Under the auspices of the Rector of the University of Szczecin and the Mayor of Szczecin, via the MS Teams platform, an exceptional scientific event took place: Alone Together Again (ATA): A Second International Pandisciplinary Symposium on Solitude in Community. That was the second edition of seminars initiated last year in York, UK, resulting from the collaboration of two loneliness researchers: Prof Julian Stern (Bishop Grosseteste University) and Dr Małgorzata Wałejko (University of Szczecin).

The conference was attended by almost 70 speakers from 17 countries and five continents, representing various scientific disciplines. During two days, three plenary lectures and 12 sessions in groups (50 presentations) and one poster session have taken place. You can find all the plenary presentations on a public YouTube channel:

Ben Mijuskovic (California State University, USA): Loneliness is not a medical disease nor a psychiatric disorder; it’s the existential essence of man:

Jarosław Horowski: The morality and the loneliness:

Julian Stern: Personhood, Alone and Together:

How symbolic the title – Alone Together Again – turned out to be, when we saw on one screen friends from all over the world, though alone, still together. During the opening (at Polish 9:00 am) we could meet researchers from the UK (their 8:00 am), Australia (5:00 pm), the US (3.00 am) or Hong Kong (3:00 pm) and many other countries. We are very grateful for all the talks presented, for undertaking the theme of solitude with such care and curiosity. 

It’s worth mentioning that during the ATA conference, the inauguration of the International Society for Research on Solitude, ISRS ( http://isrs.usz.edu.pl ) took place. The association, created by scientists from the University of Szczecin and Bishop Grosseteste University, will organize further conferences and publish publications devoted to various perspectives of approaching the problem of loneliness, but above all it will bring together researchers of loneliness from all over the globe – so far dispersed all over the world – according to the idea of “Alone Together”.

ALONE TOGETHER AGAIN (ATA): A Second International Pandisciplinary Symposium on Solitude in Community – Szczecin 2020

Thursday 17th September – Friday 18th September 2020
“We must meet; we must communicate with one another; we must, it would seem, be alone together” (John Macmurray)

We welcome contributions to the second international pandisciplinary symposium on solitude in community: Alone Together Again. (To see the photographs of the first conference click here). This is organised by the University of Szczecin and York St John University, under the auspices of the Rector of the University of Szczecin and the President of Szczecin. All papers, discussions and posters will be held in English. Because of pandemic of covid-19, the symposium will be online-only.

We welcome papers and posters on any issues related to solitude, silence and loneliness, from any discipline. At the end of the first symposium, several topics were suggested as in particular need for further research and discussion. These are presented as useful guides, but they are not restrictive:

● Research methods appropriate to the aloneness studies.

● Taboo words and issues related to the problem of loneliness or solitude.

● The relationship between aloneness and sexuality/gender.

● Culture as context of aloneness inquiry.

● Technology and social media – links to the problematic.

● The relationship between aloneness and capitalism/neoliberalism.

● Pathways into and out of solitude.

● Human rights and the law, including the right to be alone and in solitude.

● Preparing for aging: overcoming loneliness, enhancing solitude.

● Better uses of silence.

● Healthy signs of loneliness and positive uses of solitude.

● Introducing solitude in education: can solitude be taught?

● Practical ways of combating loneliness.

The structure of the symposium will try to bring out three dimensions of aloneness (that is, solitude, silence and loneliness), and the different experiences of aloneness at different life stages from childhood to old age.

Prof. Anna Murawska, University of Szczecin, Poland

Prof. Julian Stern, York St. John University, UK

Prof. Ben Mijuskovic, California State University, USA

Prof. Zofia Dołęga, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Poland 

Prof. Jaroslaw Horowski, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland

Prof. Tadeusz Gadacz, AGH University of Science and Technology, Poland

Prof. Sandra Bosacki, Brock University, Canada

Prof. Michael Buchanan, Australian Catholic University, Australia

Prof. Henrieta Serban, Institute of Philosophy and Psychology “Constantin Râdulescu-Motru” and Institute of Political Science and International Relations “Ion I. C. Brâtianu” of the Romanian Academy, Romania

Prof. Wong Ping Ho, The Education University of Hong Kong, China

Prof. Katarzyna Wrońska, The Jagiellonian University, Poland

Prof. Christopher Sink, Old Dominion University, USA

Prof. Anne Pirrie, University of the West of Scotland, UK

Prof. Eva Alerby, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden

Prof. Teresa Olearczyk, Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krakow University, Poland

Organizing Committee:

CHAIRS: Prof. Julian Stern (York St. John University) and Dr. Malgorzata Wałejko (University of Szczecin)

The idea of the Alone Together symposium emerged from the meeting of Prof Julian Stern (UK) and Dr Malgorzata Walejko (Poland), both fascinated by the phenomenon of solitude.  Dr Walejko visited York St John University in 2018 thanks to the Erasmus+ programme, to meet and work with Prof Stern.  Their common research resulted in publications (e.g. Solitude and Self-Realisation in Education in the Journal of Philosophy of Education, 2019), and also in the idea of meeting with other researchers from around the world interested in solitude, silence and loneliness.  There are further publishing plans resulting from the first symposium (including a book and a journal special edition), and we hope for further publishing out of the second symposium.

Prof. Julian Stern, York St. John University, UK

Julian Stern is Professor of Education and Religion at York St John University, UK.  He is author of Loneliness and Solitude in Education: How to Value Individuality and Create an Enstatic School (Peter Lang, 2014), Let Me Tell You About Loneliness (Jessica Kingsley, 2017), and A Philosophy of Schooling: Care and Curiosity in Community (Palgrave, 2018), along with many other books and articles.  He is an educationalist specialising in schools as communities, and the role of both loneliness and solitude in those communities.

Prof. Ben Lazare Mijuskovic, California State University, USA

Ben Lazare Mijuskovic is Associate Professor in the Humanities Department at California State University, Dominguez Hills. A social worker and a psychotherapist since 1986 while continually teaching philosophy and the humanities. He is the author of many articles and books, e.g. Loneliness in Philosophy, Psychology, and Literature (iUniverse, 2012), Feeling Lonesome : The Philosophy and Psychology of Loneliness (ABC-CLIO, 2015), Consciousness and Loneliness: Theoria and Praxis (Brill, 2018)He was recently elected to the Montenegro Academy of Science and the Arts. Prof. Mijuskovic does research in applied philosophy, the history of philosophy, and theories of loneliness.

Prof. Jarosław Horowski, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland

Dr hab. Jarosław Horowski, Associate Professor in Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences of Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Institute of Education Sciences, Chair of Theory of Education, editor-in-chief of the scientific journal “Paedagogia Christiana”. Author of Moral Education According to neo-Thomistic Pedagogy (WN UMK, 2015). Main areas of interest: philosophy of education, moral and religious education, neo-Thomistic pedagogy, education for moral virtues, education for forgiveness.

There are several publishing opportunities related to the Alone Together symposium network.

The special issue of the journal Paedagogia Christiana, entitled Being Alone Together in Education – one of the outcomes of the first Alone Together symposium in York – has just been published. We are very grateful to Professor Jarek Horowski, the journal’s editor-in-chief, for encouraging this special issue, as well as to all the authors engaged in the project, which you can see here: http://www.paedchrist.umk.pl/zeszyt/1/45/2020.

Professor Horowski invited us to edit a second special issue of Paedagogia Christiana, related to our September Alone Together Again conference. It is an open access journal. The deadline for this new special issue is 15th July 2020. We ask to submit the article to the academic platform of the journal: https://apcz.umk.pl/czasopisma/index.php/PCh/index. If you want to submit a paper for the journal, you need to register first. If someone has problems with registration, it is possible to send to paedchr@umk.pl your full name, affiliation and email address. Then the editors of the journal will register the author and that person will receive the login and password for the account. If you submit a paper for the journal, please anonymise it: remove the author’s name and affiliation (and any references to your own publications) so that the reviewers do not know the identity of the article’s author.

These special issues of Paedagogia Christiana are not the only publishing possibilities related to the Alone Together work. Several of us are also working on a Bloomsbury Handbook of Solitude, Silence and Loneliness, and there are other articles and books either already published or being planned.


9.00 am INTRODUCTION TO THE SYMPOSIUM: Julian Stern (Bishop Grosseteste University, UK) and Małgorzata Wałejko (University of Szczecin, Poland) link to MS Teams
9.10 am WELCOME TO THE SYMPOSIUM: Rector of the University of Szczecin
Anna Murawska: Head of Pedagogy Institute (University of Szczecin, Poland)
9.20 am PLENARY SEMINAR 1: Julian Stern (Bishop Grosseteste University, UK): Personhood, Alone and Together
10.05 am BREAK
Contemporary loneliness
link to MS Teams
Isolation and therapy
link to MS Teams
Solitude and religion
link to MS Teams
  Moderator: Piotr Domeracki Moderator: Piotr Krakowiak Moderator: Jarosław Horowski
  Michael O’Sullivan (Chinese University of Hong Kong, China): Cloneliness: on the reproduction of loneliness Anna Linka (University of Szczecin, Poland): Culture shock in the counselling process as an experience of migrant’s and social service professional’s loneliness Michael Buchanan (Australian Catholic University, Australia): Enhancing the Goals of Catholic Education: Solitude Practices
  Liliya Babakova (Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts, Bulgaria) Nataliya Alexandrova (International business school, Sofia, Bulgaria), Ognyan Koychev (Plovdiv University “Paisii Hilendarski”Plovdiv, Bulgaria), Plamen Tzokov (Plovdiv University “Paisii Hilendarski”Plovdiv, Bulgaria): Impact on experiences during a pandemic on the experience of loneliness Christine O’Dea (York Business School, UK), Julian Stern (Bishop Grosseteste University, UK): In-group and out-group loneliness: the experiences of Chinese top-up students in a UK university Elżbieta Osewska (Higher State Vocational School in Tarnów, Poland): Loneliness of a Global Child on the Way to God
    Katarzyna Ciarcińska (University of Szczecin, Poland): A lone voice – a voice not heard. Mechanism of silencing and objectification Marek Nowak (University of Warsaw, Poland): Religious voluntary loneliness
    Richard Knight (School of Psychological and Social Sciences York St John University, UK): The wounded healer – a poetic inquiry into isolation and disability Gillian Simpson (York St. John University, UK): Breaking the loneliness and making meaning: Autoethnography as method in learning religion
      Piotr Goniszewski (University of Szczecin, Poland): Loneliness, solitude and community in the light of John Main’s Christian meditation
12.00 pm BREAK
Personal loneliness link to MS Teams
Solitude in education link to MS Teams
  Moderator: Anna Linka Moderator: Katarzyna Ciarcińska
  Eyal Rosenstreich (Peres Academic Center, Israel),
Yael Dubinsky (Kinneret Academic College, Israel): Hugz©: Tackling loneliness with a holistic approach through a digital app.
Katarzyna Wrońska (Jagiellonian University, Poland): Solitude and Selflessness as the Challenge and Test of (good) Education
  Joanna Flis (University of Szczecin, Poland): Social phobia and Internet addiction Eva Alerby (Luleå University of Technology, Sweden): Silence and educational spaces: An intertwined relationship
  Enkhbayar Batsaikhan (Otgontenger University, Mongolia): The study on the interrelations between emotional intelligence and loneliness Tomasz Donatowicz (Social Primary School named after Lady Sue Ryder, Poland): Shaping the need for silence in early childhood education students
  Barbara Chojnacka (University of Szczecin, Poland): The experience of loneliness in the parentification trajectory Elżbieta Magiera (University of Szczecin, Poland): Teacher’s solitude in the history of pedagogical thoughts
  Ewa Rojewska (University of Szczecin, Poland): Solitude and loneliness in family life in Jesper Juul conception Małgorzata Wałejko (University of Szczecin, Poland): The contemplative University
Social solitude link to MS Teams
Quietude link to MS Teams
Sex alone, together link to MS Teams
  Moderator: Marcin Muszyński Moderator: Katarzyna Wrońska Moderator: Małgorzata Wałejko
  Jan Biba (Charles University, Czech Republic): So bad, even introverts are here: democratic solitude between participation and apathy Eric Bien (Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium / Nigeria): The desired „noise” of inner silence Beata Bugajska (University of Szczecin, Poland): Loneliness of homosexual older adults – case analyses in biographical perspective
  Henrieta Anișoara Șerban (Academia Românã, Romania): Estrangement from „the existence in the immediate” (the excessive role of image, consumerism and hyper-morality) Teresa Olearczyk (Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krakow University, Poland): Silence, concentration, creativity Abigail Klassen (University of Winnipeg, Canada): Unaroused, but Seeking Something: Asexuality Revisited
  Aleksander Cywiński (University of Szczecin, Poland): The politics of solitude in macroscale Richard E. Cleveland (Georgia Southern University, USA) Cultivating Healthy Solitude & Mindfulness in Children Olga Szynkaruk (University of Szczecin, Poland): A Microcosm of Solitudes. Individuality, Collectivity and Identity in the BDSM Subculture
  David Weir (York St. John University, UK): Solitude in Leadership Development Sandra L. Bosacki (Brock University, Canada): Multifaceted silences in adolescence: Implications for social cognition and mental health Kamil Węgorowski (University of Szczecin, Poland): Love & the Internet – a case study of loneliness in modern international relationships
  Adam Neal (University of Warwick, UK): Social Poverty Barbara Żakowska (University of Szczecin, Poland): Being alone or interbeing? Mindfulness for teachers – finding the work balance  
4.15 pm BREAK
4.25 pm PLENARY SEMINAR 2: Ben Mijuskovic (California State University, USA): Loneliness is not a medical disease nor a psychiatric disorder; it’s the existential essence of man link to MS Teams
5.10 pm END OF DAY
9.00 am INTRODUCTION TO DAY 2: Małgorzata Wałejko link to MS Teams
9.05 am PLENARY SEMINAR 3: Jarosław Horowski (Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland): The morality and the loneliness link to MS Teams
9.50 am BREAK
Moderator: Anna Murawska link to MS Teams
  Eyal Rosenstreich, Liel Cohen, Or Nahum, Michal Baliakob (Peres Academic Center, Israel): Loneliness and COVID-19: The typology of loneliness and use of technology to connect with others as revealed by Ecological Momentary Assessments (EMA) during lockdown
  Danuta Anna Michałowska (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland): Aloneness the context of neoliberalism
  Irena Ramik- Mażewska (University of Szczecin, Poland): Loneliness of women with intellectual disabilities
10.45 am BREAK
Alone in theory link to MS Teams
Older loneliness link to MS Teams
  Moderator: Julian Stern Moderator: Gillian Simpson
  Christophe Perrin (Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium): Might God have been wrong? Elżbieta Dubas (University of Lodz, Poland): Adult Loneliness
  Piotr Domeracki (Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland): Between Monolectical and Dialectical Philosophy of Solitude and Communitiveness Anna Warchlewska (Poznań University of Economics and Business, Poland): Financial exclusion of people over 65 years old – loneliness trap
  Karolina Nowak (Poznan University of Economics and Business, Poland): Between the alienated “math person” and the common “people person”. Ethical dimensions of personal alienation and community in the fintech era Arkadiusz Wąsiński (University of Lodz, Poland): Experiencing loneliness as a source of existential suffering in a case of Alzheimer’s disease
  Simon Smith (University of Surrey, UK): Solitude, Separation, and Absence n the Dialectics of Consciousness Rafał Iwański (University of Szczecin, Poland): Loneliness and care of the elderly
    Martyna Klimek (Hospice Foundation in Gdansk), Anna Janowicz (Hospice Foundation in Gdansk, WSB University in Gdansk, Poland): The family carer should not be alone. First steps towards inclusion of lonely family carers of people at the end of life in Poland
    Piotr Krakowiak (Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland): Learning from others about reduction of solitude and loneliness in end-of-life care. How British Carers UK model can inspire Polish society and help family caregivers
12.45 pm BREAK
Thinking solitudes link to MS Teams
The art of being alone link to MS Teams
  Moderator: Henrieta Șerban Moderator: Aleksander Cywiński
  Sarah Pawlett Jackson (The Open University and the University of Roehampton, UK): Alone without you, alone without an us Paula Wiażewicz-Wójtowicz (University of Szczecin, Poland): Alone in Art
  Anna Murawska (University of Szczecin, Poland): Does hope die in loneliness? Multidirectional relationship between hope, loneliness and solitude Torgeir Fjeld (Ereignis Center for Philosophy and the Arts, Norway): After words, silence: interpassivity and trauma in Bergman’s middle years
  Gizem Kayahan (Instanbul Technical University, Turkey): Does freedom lead to loneliness? Joanna Sobesto (Jagiellonian University, Poland): How to embrace the aloneness of a translator: the case of Bolesława Kopelówna
  Paulina Wężniejewska (University of Szczecin, Poland): There are different kinds of solitude. Between the desert of seclusion, the garden of solitude, and the palace of mystery Joanna Król (University of Szczecin, Poland): Lonely towards the system: a subculture of beat generation in the Stalinist period in Poland (1948-1956)
Anna Murawska: Dyrektor Instytutu Pedagogiki (Uniwersytet Szczeciński, Polska)
Julian Stern (Bishop Grosseteste University, UK) i Małgorzata Wałejko (Uniwersytet Szczeciński, Polska) link do Zespołów MS
15.00 Link OTWARTY CHAT do MS Teams


ATA2 Plenary Speakers

Ben Mijuskovic (California State University, USA): Loneliness is not a medical disease nor a psychiatric disorder; it’s the existential essence of man

Jarosław Horowski: The morality and the loneliness

Julian Stern: Personhood, Alone and Together