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Free University of Bozen-Bolzano

Research and Documentation Centre of South Tyrol's Educational History (FDZ/CDR)


The Centre’s main goal consists in the documentation and research of South Tyrol’s educational history, based on defined key points and connected to over regional and international perspectives. The theoretical foundation used for this research is the conception of school as “institutional actor“ theorised by Helmut Fend (2006), using a widened concept based upon action-theoretical, system-theoretical and institution centred approaches. This scientific background designs a theoretical concept of school fitted for the social and pedagogical research field.


The main research interest is the genesis of school, as a history of directives with political and educational intention and pedagogical principles at the macro level, as an institutional history at the meso level and as a decisive factor for the individual educational biographies, for the life and work of the protagonists at the micro level (pupils and teachers with their cultural life experiences). The Centre researches formal learning environments, but also informal and non-formal learning environments, as contexts, alongside the political and cultural economies, where individual and collective identities and competences are developed.

International Conferences

Research projects


Online-exhibition of the project „Alphabetisierung in der Fremdsprache“ (Alphabetization in the foreign language)

“If one understands educational systems as realities, created and perpetuated by actors, then the history of their genesis is indispensable, if one wants to comprehend its current manifestations.” (Fend, H. 2006,16)

Photo: 3D glasses – Collection of the Centre’s teaching materials


Aiming to thoroughly research social and pedagogical fields of action, the necessity to not only use materials documented by traditional archives, but to include oral, material and figurative sources, presents itself. The important mission of the Centre consists in the collection and maintenance of relevant sources and databases (oral history, images, school books and texts, teaching materials and educational boards), facilitating a multilevel analysis.

Events and Initiatives

Regularly, in the spaces allocated to FDZ/CDR, exhibitions, workshops, book presentations, coffee-meetings and conferences are organized for students, teachers, the international research community and the interested public. Furthermore, the Centre offers initiatives - including JuniorUni - for schools of all levels and for all linguistic groups:

a) Initiatives for schools and interested public

  • Using the authentic resources of the collection (pictures, movies, text books, didactical materials, regulations…), topics regarding the history of school are examined within the context of research partnerships, guided tours and/or workshops. No special knowledge is requested beforehand. The addressees are schools of all levels and linguistic groups. The offers are free of charge.

b) Focal points

  • When and where South Tyrol’s  first school was built? Who were the teachers and students?

  • What ambitions did the Empress Maria Theresia have, introducing compulsory schooling in 1774? How did fascism and national socialism change South Tyrol’s school? Where there any similar situations (secret schools) anywhere else? How did those experiences influence the students and how much were they biographically and retrospectively relevant to them?

  • When and how could one see the sentimentalization of school, implemented by political and ecclesiastical authorities?
  • Since when girls have direct access to education?


Prof. Dr. Annemarie Augschöll Blasbichler, scientific director
Dott. Sarah Zannini, scientific assistant

The FDZ-CDR is located inside the Missionshaus-Casa delle Missioni, Regensburger Allee-Viale Ratisbona 24, Brixen-Bressanone. As we are currently moving, guiding tours are available upon request.

Research projects

Grammar school Reinswald ,1905 (Photo: FDZ)

Summary of Research and Scholarship during the previous five Years / Award-winning Projects


Summary of Research and Scholarship during the previous five Years / Award-winning Projects

  • „Kleinschulen im alpinen Raum“ (Small Schools in the Alpine area), financed by INTERREG I-C; partners PH-Wallis and PH-Graubünden (CH); 2010-2015  (project leader). Awarded by INTERREG as “Progetto Significativo” (Significative project), December 2015;
  • “Das Schulhaus, Lebens-, Lern- und Arbeitsort” (The school building: a place to live, learn and work in), financed by the Free University of Bozen/Bolzano, 2010-2014 (project leader);
  • “Arbeitsmigration in Südtirol”(Work migration in South Tyrol), financed by the Autonomous Province of Bozen-Bolzano; project partner: Institute of Contemporary History at the University of Innsbruck (AT), 2014-2017;
  • “Die Geschichte der Schule als Teil unserer Identitätsgeschichte”(History of School as part of the history of our identity), project initialized by Decree of the Minister for Education and Research; partner: Ten chosen professors from Italian universities, since 2012

Summary of current Research and Scholarship


Summary of current Research and Scholarship

  • Exploring Special Educational Places in Tyrol from a Historical Perspective, Euregio Mobility Fonds, partner: University of Innsbruck (AT), authorized in June 2018;
  • “Bildungsbiographie und Chancengleichheit in Brixen und Umgebung” (Educational biographies and equal opportunity in Brixen/Bressanone and its surroundings), project partner: Municipality of Brixen/Bressanone, Department for School and Culture, Council for Equal Opportunities, 2017-2019;
  • A European comparison of teaching material - criteria for its development and evaluation, Erasmus+KA 2-3, project leader: University of Bielefeld (DE), authorized in June 2018;
  • Rural schools and rural communities in times of centralization and rural-urban migration, project leader University of Oslo (NO), in process;
  • Borderland Children in Interwar Europe, project leader University of Vienna (AT), in process;
  • Imagining the World, project leader Research Library of the History of Education in Berlin (DE), in process; planned submission as a EU–project, in process;
  • Governance Education Network in the Alpine Space, project partner: University of Aosta (IT), PH Wallis and PH Graubünden (CH), prepared; planned submission to INTERREG I-CH 2014-20, in process.

Other cooperations and project partnerships


Other cooperations and project partnerships

  • Kleine Schulen im alpinen Raum (Small schools in the Alpine area), project partner: PH Graubünden (CH), PH Wallis (CH);
  • Lokale Bildungslandschaften (Local educational landscapes), project Partner: PH Ludwigsburg (DE), PH Salzburg (AT), University of Oslo (NO);
  • Bildungsbiographische Verläufe in peripheren Gebieten (Education biography patterns in periferal areas, project partner), University of Monash (AU), University of Wellington (NZ), University of New Foundland (CA);
  • Historische Bildungsforschung (Historical educational research, project partner: University of Macerata (IT), University of Milano (IT), University of Bielefeld (DE), University of  Campobasso (IT), University of Sao Paolo (BR), University of Berlin (DE), University of Innsbruck (AT), University of Sidney (AU);
  • From speechlessness to speaking. Educational paths of three generations in European minority areas with alphabetization-limitations due to historical events, prepared as a project to be submitted to HERA project partner: Universidad del País Vasco (ES); University of Dublin (IE); University of Klagenfurt (AT).