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AHEAD: Association for Higher Education Access & Disability
AHEAD: Association for Higher Education Access & Disability

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AHEAD Conference 2020:

Through the Looking Glass: Reflecting on Inclusion from the Boardroom to the Classroom

When: March 26th – 27th 2020

Where: Croke Park Conference Centre, Dublin, Ireland

Of interest to: Staff and students in FET or higher education interested in reflecting on how to create inclusive learning environments - including disability support staff, teaching and learning professionals, frontline services staff (libraries, career placement etc.), college management, admissions and examinations.

The deadline for submissions has now passed however there will be plenty of opportunities at the conference to network and sharing information about your work.

Click here to view The AHEAD Conference Provisional Programme 2020

Click here to register for The AHEAD Conference 2020


“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"

"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to."

- Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

To meet the needs of our increasingly diverse student populations in further and higher education, we need to recognise that inclusion is everyone’s job - from the boardroom to the classroom and everywhere in between.

All staff on campus play a role in creating the conditions to ensure that all students, including those with disabilities, are given equal opportunities to reach their full potential. Interdisciplinary approaches and universal design thinking are required to enable us to deliver enriching, accessible and engaging experiences that work for all of our learners.

This international conference will ask contributors and participants to reflect on how we can support community approaches to including our diverse learners and shine a light on good practice in further and higher education across the globe.


“What is the use of a book without pictures or conversations?

- Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

 Keynote Speakers

Frederic Fovet

Frederic Fovet is an Associate Professor within the School of Education and Technology at Royal Roads University, in Victoria, BC, Canada.  He is also Program Head for the MA in Educational Leadership and Management.  Frederic's research and practice focus on Inclusion; his work is grounded in Disability Studies.  During his PhD, Frederic took on the role of director of accessibility at McGilll for a period of 4 years.  During that time he was responsible for rolling out Universal Design for Learning across campus and supporting faculty in a process of management of change; he has also explored in his research how UDL affects accessibility services in higher education and their format.  Frederic remains heavily involved in UDL, both in terms of research and on the ground implementation, and he works as a consultant with schools, colleges and universities.   Frederic was the instigator and Program Chair for the three first Pan-Canadian Conferences on UDL which took place in 2015, 2017 and 2019 in Montreal, Charlottetown and Victoria respectively. 

Frederic will be a keynote speaker at The AHEAD Conference with a talk titled 'Through the looking glass: A Utopian vision of what Higher Education Disability service provision might look like in a genuinely inclusive future' which will, in an interactive session, examine the contradictions and tensions which have become insurmountable within disability service provision to review sustainable leadership in a rapidly changing landscape.


Etienne Wenger-Trayner 

Etienne Wenger-Trayner is a globally recognised thought leader in the field of social learning theory, including communities of practice (learning networks) and their application. He has authored and co-authored seminal articles and books on the topic, including 'Situated Learning', where the term 'community of practice' was coined; 'Communities of Practice: learning, meaning and identity', where he lays out a theory of learning based on the concept, 'Cultivating Communities of Practice: a guide to managing knowledge'. Etienne's work is influencing both theory and practice in a wide range of disciplines. Cultivating communities of practice is recognised as a key component of a learning strategy in a rapidly growing number of organisations across private and public sectors. Etienne helps organisations apply his ideas through consulting, public speaking and workshops, he is also active in the academic sphere. He received honorary doctorates from the University of Brighton and the Open University. 

Etienne will be giving a keynote at The AHEAD Conference titled 'Come together: An exploration, with you, on how campus learning networks can support inclusion' which seeks to introduce and embed sustainable inclusive practice through the establishment of formal and informal staff communities and networks. The session will close with some practical tips on how to get started on a learning network in your setting. 



Staff from AHEAD Member Institutions* €199

*Most Irish HEIs and some ETBs are members (see - ahead.ie/currentmembers)

AHEAD Non - Member Rate €299

Selected Student Contributors – Free of Charge


If your organisation is interested in the features available on our sponsorship packages please contact Christine Hynes at christine.hynes@ahead.ie for more information.

Click here to view the Sponsorship Brochure


This event is funded by The Higher Education Authority

Logo of The Higher Education Authority


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