NEARIMeets (Meetings of the Network for Educational Action Research in Ireland)

NEARI is a network for action researchers who are new to action research, as well as those who are working on action research projects along with some who are life-long action researchers.

NEARI is an independent, unfunded and non-affiliated network for practitioners at all levels of education and it aims towards developing action research scholarship and practice. It was established by members of Educational Action Research Ireland (

NEARI supports people to reflect critically on their work. It encourages people to look to the educational values that underpin their practice and to work towards living these values in their practice so as to enhance it.

NEARI is for all educational action researchers, whether beginners or lifelong researchers. It is a platform for sharing research stories and provides opportunities for personal and critical engagement as well as for resource sharing, It links action researchers within Ireland and with the broader global action research communities. Please check the NEARI Ethics Statement at

NEARI people come together to share the story of their learning in various institutions three times a year and these meetings (NEARIMeets) are held at the goodwill of hosting institutions and members. The members of the network are mainly people who are involved in self-study action research and/or practitioner research. They communicate regularly through their discussion group and website.

You may join NEARI by completing this form or by sending an email to 

The next NEARIMeet will take place in September 2024.

Notes from Spring NEARIMeet on 9th March 2024

The Spring 2024 NEARIMeet took place online.The special theme for this meeting was Ethics in the current landscape of practitioner research. Our special guests for this meeting included Prof. Sarah Banks, Dr Mairead Holden and Dr Philip Poulton and they ignited sparkling discussions with their presentations.


See more here…

Link to Autumn NEARIMeet (16th September 2023), Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education, Maynooth University [Hybrid]

Our Autumn NEARIMeet was hosted in the Education Building in Maynooth University. We were delighted to meet our lovely group of attendees. We also welcomed participants who attended online in our third experiment with a hybrid event.

We are delighted to express our gratitude to the Educational Studies Association of Ireland and their Special Interest Group (SIG) programme for supporting NEARI.

The thought-provoking guest speakers at this NEARIMeet were Prof David Coghlan and Dr. Mags Amond and Denise Delaney. See more here …

Link to Spring NEARIMeet (1 April 2023) Stranmillis University College, Belfast [Hybrid]

The NEARIMeet of 1 April 2023 took place in Stranmillis University College in Belfast and online. This event took place at the end of the Educational Studies Association of Ireland (ESAI) Conference. NEARI is delighted that they are part of the ESAI SIGs programme. The inspirational presentations at this meeting were given by Tomás Ó Ruairc and Michelle Vaughan. See more here …

Link to Winter NEARIMeet (28 January 2023) University College Dublin [Hybrid]

The first hybrid in-person and online NEARIMeet took place in University College Dublin (UCD) on 28 January 2023. It was an exciting event and the technology was as challenging as anticipated. However, everyone took the glitches in their stride and the meeting progressed in an inspirational manner as always. Thought-provoking presentations were given by Bernadette Wrynn, Sanja Simel Pranjić and Sarah Peters. Read more here…

Link to Autumn NEARIMeet (1 October 2022) [Online]

Everyone at NEARI was delighted to welcome Prof. Lesley Wood to the Autumn NEARIMeet on 1 October 2022. She outlined her thoughts on An ethical, inclusive and sustainable framework for community-based research in higher education in an exciting and stimulating presentation which was followed by inspirational presentations from Miranda Neethling and Jane O’Toole. More here…

Link to the Spring NEARIMeet (2 April 2022) [Online]

The Spring NEARIMeet took place on April 2nd, 2022. It was a thrilling event that explored a plethora of ideas around enhancing practice; critical reflection and interrogating what we mean by the term ‘educational’. The invited guest speaker (as part of our VPAR SIG with ESAI) was Prof. Jack Whitehead (the originator of Living Educational Theory research) with thought-provoking presentations from Toirdealbhach Ó Lionáird and Tara Webster-Deakin.

NEARIMeet attendees


 More here…

Link to the Winter NEARIMeet (29 January 2022) [Online]

The sparkling Winter 2022 NEARIMeet took place online on 29 January 2022. The meeting attracted attendees from all over the globe including Australia, USA, China, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Malaysia, The Netherlands, South Africa, UK and Ireland, among many others. The theme for the meeting was Transforming Practices. As part of our VPAR SIG programme, our guest speaker was the renowned Stephen Kemmis with inspirational presentations from Ciara O’Brien and Richard Millwood.

More details here…

Link to Autumn NEARIMeet 2021 (8 October 2021) [Online]

NEARI held their Autumn NEARIMeet on the 8th of October alongside our colleagues in the Collaborative Action Research Network (CARN) at the CARNival 2021 Conference.

The theme of the NEARIMeet was Raising Voices: Making Connections.

NEARIMeet pix

We were delighted to have the world-renowned  Dr. Hilary Bradbury of AR+ as our guest speaker. Following the discussion on Hilary’s thought-provoking input, the other sparkling presentations of the day were given by Aislinn Kennedy and Jane O’Connell.

More details here….

Link to Spring VPAR-NEARIMeet on 17 April 2021 [Online]

The Spring VPAR-NEARIMeet of 2021 was held online on April 17th. The theme of the meeting was ‘Critical Reflection’ and our fabulous guest speaker was Stephen Brookfield.

The sparkling Short Presentations (Round Robins) were presented by Cathy Clarkson and Tom Cosgrove.

More details of the afternoon can be found here. 

Link to the Winter NEARIMeet and VPAR-SIG meeting  on 23 January 2021 [Online] 

The Winter NEARIMeet and the VPAR SIG virtual meeting was a resounding success with participants attending from all over the globe. A broad spectrum of ages attended too, from people who have retired to those who are just 5 weeks old!

The guest speaker, as part of our VPAR SIG activities, was Prof. Mary Brydon-Miller who set the meeting alight with her paper entitled: “The Road to Hell” : The Problem of Good Intentions in Action Research. The meeting was followed by a rich discussion.

The second section of the day was ignited by the thought-provoking Round Robin presentations given by the amazing Patricia O’Dea and Amy Stapleton.

More details from Winter NEARIMeet 2021 (23 January) can be found here.

Link to Autumn NEARIMeet and VPAR SIG meeting on 19 September 2020


This was the second NEARIMeet and VPAR SIG (Values-based Practitioner Action Research) meeting to take place online. Everyone was delighted to welcome Dr. Mary McAteer, as part of our VPAR SIG activities, to present her inspirational keynote address at our meeting.

The fantastic Round Robin presentations were given by Aoife Merrins-Gallagher, Denise Delaney and Jane O’Connell.

The final section of the meeting was devoted to VPAR SIG planning.

Read more here

Link to Spring NEARIMeet on 24 April 2020 online and VPAR SIG Launch

The first online NEARIMeet took place on April 24, 2020. It was an auspicious occasion also because the launch of the new Values Based Practitioner Action Research (VPAR) Special Interest Group (SIG) in conjunction with ESAI took place.


The meeting began with the reading of the ethical statement. Pip Bruce Ferguson shared her favourite readings from McNiff et al. (1999) and Whitehead (1993). The inspiring keynote discussion and VPAR SIG launch were led by Caitriona McDonagh and Bernie Sullivan. There followed some critical debate in the breakout rooms. The highly thought-provoking Round Robin sessions were provided by Colette Saunders and Mags Amond.

Read more here…

Link to  Winter NEARIMeet on 18 January 2020 in Cork Institute of Technology (CIT)

It was NEARI’s first trip to Cork Institute of Technology (CIPipT) in Cork and NEARI are hugely grateful to Jane Leonard and Tom O’Mahony from CIT who made everyone feel so welcome!

The day began with out usual hellos and the acknowledgement of our ethical statement. Bernie Sullivan shared her current favourite reading by Stephen Brookfield and it set the tone for our critical reflection for the day. The thought-provoking interactive keynote discussion was led by Mary Roche and the fabulous Round Robin inputs were given by Jennifer Kelly, Jane O’Connell’s (via Skype) and Seán Óg Ó Duinnín. Jane also gave us an update on recent CARN activities as well as forthcoming events and conferences.


See more here… 

Link to NEARIMeet in NUI, Galway on 28 September 2019


What a fabulous day of learning everyone had at the Autumn NEARIMeet, which took place alongside the FÉILTE celebration in NUI Galway on September 2019 with many participants attended both events. Our host, Cornelia Connolly from NUI Galway chaired the meeting and put everyone at their ease with her warm welcome. The theme for our NEARIMeet was Celebrating Critically Reflective Practice and Bernie Sullivan gave a highly informative input on that theme. The ‘Round Robin’ inputs were inspirational and provoked much critical debate too. These were provided by Mags Amond, Jean McGowan, Jane O’Connell and Ciara O’Donoghue. Jane also updated on activities happening in the Collaborative Action Research Network (CARN)
See more here.. 

Link to NEARIMeet in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Sligo on April 13, 2019.

Our Spring meeting was held just as ESAI19 drew to a close in the beautiful surroundings of Sligo Bay and Knocknarea. This is the third time that ESAI have hosted NEARI and everyone is immensely grateful to Enda Donlon and the the ESAI Executive for their support in facilitating our meeting.

It was a very exciting event and included Round Robin inputs from Derbhile de Paor, Mags Amond and Jane O’Connell. It also included a Skype connection with fellow action researchers from Bath, Canada and Venezuala as well as a conversation with Jack Whitehead. Read more about it here.



















Link to NEARIMeet in Marino Institute of Education, Dublin on January 26, 2019.

The first NEARIMeet of 2019 took place in Marino Institute of Education in Dublin on 26 January 2019. NEARI has especially nostalgic links with MIE as our original meetings around exploring self-study action research and Living Theory took place there about twenty years ago. It was the first time, though, for NEARIMeet to visit Marino and we are hugely thankful to Suzy Macken and her colleagues in MIE for organising the day and facilitating the meeting for us. The day was a mixture of input, dialogue, critical thinking, collegiality and coffees and scones.

Click here to read more about the day.


Link to NEARMeet 15 September 2018 at Mary Immaculate College

The Autumn meeting of NEARI took place in the beautiful surroundings of Mary Immaculate College, Limerick on 15 September 2018. We are very thankful to Prof. Jim Deegan for facilitating our first ever NEARIMeet at MIC. It was an exceptionally invigorating meeting and it was brimful of critical thinking and intriguing questions. It was especially exciting to welcome one of NEARI’s original conveners, Pip Bruce Ferguson, who came from New Zealand, to be with us for the day.

Click here to read more.

Link to NEARI-meet in UCD on April 7, 2018 at ESAI.

The NEARI-meet of April 7, 2018 took place in the lovely O’Brien Centre for Science and we are very thankful to Dr. Conor Galvin and his colleagues in the School of Education, UCD as well as was as the ESAI team for hosting our meeting. It was a lively meeting on the theme of  Values and Purpose in Education. The meeting was kept on task under the watchful eye of Dr. Caitriona McDonagh and it commenced with group introductions, the sharing of NEARI’s ethical statement and permissions for digital recording.

Dr. Mary Roche gave the keynote at the NEARI-meet and the Round Robin presenter was Jane O’Connell. Dr. Máirín Glenn gave an input on the resources available for practitioner researchers at this web space, as well as a list of the upcoming events.


Further details of the NEARI-meet of 7 April 2018 in UCD are available here.

Link to NEARI-meet at the University of Limerick (UL) 20 January 2018 .

The NEARI-meet of January 2018 took place in the University of Limerick at the kind invitation of Dr. Patricia Mannix McNamara at the School of Education in UL. The theme for the day was Navigating Supervision across Multiple Perspectives.
Our reading of the day was provided by Dr. Mary Roche and the invigorating keynote was given by Dr. Patricia Mannix McNamara. The thought-provoking Round Robin presentations were given by Teresa Shiels, Tom Cosgrove, Aoife Prendergast and Liam Guilfoyle.

Link to NEARI-meet at University College Dublin (UCD) 16 September 2017

NEARI-meet in University College Dublin took place on 16 September 2017 following the kind invitation of Dr. Conor Galvin. It was a lively meeting fuelled by coffees, teas and lots of treats.

The meeting opened with Dr. Caitriona McDonagh’s keynote presentation. Here she outlined key issues pertaining to validity in the self-study action research.
Next we had the lively and thought-provoking ‘Round-Robin’ sessions which began with a short presentation and were followed with discussion and critical questions. The inputs came from a great mixture of practitioners including: newly qualified teachers, principals, post graduates, doctoral students and post-doctoral practitioner-researchers. The amazing Round-Robin presenters were: Mark Gallagher, Shónagh Lynch, Caitriona Cleary, Toirdealbhach Ó Lionáird, Dr. Josephine Bleach, Jane O’Connell and  John Cribbin (pictured below):

Link to NEARI-meet April 2017  at ESAI 2017 in University College Cork (UCC).

As NEARI, we accepted the kind invitation to run our April 2017 NEARI-meet alongside the Educational Studies Association of Ireland (ESAI) annual conference in UCC with delight. ESAI17 was a highly stimulating conference and many members from the NEARI network presented papers at it.

Our NEARI-meet was chaired excellently by Cornelia Connolly from DkIT, who kept everyone on task with gentle nudge and a sharp eye on the clock.

For more details go to


Link to NEARI-meet at DkIT January 21, 2017

What a great day of learning we had at DkIT on January 21st, 2017! Our host, Cornelia Connolly from DkIT, got the day off to a great start and introduced Dr. Pip Bruce Ferguson. Pip’s inspiring keynote drew on the writing of Parker J. Palmer, Jean McNiff and Jack Whitehead and outlined how teachers might investigate their practice through engaging in reflective practice and undertaking some action research. This was followed by some thought-provoking ‘Round Robin’ presentations by Teresa Whitaker, Josephine Bleach, Tom Cosgrove and Colin Cooney all of which inspired some challenging questions and critical debate. Snippets from their presentations are available below. The day concluded with discussions around the NEARI mailing list, the Padlet, our next NEARI-meet and our how NEARI might move forward as a network.
All at NEARI would like to extend míle buíochas to Cornelia Connolly and all at DkIT for the warmth of their welcome to our first NEARI-meet of 2017.

The next NEARI-meet will take place in April 2017.

Pip’s keynote presentation:

Below is a section from the beginning of Pip’s presentation:

Here is the second section of Pip’s presentation:

Here is the closing section of Pip’s presentation:

For more snippets from the ‘Round Robin’ presentations at DkIT on January 21st, 2017 go to


Link to NEARI-meet in Maynooth University on Saturday, 17 September 2016.

A very invigorating NEARI-meet was held in Maynooth University on Saturday, 17 September 2016.

It began with a fishbowl discussion around the purpose of action research with formal inputs being provided by Tom Cosgrove and Máirín Glenn.
There followed a very interesting and thought-provoking presentation by Aoife Titley on her current research on intercultural education and inclusion.
The final section of the day involved some amazing newly qualified teachers (NQTs) outlining the action research projects they undertook as part of their final year teaching placement from the Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education at Maynooth University. They were: Robert Quinn, Alison Murphy, Kevin Maher and Louise Mahon.
Some snippets from all the presentations are available here.

All at NEARI would like to express their thanks to Aoife, Ruth and Seamie from Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education at Maynooth University for providing us with a great venue for our NEARI-meet.
Our next meeting will take place in January on the theme of dialogue.

NEARI-meet in NUIG on April 23, 2016

Our NEARImeet that was held in NUIG on April 23 began with the usual informal coffees and chats. But, by 11.00 am Máire Ní Riordáin was leading a highly engaging conversation around ‘Communicating action research to others’.

These are Máire Ní Riordáin’s slides for the discussion on ‘Communicating action research to others’

Our Round Robin session was about sharing our research stories and was kicked off by a very stimulating presentation by Jane O’Connell. Joe McDonagh followed up with his insightful presentation. The final Round Robin of the day was presented by Fiona Dunne. Links to snippets of these presentations are available below.

After lunch, Jack Whitehead joined the meeting via Skype who discussed the nuanced nature of action research with the group and highlighted how the epistemology of action research is distinctive.

We discussed how can share expertise in the area of living theory and self-study action research via Skype, Padlet (, the NEARI Group Mail at and Twitter at @InfoNeari and of course here on our blog at

The January 2016 meeting of the Network for Educational Action Research in Ireland (NEARI) took place in DCU in January 2016

This presentation, from Prof. Jack Whitehead, was given at the NEARI meeting in DCU in January 2016. It focused on the importance of making public and sharing your embodied knowledge as educators in improving learning and professionalism in the Republic of Ireland’s schools, colleges and universities. It includes a focus on your unique creativity and the constellation of values you use in asking, researching and answering questions of the kind, ‘How do I improve what I am doing in my professional practice?’ You can read the full text of Jack’s presentation here.groups3groupsgorups2

NEARI-meeting September 2015

The September meeting of the Network for Educational Action Research in Ireland (NEARI) took place in

St. Patrick’s College, Thurles on 12th September 2015

It was an opportunity to network and meet up with others of an action researcherly disposition in an informal, relaxed setting.

Guest speakers at NEARI (September 2015): John Cullinane, Tom Cosgrove, Máire Ní Riordáin and Pip Ferguson

The second meeting of the Network for Educational Action Research in Ireland (NEARI) took place in National College of Ireland in Dublin on Saturday, 13 June 2015.

The inaugural meeting of the Network for Educational Action Research in Ireland took place the Interfaith Centre, Dublin City University on 25th April 2015.




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