Media releases

University to host international learning in later life conference

Posted: Wednesday 1 February 2017
A series of international conferences about learning in later life will commence in Ballarat at Federation University Australia from Tuesday, 14 February.  

The three conferences, all part of the Getting of Wisdom Exchange, will also be held in Melbourne and New Zealand.

“The conferences have attracted some of the best-known international researchers in the field from ten countries, particularly from Europe,” Adjunct Professor Barry Golding from Federation University Australia said.

“In many areas of the world population ageing has increased the need for new and innovative ways to keep people independent and well in later life. What we do in Australia generally, and Ballarat and district specifically, is of considerable interest and relevance internationally.”

The respective national peak bodies for adult and community education, Adult Learning Australia (ALA) and ACE Aotearoa in New Zealand, have combined with a European-based network of researchers (ELOA) to host field study tours, as well as one day conferences in Ballarat (14 February), Melbourne (15 February) and Wellington (16 February).

Federation University Australia is a major sponsor of the conferences.

Germany’s Professor Bernard Schmidt-Hertha, one of the leading European experts in the field, said: “We are looking forward to learning about how similar and different life is for older people down under.

“Europeans are particularly interested in the ways that Indigenous learning and the community Men’s Sheds model have shaped what is done in later life learning in both Australia and New Zealand. The Exchange is very much about learning from each other.”

The Ballarat Conference from 9.00am-4.30pm on 14 February at FedUni’s Camp Street Campus will include presentations on Indigenous eldership, international perspectives on learning in later life, and presentations about older learning in Portugal, Slovenia, Poland, Australia and New Zealand.

It also will include presentations from diverse Ballarat-based community organisations that work with people in later life. Several Ballarat and regional Men’s Sheds are assisting with a pre-Exchange tour that will visit 11 Victorian Sheds over three days. On the evening of 14 February, the City of Ballarat will host a Civic Reception for delegates.

For further information about The Getting of Wisdom, Learning in Later Life Exchange and Conferences, please go to: or contact Professor (Adjunct) Barry Golding, AM, on  03 5345 6343 or

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