The theme of the ISLS 2024 Annual Meeting is “Learning as a cornerstone of healing, resilience, and community.”
This theme recognizes the continuing need for response to global crises, including especially COVID-19 but also racism, bigotry, war, climate change, and political oppression. These trends not only affect current events, but also the lives of learners and the demands placed on educational systems. We also recognize that our learning sciences community of scholars and practitioners has been touched by these crises. We acknowledge that our own learning, and that of our extended academic networks, need healing, resilience, and community as we work in our profession as agents of positive change. The ISLS 2024 Annual Meeting will be an opportunity to convene to advance our field in consideration of the theme, and the organizers sincerely hope it will also serve as an invitation to strengthen our own practices leading to human flourishing.
About the University
The University at Buffalo is the largest and a flagship campus of New York state’s public university system. As one of the nation’s leading public research universities, the university plays a key role in regional and statewide economic development. Home to 32,000 students including over 7,000 international students, UB boosts its global reach with its affiliations with 80 universities around the world and over 600 study-abroad programs for students. The campus-wide learning sciences initiative, launched by the deans of education, arts and sciences, engineering and applied sciences, and architecture and urban planning, includes faculty from across the university. The initiative encompasses new jointly appointed faculty across units and learning sciences curricula that span education and multiple other disciplines.
Buffalo serves as a fitting venue to examine the 2024 conference theme. After fifty years of deindustrialization and population decline, Buffalo is experiencing an economic and cultural renaissance boosted by a large resettled refugee population and new population growth.
The city and surrounding region are the original territory of the Seneca Nation, a member of the Haudenosaunee/Six Nations Confederacy and is still home to Haudenosaunee people who continue to care for the land and resources of the Great Lakes. The U.S government affirmed the sovereignty and rights to the land of the Six Nations Confederacy through the 1794 Treaty of the Canandaigua. The University at Buffalo currently operates in this territory and benefits from the past and ongoing care of the Haudenosaunee people for the land and resources of the Great Lakes.
The city of Buffalo has a rich history that is marked by racial struggle and injustice. In the early to mid-19th century it served as an important waypoint on the underground railroad – a network of secret routes and safe houses that was used by enslaved African Americans to escape into free northern states and Canada. More recently The city has faced resurging racial violence and is engaged in rebuilding efforts. In “the city of good neighbors,” Buffalolians are determined to work together to address these problems. UB supports a variety of efforts for community engaged research and development for growth, for example, forming the Buffalo Education Equity Taskforce to experiment and scale up educational innovation in schools and in the community. The local organizers are planning to showcase and engage conference attendees in these ongoing community-invested endeavors.
About the Region
Located on the US-Canadian border at the Niagara River approximately 20 miles/30km south of Niagara Falls, Buffalo is the second largest city in New York State after New York City. Its metropolitan area has diverse communities (historically racial/ethnic diversity as well as diverse refugee population), stunning architecture (including seven Frank Lloyd Wright sites), and beautiful parks and green spaces (including Delaware Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, architect of Boston’s Emerald Necklace and New York’s Central Park). Despite a reputation for snowy winters, weather in Buffalo in June and July is idyllic with little rain, and typical temperatures ranging from overnight lows of 15ºC/59ºF to daytime highs of 26ºC/79ºF. The airport in Buffalo has direct flights to major international gateway cities such as New York City, Chicago, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and Miami. In addition, buses and trains connect to nearby Toronto.