8th Biennial Conference: Threshold Concepts in the Moment

The 8th Biennial Thresholds Concepts conference will be held online between 7–9 July 2021 (British Summer Time).

Click here for the programme.

Final timetabling will depend on contributors’ home timezone. There will be a blend of live sessions and recordings. It is our intention that the whole conference will be made available for posterity via this blog after the conference. For more details please see this update (December 2020).

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

In the 2019 round, we invited 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

There will be a registration process and a fee to cover costs of software and support.

Organising Committee


We are using EasyChair for conference submission. The first round (2019) is archived but still visible at our original conference submission page. The deadline and new call for papers for the next round of submissions will be published during February 2021.