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Global Network for Folk high school Research

The Global Network for Folk high school Research has been established to develop greater interaction between academics and practitioners interested in empirical research on folk high school pedagogy. By initiating, implementing and advancing projects describing folk high schools in different geographical and cultural settings the network seeks to deepen the understanding of the folk high school movements' identity and practice.

Globe, photo

The aim of Global Network for Folk high school Research (GNFR) is to be a forum for the presentation of existing research as well as a laboratory for the development of new empirical projects on the global folk high school movement. The network wishes to support projects that present the pedagogical practices of the folk high schools to an academic community. But equally important will be the production of publications based on cooperation with practitioners to support the work of educators in the field.


The network is based on the assumption that research on the folk high schools can serve a double purpose. Firstly, the analytical observation of academic research can enhance the self-awareness of the folk high school movement. Secondly, academic publication of folk high school research can strengthen the position of the schools and through this enhance the impact of the schools towards a more democratic society. 


The GNFR will seek to enhance the folk high school's position by building a research based description of the pedagogical identity and the practices of the global folk high school movement. Through empirical research GNFR will contribute to the development of a conceptual framework that describes the folk high schools in contemporary academic terms. A research field that covers such a diverse field of study as the global folk high school movement will by necessity have to be interdisciplinary, combining different academic disciplines as well as methods of empirical research.

The GNFR also includes research on pedagogical movements that are described as related to Grundtvig's pedagogical ideals. Such a connection has been made to the pedagogies developed by Paulo Freire (Haddad, 2020) and Rabindranath Tagore (Bhattacharya, 2010).

The GNFR will work towards the development of folk high school research as an international field of academic research.

Members and organizational framework

Organizational framework

GNFR was initiated in a cooperation between the Association of Folk High Schools in Denmark and the University of South-Eastern Norway. The network is organised with a core committee consisting of researchers representing different regions of the globe, as well as different parts of the global folk high school movement.


The core committee has the following members:

Professor Asoke Bhattacharya, Bangladesh
Director of Bangladesh Institute of Lifelong Learning

Melanie Lenehan

Principal and CEO of Fircroft College, Birmingham, UK

Garry Nicholson, England.
Adult Learning and Skills Manager at Westgate Community College
Associate Academic Tutor & PhD Researcher - The University of Sunderland

Dawn Murphy, USA.
Folk School Alliance of America
Marie Fielder Center for Democracy, Leadership, and Education

Associate Professor Jonas Andreasen Lysgaard, Denmark
Aarhus University

Sara Skovborg Mortensen, (Coordinator), Denmark.
International Consultant at Association of Folk High Schools in Denmark
Contact on email:

Associate Professor Johan Lövgren, (Chairman), Norway
The University of South-Eastern Norway
Contact on email: