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Rooted in the Mountainscape

Susan Mossman Riva


The European Society for Research on the Education of Adults provides a network of research groups, including the network working with Life History and Biography. Yearly conferences offer a creative and collaborative space that produces manuscripts within specified frameworks of investigation. Themes such as lifescapes, mountainscapes, and timescapes served as inspiration for essays presented at the 2023 conference in Trondheim, Norway. Monthly online Zoom meetings and blogs explored innovative ways of connecting and networking, culminating in a transformational learning pilgrimage. The following essay presents an autoethnographic account, describing a learning community in the Swiss Alps. This ski tribe learns in an Alpine environment, interconnected with the mountainscape. The transformative process of lifelong learning is illustrated by linking narrative phases of expression. First, participants shared their essays. Then, they came together in workshops, engaging in collaborative writing exercises where a group co-authored a poem that emerged from participants’ collaborative writing pieces. In this creative space, phases of experiential learning complemented the concept of diffraction, increasing future forming potentiality. This autoethnographic account recollects how narrative coherence increased throughout phases of narrative inquiry. Autoethnographic explorations transformed into a learning pilgrimage, which further evolved into a spiritual journey akin to an odyssey.

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