Conference 2015:   Transforming the Heart of Education  – June 10th-12th


Children, mindfulness and learning

How can we create wholesome learning environments conducive to children and youth unfolding their innate capacity for empathy and compassion? What concrete experience is there in this field? What research has been done and what do the results show? What tasks lie ahead? What are the challenges and opportunities? Where might we collaborate?



On 10-12 June 2015, Interacting Minds Centre, Aarhus University, the Programme for Teacher Education, VIA University College and Børns Livskundskab (The Danish Association for the Promotion of Life Wisdom in Children) are hosting a conference and workshops on relational competences, empathy and mindfulness in education.

The conference features the newest insights from both research and practice, as researchers and practitioners present results and experiences from ongoing research projects on relational competence, mindfulness, presence and empathy in schools and teacher education in Denmark and abroad.

The conference is aimed at teachers, school management and policy makers as well as researchers.


The first day of the conference focuses on concrete experiences from the project on relational competences that BL and VIA have collaborated on for a several years.

On the second and third day of the conference, a number of prominent researchers and practitioners from Denmark, Europe and North America – including Kevin Hawkins (Mindfulness in Schools, UK), Prof. Peter Senge (MIT), Prof. Luc Stevens, Prof. Katherine Weare (Univ. of Southampton), og Brooke Dodson-Lavelle (Mind and Life Institute) – will share experiences and insights from related projects and research abroad. Together with them we will discuss possibilities and challenges for the future. Which type of learning environments do we need in the coming decades? How can we give children and youth better opportunities to develop their natural capacity for presence, empathy and compassion?


For detailed programme see link

registration here 

Please note that there is a registration fee for participation on 11-12 June.


Speakers include

Brooke Dodson-Lavelle (Mind and Life Institute, Call2Care)

Prof. Steen Hildebrandt

Psykolog Helle Jensen

Kevin Hawkins (Mindfulness in Schools, UK)

Prof. Peter Senge (MIT, Triple Focus)

Assoc. Prof. Else Skibsted (VIA)

Prof. Luc Stevens (NIVOZ, Netherlands)

Assoc. Prof. Mette Vedsgaard (VIA)

Prof. Katherine Weare (Univ. of Southampton, UK)

N.B. The language of the conference will be English.


program  DAY1

WEDNESDAY 10th JUNE (at VIA University College, Hedeager 2, 8200 Aarhus N)

09.30 – 09.45  Welcome – Mette Vedsgaard and Martijn van Beek

09.45 – 10.30  Introduction to the VIA project: Presence and Empathy in Schools – Else Bengaard Skibsted & Mette Vedsgaard Christensen

10.30 – 11.00 coffee/tea break

11.00 - 12.00 The principles and philosophy behind the work of the Danish Society for the Promotion of Life Wisdom in Children work –  Steen Hildebrandt & Helle Jensen

12.00 – 13.00  lunch break (at one’s own expense)

13.00 – 15.00  Workshops (see full program)

15.00 –15.30  coffee/tea break

15.30 –16.30  Plenary discussion and wrap-up.


program  DAY2

THURSDAY 11th JUNE  (at Aarhus University – Bldg 1441, Aud. 1, Tåsingegade 3, 8000 Aarhus)

09.00 – 09.15 Welcome: Rethink Our Common Future – Martijn van Beek

09.15 – 10.30  Transforming the Heart of Education: Training Empathy – Helle Jensen and Steen Hildebrandt

10.30 – 11.00  coffee/tea break

11.00 – 12.00  Mindfulness in Schools  Kevin Hawkins

12.00 – 13.00  lunch break (a sandwich and water will be provided)

13.00 – 14.00  Pedagogical tact or tact of teaching? – Luc Stevens

14.00 – 15.00  State of the Research – Katherine Weare

15.00 – 15.30  coffee/tea break

15.30 – 17.00 Plenary exchange



program  DAY3

FRIDAY 12th JUNE  (at Aarhus University – Bldg 1441, Aud. 1, Tåsingegade 3, 8000 Aarhus)

09.30 – 10.30  A Call for Care and Compassion in Our School CommunitiesBrooke Dodson-Lavelle  

10.30 – 11.00  coffee/tea break

11.00 – 12.30  The Triple Focus – Peter Senge

12.30 – 14.00  lunch break (a sandwich and water will be provided)

14.00 – 15.00  Plenary discussion

15.00 – 15.30  closing



This conference is made possible by financial support from the Institute of Culture and Society, the Interacting Mind Centre and the research programme for Contemporary Ethnography, all at Aarhus University, and from the Teacher Training Programme at Via University College, Aarhus, and 2017Academy.