The future of Catholic education and how teachers can ensure students go on to develop their faith has been the key focuses for Australian and international researchers at a one-of-a-kind colloquium this week.
The University of Notre Dame Australia hosted the inaugural Global Researchers Advancing Catholic Education (GRACE) Research Colloquium at its Fremantle campus from 17 to 19 January 2024.
High-level researchers, educators and directors working in the Catholic system travelled to Perth from around the world for the three-day event.
The event explored the challenges and opportunities for Catholic education under the theme Head, Heart and Hands: Together in Faith – a theme Pope Francis recently highlighted when talking about educators as community builders.
The 90 participants heard from emerging and established scholars about their research, and were encouraged to collaborate and reflect with the aim of translating research into practice.
The event included a Mass celebrated by Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB.
Speaking ahead of the event, Senior Lecturer from Notre Dame’s School of Education, Linda Cranley, said the research colloquium would span the broad spectrum of head, heart and hands, delving into topics ranging from policy and curriculum, to the formation of teachers and faith in action.
“In our modern world, strengthening Catholic education requires a creative, integrative response, a platform for thought-leaders, educators, theologians and researchers to gather and engage in new ways,” she said.
School of Education Associate Professor Christine Robinson said the event recognised Catholic education as a global topic, with shared challenges and opportunities that are experienced around the world.
“The research colloquium is a world-first event,” she said. “Nothing has ever been done like this before looking at real practical faith formation at a global level.”
GRACE is a long-term research-based partnership project between the University of Notre Dame Australia, The University of Glasgow, Mary Immaculate College Limerick in Ireland, Boston College in the US, St Mary’s University Twickenham in England and the International Office of Catholic Education in Rome.
The partnership brings together researchers and practitioners to facilitate research that will improve the quality and contribution of Catholic education around the world.
A delegation from GRACE met with Pope Francis at the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace in 2022, where he encouraged them to find innovative ways of linking research with best practice so teachers could serve the “whole person in a process of integral human development”.
For more information, visit grace2024.com