Supercomplexity: Acknowledging Students’ Lives in the 21st Century University

Sandra Abegglen, Tom Burns, Simone Maier, Sandra Sinfield


We live, work and study in a supercomplex world. This paper explores whether supercomplexity could be a term that helps us acknowledge this and thus help us reframe how we talk about education, in particular widening participation education. We use theoretical works on supercomplexity and third space, a critical angle on current policy and politics, as well as our own experience, to launch this exploration and to map the educational landscape our “non-traditional” students travel through - where for our students: hic sunt dracones (‘here are dragons’).

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