Europe in a changing world - SMOOTH


smooth.pngThe overall objective of the project “SMOOTH: Educational Spaces. Passing through Enclosures and Reversing Inequalities through Educational Commons” is to: understand, develop and accelerate the potential impact of education on reversing inequalities for active social inclusion of children and young people at risk in Europe, through introducing the emergent paradigm of the ‘commons’ as an alternative value and action system in the field of education (preschools, schools and afterschool programs- ASPs). The project is a collaboration between twelve European universities and is coordinated by Yannis Pechtelidis (Panepistimio Thessalias, Greece). The project will run for 36 months, starting in March 2021 and ending in March 2024.

Project description

In times of European crisis, expressed in social exclusion and marginalization, unemployment and underemployment, the disdain of democracy, environmental degradation and all but growing differences in quality in educational institutions (formal and non-formal), there is a need for exploring and building a different, collaborative way of living based on the commons, which enacts democratic ideals, egalitarianism, creativity, community through differences, and sustainable relations between humans and nature. Education is of particular significance in this regard, as it can operate as a catalyst for reversing inequalities that can take a variety of forms as they develop around different but articulated social factors, such as poverty, gender, nationality, age, disability, etc., and enabling social inclusion for all. Better quality of inclusive education should be promoted in order to prevent inequalities (Hippe, Araujo & da Costa, 2016).

SMOOTH critically draws out the implications of the commons for refiguring education and for social change in general, on footing of equality, sharing, participation, togetherness, caring and freedom. Universities, research labs, municipalities, N.G.O.s, museums, and youth organizations, in different European countries will work interdisciplinary and interculturally together to achieve the above aims from the point of view of educational commons building on the knowledge and experience of other relevant research programs. In short, a cross-cutting, cross-disciplinary analysis about the role of educational commons must be seen as crucial to provide European policy makers new, innovative and more efficient tools for proposing new policies to better engage children and adults in developing a more secure, resilient and sustainable economic, political and social model of Europe. The main research questions are the following: Can educational commons serve as a catalyst for reversing inequalities and an inclusionary strategy for children and youth at risk of social exclusion in Europe? & How can educational commons contribute to the reversal of inequalities?


These are the objectives of SMOOTH:

  • To cast a foundation and build a commons’ framework for a different understanding of educational realities (WP1). Also, to supply the next working packages with the theoretical materials for constructing and researching the educational commons.
  • To explore the adult participants’ (teachers, educators, practitioners and parents) thinking about the role of education in reversing inequalities (in the beginning of the project) and their view on what was actually done in the educational commons of the study (at the end of the project) to identify any possible shifts in their views and perspectives (WP2).
  • To introduce the adult participants’ (teachers, educators, practitioners and researchers) to commons’ logic, and the tools of work in projects ((Kilpatrick & Reggio Emilia), pedagogical documentation and a pedagogy of listening; and to design specific case studies according to the WP1 theoretical framework and the research findings of the primary part of WP2 (WP3).
  • To develop and implement a variety of case studies designed according to the educational commons’ logics. These case studies are experimental, open and contingent (WP4).
  • To investigate and assess the implementation and efficiency of the educational commons of the study in reversing inequalities and enabling active inclusion of children and young people at risk. The research is an open, experimental and contingent peer project with and by children and young people, where the children and youth will participate alongside adults as co-researchers or collaborators and play some part in the decisions pertaining both to the qualitative and quantitative research process and the assessment of the findings (WP5 and WP6).
  • To understand and analyze a. how EU official policy narratives engage with education (curricular and extracurricular activities), inequality and active social inclusion of youth and children from vulnerable social settings; b. what kinds of dominant beliefs and ideas about children and youth’s social, environmental and political activity, and their entitlement to participate in public life, they include. Moreover, c. to study whether the lived realities of the educational commons of the project conform to official ideas about inclusive, sustainable and resilient communities, in combination with renewed policy commitments in support of a more active social inclusion of marginalized parts of the population (WP7).
  • To communicate and disseminate the research findings to society and academy, and to make recommendations to policymakers and other stakeholders for improving and enhancing both formal and non-formal education for active social inclusion in Europe (WP8).
  • To conduct scientific and technical management of the project in such a way that expected outcomes and impacts will be achieved (WP9).

Role of Ghent University

Ghent University is involved as a partner in all work packages.


To be announced


Prof. dr. Rudi Roose
Department Social Work and Social Pedagogy
Phone number: +32 9 264 91 28