8th Biennial Conference, 2021: Threshold Concepts in the Moment

University College London (UCL – London, UK). 7–9 July 2021.

The original dates of July 2020 have been cancelled because of the pandemic. We are looking into whether an online symposium can be held during the original dates. If you submitted for the original conference dates, you should have received an email via EasyChair.

After almost two decades of research on threshold concepts that stemmed from Meyer and Land’s seminal publication in 2003 it is time to reflect and take stock. As an idea it has generated significant interest and has become a world-wide phenomenon that has captured the interest of researchers and practitioners across the globe.

The promise it offers as a lens to consider curriculum design, approaches  to pedagogy and a way of reimagining learners has already had significant impact  as the Flanagan website attests… But its full potential remains as yet unrealised. Is it time for an honest appraisal of where we are and where we want to go? If we want to continue to develop the ideas then we need to ask ourselves some potentially troublesome questions:

  • Has threshold concepts become synonymous with learner difficulty?
  • Have we become entrenched in a slavish adoption of the framework? Or do we apply the framework too loosely?
  • How do we avoid thresholds becoming seen as a panacea that can explain all learner difficulty?

In considering these and other questions the conference offers an opportunity to reflect on the achievements thus far and encourages us to consider where we think work in the area needs to go next. There will never be a single solution to support all learners master the same threshold but an awareness of threshold concepts and their associated complexities allows us to become more informed practitioners.

Conference Sub-themes

  • Disciplinary retrospectives: transforming the disciplines;
  • Practice based thresholds: embedding thresholds within professional practices;
  • Liminality: knock knock knocking on transformation’s door;
  • Thresholds and curriculum design: new horizons;
  • Troublesome not tricky: not all that challenges is a threshold;
  • Avoiding swampy ground: acknowledging the pitfalls and planning for the future.

Submission Guidelines

We are inviting the following submissions:

  • Full paper: 20 minutes presentation, 10 minutes Q&A (max 300 word submission);
  • Lightning Talk: 5 minutes presentation, grouped questions (max 150 word submission);
  • Roundtable: 1 or 2 to lead a 45-60 minute discussion, perhaps outlining a planned project or exploring an interdisciplinary collaboration (max 300 word submission).

Registration and Booking information

Following recent tradition, we expect the conference will have workshops on the first day and the conference proper will run throughout Thursday 8th, finishing on Friday 9th around lunchtime. Fees will not include accommodation and are yet to be finalised. Please see our conference accommodation page for more information about accommodation.

Organising Committee


We are using EasyChair for conference submission. Please visit our conference submission page for details on how to submit your conference proposal. The deadline for the next round of submissions will be announced during autumn 2020.