucial step in ecological repair. There is an embodied educational dimension, allowing people to imagine themselves differently in relation to the world. Balance, steering and power, the competencies of riding a bike, are combined with a sense of self-capacity, geographical awareness, and getting to know the routes and habits of riding. 

If lifelong learning sees the human experience as the soil from which soul can sprout and societies are (trans)formed (UNESCO, 2010; Kumar, 2017), then cycling is both a practice and a pedagogical tool that supports the development of key skills for ecological transition. It is important to consider practices and policies within which cycling is embedded and their relationship with socio-spatial inequalities and dominant economic thinking. 

In the context of the Anthropocene and predictions that climate change may meet tipping points in the coming years, it is crucial that we learn how our way of life can contribute to the balance of ecological systems. The European Council has recently recommended that ‘countries should make learning for ecological transition and sustainable development a priority in their policies of education and training’ (2022:4-6). It calls on all educators to prepare themselves for ecological transitions, something that will involve learning to act sustainably at individual and collective levels. 

BiPEDAL is a recent action-research project focused on the educative potential of velomobility, led by the Centre for Research and Innovation in Education in Porto, the local organisers of this symposium. Our quest has been to broadcast the representations and practices that highlight the relations between cycling uses and learning, biopsychosocial development, civic participation, and inclusion ─ as cultural motivators of velomobility. We look forward to building on this work and connecting with cycling research from around the world.  

Call for contributions

In this symposium, we invite researchers from all disciplines, scholars, educators, learners, artists, activists, and professionals from all sectors, to share their work on cycling. Consider making reference to following themes in order to engage with this wider discourse on cycling and ecological education: 

  • the educative dimensions of cycling practices, civil society organizations’ intervention, policies and other discourses and contexts relating to cycling; 
  • connections between cycling, sustainability and ecological transitions; 
  • critical perspectives on cycling policies, advocacy discourses and practices, among other contexts, regarding the lack of consideration, either of the educative dimensions and/or of its connections with the ecological transition. 

We are open to papers that are methodological, empirical, artistic, and theoretical in content. 

Contributions are encouraged to be creative. The following are examples of potential formats:   

  • Paper Presentation: 15-minute paper presentation with subsequent panel/audience discussion. Remote presentations welcome.  
  • Exploratory / debate Session: collective exploratory discussions and/or debate session around a particular theme or set of questions relevant to the conference.  
  • Group dynamics/discussions: shared experiences in movement, possibly outdoors, aiming to enhance the sensitiveness of participants in discussing topics relevant to the conference.  
  • Workshops (Bike Kitchens; Organizational Communication; Decision making processes; Volunteer management; Campaign organization; Ecological practices (repair, sharing, upcycle, etc., in preference related with cycling) 

The deadline for the call for contributions is 6th May (extended from 22nd April).

Call for Contributions

More information

We will be providing information about accommodation and travel. Registration will open in June 2024. We will charge a modest registration fee to cover catering, approximately 60 euros.