Reflections from our IEEC2023 track chairs

Written by Rob Edwards

Many thanks to our track chairs for giving their time to ensuring that the IEEC2023 programme was of high quality again, and featured such a broad range of topics to engage our delegates.
We asked the track chairs to share their thoughts and will be featuring their reflections across this and next month’s newsletter.

Track 1: Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education Research
(Chairs: Dr Breda O’Dwyer, Dr Andreas Walmsley)
The Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education Research track ended up with more questions than it answered; a good thing we think. Sessions, which comprised interactive presentations as well as Pecha Kucha styles of delivery, resulted in live debate. Themes around communities of practice, early childhood entrepreneurship education, methodological innovations, the (under)representation of BAME educators and threshold concepts in EE demonstrated the diversity of research currently being undertaken in EE research.
Despite the expansion of EE, the presentations highlighted challenges to educators of delivering EE, many of them at an institutional level (institution understood both as the university but also more widely societal structures). The notion of challenge also applies to the willingness to challenge our taken-for-granted beliefs, as discussed by Martin Lackeus in his keynote presentation.
The EEER track evidenced a lot of willingness, and therefore value, among attendees to listen to, and learn from, others.
Best in Track winner: 
Threshold Concepts of Entrepreneurship in Creative Industries
Dr Berrbizne Urzelai, University of the West of England; Dr Lucy Hatt, Newcastle University; Dr. Patricia Carracedo, Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain
The best in track winner holds much potential for future work, trying to link creative industries with EE, demonstrating the power of language, the need to understand your audience in relation to then tailoring your delivery of EE, the potential inherent in creating diverse teams for student hackathons, enterprise challenges etc. Finally, the presentation also offered insights into a hitherto underexplored methodology, as well as offering value to policymakers surrounding freelancers and their contribution to the economy.

Track 4: Sustainability and the Role of Enterprise Education
(Chairs: Dr Kelly Smith, Dr Christopher Moon)
The SDG track again attracted a series of high-quality presentations from colleagues on a variety of sustainability topics. We were treated to an interactive workshop including lego play to showcase methods for teaching sustainable enterprise education at Newcastle University, a fascinating session on mentoring in the context of refugees in partnership with Open Door Policy, an update from a European University collaboration highlighting their co-designed initiatives, an invitation to participate in the Sustainable Business Challenge currently delivered by six universities, insights from the Institute for Sustainability at the University of Surrey, and a focus on towns and cities by Southampton Business School including digital badging for school pupils based on enterprise skills. Thus, the sessions were a good variety of formats, great for networking, with useful materials and opportunities get involved.
Best in Track winner:
Social-Ecological Innovation for Sustainable Transitions: frontiers and opportunities
Matteo Giusti, Institute for Sustainability, University of Surrey

The best in track winner addressed the scientific foundation for our focus on sustainable entrepreneurship education, and opportunities for social-ecological innovations.

Track 6: Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Teaching and Curriculum
(Track 6a Chairs: Lauren Caple, Dr Richard Tunstall)
A key theme that came out in several sessions was around challenging the assumptions that underlie our practice as enterprise educators and questioning conventional approaches / forms of knowledge, as well as recognising the diverse needs of students and accepting there is no one ideal type of entrepreneurial student.
Creative and playful approaches to EE delivery in the curriculum were highlighted, including those which stretched students in terms of the ways they think about their ventures / enterprising activities, e.g. through deeper consideration of ethical implications and culturally informed entrepreneurship which moves beyond the widely adopted Western approaches, as well interdisciplinary approaches to modules / curriculum delivery which being together students with a diverse range of skills and knowledge.
Challenges were highlighted around lack of shared understanding amongst staff of key concepts such as enterprise and entrepreneurial mindset. The need for senior leadership direction was highlighted, as well as developing communities of practice for EE across institutions to move away from siloed working.
Best in Track winner:
Towards a culturally aware model for Creative Enterprise education
Siân Prime, Goldsmiths; Adrian De La Court, Goldsmiths