Educational Research seminars

We run frequent research seminars on a wide variety of themes during term time. For details of forthcoming seminars, please visit our Events page.

Many of these seminars are recorded and the recordings of recent seminars can be seen on this page. Our Seminar Series Archive contains recordings/slides from 2009 to 2018.

Murray Saunders & John McGovern: Higher Education as a soft power mechanism: using a practice-based realist approach to evaluative inquiry

Murray Saunders & John McGovern: Department of Educational Research, Lancaster University & Higher Education Consultant 14.6.23

The seminar will report on a series of evaluations of British Council interventions which use the mechanism of a high-level conference to promote positive predispositions toward the UK and disseminate UK based expertise. It will critically outline the key elements of a ‘soft power’ strategy and provide a theoretical approach to evaluation in these contexts. It will illustrate the strategy by using data from 10 countries from case study evaluations of ‘Going Global’ (high level HE policy themed international conference) and ‘New Directions’ (English language themed international conference).

Murray Saunders and John McGovern form IDEAs which is an evaluation consultancy specialising in Higher Education.

Murray Saunders has a chair in Evaluation in Education and Work in the Department of Educational Research, Lancaster University.

John McGovern is a Higher Education consultant specialising in change and organisational strengthening in global HE environments and formerly Director of Marketing and Student Recruitment and Director, Institute for English Language Education at Lancaster University.

Video unavailable for this seminar.

Markus Andrä & David Brody: Digging Deep into Narratives - Metaphor Analysis as a Qualitative Research Tool

Markus Andrä & David Brody: University of Applied Sciences, Dresden, Germany & Orot Yisrael Academic College, Elkana, Israel 31.5.23

Metaphor analysis is a powerful tool for interpreting narratives. Emanating from Lakoff and Johnson’s epistemology of “embodied realism”, it involves a close examination of metaphors bringing together mind and body. The seminar explores this methodology’s potential through the presentation of metaphors used by two male kindergarten teachers in their career narratives. We will unpack the theory, and present our analysis, demonstrating how the metaphors along with the socio-cultural context of each man’s career reveal an in-depth understanding of their career choices and professional development.

Markus Andrä is Professor for Social Work with experience as researcher, preschool teacher, social worker, and teacher in the vocational training of ECEC practitioners. He encourages students not only to criticize social conditions, but also to search for liberating alternative courses of action.

David Brody is Associate Professor of Education. His career spans a lifetime of work with young children, teacher education, and research in Early Childhood Education, focused on professional development of teacher educators and men in early childhood.

Jelena Brankovic: Performance comparisons, rankings, and organizational status competition in higher education

Jelena Brankovic: Faculty of Sociology, Bielefeld University, Germany 17.5.23

Nowadays, status competition between higher education institutions is considered inextricable from rankings. And while status distinctions between colleges and universities are usually acknowledged long historical roots, performance comparisons are typically seen as having become relevant only recently. A closer look at the historical interlacing of performance comparisons, status distinctions, and rankings over the 20th century—which will be the focus of the seminar—urges us to reconsider the received narratives about the structural origins of organizational status competition in higher education.

Jelena Brankovic is a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Sociology, Bielefeld University. Her current research focuses on the institutionalization of rankings and other practices of comparison across sectors, with a particular attention to higher education and transnational governance.

Video unavailable for this seminar.

Troy Heffernan: Fighting for breath in the modern university: Surviving in inequitable settings

Troy Heffernan: Manchester Institute of Education, The University of Manchester 3.5.23

After decades of neoliberal change leading to universities experiencing funding cuts and adopting corporate approaches that see teaching, learning, and research monetised for profit, where does this leave staff and students as we continue through the twenty-first century? This presentation examines who gets to succeed in this performance driven era, and who is left to struggle for survival in a sector that prides itself on diversity and inclusion, but is far from an equitable or merit-driven learning and research space.

Dr Troy Heffernan is a Senior Lecturer and Fulbright Scholar at the University of Manchester's Institute of Education. His research examines higher education administration and policy with a particular focus on investigating the inequities that persist in the sector.

Joanne Hardman: Implications of COVID-19 on pedagogical practices across fee and no-fee schools

Joanne Hardman: School of Education, University of Cape Town 8.3.23

COVID-19 led to the immediate closure of schools around the world, with teachers and students turning to Information Communication Technologies to continue the school year. In South Africa, lockdown threatened to widen already great inequality gaps between the have and have nots, as people tried to get devices to learn with and ensure connectivity. A survey of 1089 teachers across South Africa, in both fee and no fee-paying schools was carried out to ascertain the impact that COVID lockdown had on pedagogical practices in schools in the country. Using a survey with both open and closed questions, the current paper addresses how pedagogy changed under COVID. Two broad pedagogical types emerge from this research. Collaborative pedagogy is characterised by the use of novel technology to develop students’ understanding while reinforcement pedagogy relies on traditional chalk and talk methods to reinforce content that is already known.

Joanne Hardman is an associate professor in the School of Education, UCT. A psychologist by training, her research focuses on child development and teaching/learning with technology. She holds the Distinguished Teachers’ award from UCT and is an NRF rated scientist.

Priscilla Echeverria De La Iglesia: The pedagogical agency capacity in novice teachers: The responsibility of initial teacher formation programs from a critical

Priscilla Echeverria De La Iglesia: Department of Educational Research, Lancaster University. 8.2.23

Valuing an integral perspective of education - opposite to a technocratic one - this seminar addresses initial teacher formation as a crucial and formative space to restore a perspective of what a critical education can look like. This seminar discusses the need for initial teacher formation programs to assume a responsibility enabling pedagogy students with agency capacities to deal with a technocratic school culture that empties education of meaning and makes them become bureaucrats, and in turn be able to relate to their future students to promote the development of their own agency capacities, contributing to develop more democratic societies.

Priscilla Echeverría is a PhD student in the Educational Research Department at Lancaster University, where she is developing research focused on formation of teachers for social justice. She has dedicated twelve years working in Initial Teacher Formation programs in Chilean universities from a reflective and critical approach. Her research interests are related to sociology of education, philosophy of education, social justice, and critical pedagogy.

Mollie Etheridge: Refusal, obfuscation and academic motherhood

Mollie Etheridge: Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge 16.11.22

This presentation reflects on the sociological implications of ‘care-full obfuscations’. Identified during interviews with 38 UK-based academics on the topic of parenthood/desired parenthood, care-full obfuscation refers to the impulse – felt disproportionately by the women in the project – to obscure, underplay or deny the impact of caring responsibilities or desires on one’s ability to complete academic tasks. While the gendered ‘stickyness’ (Henderson, 2020) of care work has raised questions regarding the (in)compatibility of academic work and motherhood, I argue obfuscation is a form of political agency that pushes against both the construct of the productive and available academic, and the image of the selfless and wholly responsible ‘intensive’ (Hays, 1996) mother.

Mollie Etheridge is a Research Assistant in the Research Strategy Office at the University of Cambridge. She is writing up her PhD in Education (Cambridge), which explores how the onto-epistemological histories of academic culture inform contemporary academics’ experiences of (desired) parenthood.

Video unavailable for this seminar.

Asiphe Mxalisa: Intersectional Narratives of Students at Eastern Cape Universities in South Africa

Asiphe Mxalisa: CHERTL & CPGS, Rhodes University, South Africa 26.10.22

While #MustFall movements heightened the call to decolonize the university space, the debates on students’ experiences years later continue and the context of COVID19 has exposed a need for more research to understand how the pandemic also highlighted inequalities in the higher education space. An intersectional lens is then best suited to draw from the experiences of students in the Eastern Cape Universities as students remain constrained by the masculine and patriarchal norms still present in higher education today even with the existence of gender quotas and equality policies. The pattern of hierarchical segregation across gender, racial and ethnic lines encountered in higher education institutions in South Africa is particularly experienced by female students who still find themselves discriminated against due to beliefs regarding maternal responsibilities and male supremacy despite the existence of gender policies.

Asiphe Mxalisa is a PhD candidate at CHERTL which is situated at Rhodes University. As a Gender Activist and Researcher, her interests and activism work focuses on gender, intersectionality and narrative methodologies.

Bekir Gur: Inequality in Transition to High Schools in Turkey

Bekir Gur: Ankara Yildirim Beyazit University, Turkey 25.1.23

All incoming students were placed in a high school based on their standardized exam scores between 2013 and 2017 in Turkey. After 2018, somewhere between 10 to 15 percent of all incoming students are being placed in high schools based on standardized exam scores. Using a recent study based on a large data set obtained from the Ministry of National Education and several other studies, I will talk about the socioeconomic inequality in the transition to secondary schools and the impact of the recent changes on the secondary education transition system in Turkey.

Bekir Gur holds a PhD in instructional technology from Utah State University. He is an associate professor at Ankara Yildirim Beyazit University, Turkey. Previously, he was on a visiting research appointment at the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley as well as an adviser to the Minister of National Education of Turkey. Currently, he is also an adviser to the President of the Council of Higher Education. His primary research interests include data science, computational social science, educational policy studies, comparative and international education, and higher education.

Mik Fanguy: Looking to increase collaboration in online courses? Take note!

Mik Fanguy: School of Digital Humanities and Computational Social Sciences, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) 23.11.22

Note-taking has long been considered an indicator of learner engagement, and the benefits of note-taking are well documented in terms of recall and learning outcomes. The emergence of cloud computing and shared online documents presents opportunities for learners to take notes collaboratively online. This seminar will examine the effects of collaborative note-taking on students’ learning performance in online and flipped learning environments.

Mik Fanguy is an invited professor in the School of Digital Humanities and Computational Social Sciences at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). His research interests include online collaborative writing and note-taking and online and blended education.

Mark Carrigan: Digital scholarship after Covid-19

Dr Mark Carrigan: Institute of Education, University of Manchester 15.6.22

This talk will discuss how the university has changed over the last two years, as well as which of these changes are likely to remain. We can’t expect that the university will snap back to pre-pandemic normality, particularly with regards to the central role that digital platforms now play in academic life. If we’re entering a future where online will have equivalent status to face-to-face then digital scholarship becomes essential to academic practice. Therefore it’s crucial that we put digital scholarship on a firmer conceptual and methodological footing informed by a critical sociology of higher education.

Dr Mark Carrigan is a Lecturer in Education at the University of Manchester. He’s the author of Social Media for Academics, published by Sage and now in its second edition. He tweets at @DrMarkCarrigan.

Jessica Wren Butler: ‘You get your training and it’s basically REF, REF, REF’: Unbelonging, exclusion, and the Research Excellence Framework

Jessica Wren Butler: Department of Sociology, Department of Educational Research, Lancaster University 25.5.22

The role of UK research quality audits has grown in determining research funding allocations for higher education institutions. The increased significance of what is now branded the Research Excellence Framework has manifold implications, particularly in relation to equality, diversity, and inclusion. In this seminar I will use the concept of ‘unbelonging’ alongside qualitative data from my doctoral research project with academic staff and my own experience as a research management professional to illuminate some of the issues at stake.

Jessica Wren Butler is a doctoral researcher at Lancaster University also working in research management. She is interested in experiences of unbelonging, institutionalised injustices, and the disruption of binaries.

Marco Valero Sanchez: Understanding disability disclosure in academia

Marco Valero Sanchez: Leibniz Center for Science and Society (LCSS), Leibniz University Hannover, Germany 18.5.22

The seminar focuses on lived experiences of disclosure by academics with invisible disabilities. Based on a qualitative research study at German universities, it examines how disabled scholars perform and negotiate disability as they develop their careers in academia. It further discusses what implications of disclosure may arise for the disabled individuals. The seminar suggests that neoliberal performance standards strongly affect the disclosure decisions of disabled scholars as these standards amplify ableism and sanism in academia.

Marco Valero Sanchez is a PhD candidate in Sociology at Leibniz University Hannover in Germany. Currently, he is a visiting researcher within REAP at Lancaster University. His research focuses on experiences of disability disclosure, mental health, and ableism in academia.

Morten Hansen: Corporate embedded colleges in England: a real market approach

Morten Hansen: Research Associate, Lancaster University 4.5.22

English universities increasingly partner with private providers to deliver international foundation programmes through corporate embedded colleges. These colleges are often branded by universities but owned by private providers such as Kaplan, Study Group, and Navitas. How should we study this phenomenon and why are private providers so popular with universities?

Morten Hansen is a Research Associate at Lancaster University and a PhD student at the University of Cambridge. He specialises in education markets and has previously worked as a researcher at the Saïd Business School in Oxford.

Video unavailable for this seminar.

Ola Hosny: Opening windows and closing gaps: Egypt’s inclusion policymaking process in Higher Education Institutions

Ola Hosny: School of Humanities and Social Sciences, The American University in Cairo, Egypt 16.3.22

Universities’ inclusion policies play a crucial role in accommodating students with disabilities around the world. Such policies should appreciate students diversified competencies and contributions to the achievement of anticipated learning outcomes. Thus, understanding the nature of the inclusion’s problem, policy and politics can help determine the pre-decision process of inclusion. This seminar looks at how we can use the multiple streams approach supported by the socio-ecological model to think differently about the development of inclusion policies at the university level.

Ola Hosny is an Independent Educational Collaboration, Learning and Adaptation Specialist. Her work focuses on the development of the inclusion policies and/or practices, informing the pedagogic, curricular, and other educational decision-making.

Jan McArthur & Kayleigh Rosewell: Higher Education and Society: insights from unexpected disciplines

Dr Jan McArthur & Dr Kayleigh Rosewell: Department of Educational Research, Lancaster University 9.3.22

This seminar draws on a project that is part of the ESRC and Research England funded Centre for Global Higher Education. The Understanding Knowledge and Student Agency (UKSA) project is a longitudinal and comparative study of undergraduates in three countries: England, South Africa and the USA. The project explores issues of curriculum and student agency among students in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. These disciplines were chosen as examples of what Biglan (1973) called ‘non-life disciplines’, and possibly related to this nomenclature, they have been somewhat under-researched in higher education. Ironically, therefore, one of the core themes and areas of research to emerge from these projects has been a focus on students’ relationships between self and society. In this seminar we discuss the different perspectives we have used to understand these students’ relationships between self and society. These include: why they have chosen to study at university and/or in these disciplines; how they understand each other in terms of issues of diversity; and how they make sense of the nature and purpose of the assessment tasks they undertake. We consider why an orientation to society is important for all undergraduates. We then consider the barriers to developing such an orientation in these disciplines, and then discuss the potential implications for higher education in general. The seminar will bring together student voices over four years and our current work to bring them together into a meaningful narrative.

Jan McArthur’s work considers the nature and purposes of higher education and how this translates to everyday practices of teaching, learning and assessment. Underpinning all her work is a commitment to greater social justice within and through higher education.

Kayleigh Rosewell’s work focuses on academics’ and students’ experiences of higher education with a particular emphasis on equality, diversity and inclusion.

Vikki Hill: Belonging through Assessment: Pipelines of Compassion

Vikki Hill: Teaching, Learning and Employability Exchange, University of the Arts London 9.2.22

The QAA Collaborative Enhancement Project 2021 – Belonging through assessment: Pipelines of compassion – is a collaboration between three art and design universities spanning Scotland and England. The project, led by Vikki Hill at University of the Arts London partners with Glasgow School of Art and Leeds Arts University and aims to identify approaches to assessment that nurture belonging through meaningful, compassionate interactions, practices and policies.

Vikki Hill (SFHEA) is an Educational Developer in the Academic Enhancement Team at University of the Arts London (UAL). Vikki has over 20 years’ experience in art and design education and works with staff to develop pedagogy and support equitable outcomes for students.

Sapna Dileesh: Being an Expatriate Academic

Sapna Dileesh, Postgraduate Student, PhD Higher Education: Research, Evaluation and Enhancement, Lancaster University 2.2.22

Expatriate academics are becoming more important in the higher education sector due to the increased propensity of universities to develop an internationalisation agenda. But how the expatriate academics construct their academic identities needs more attention and research. This seminar looks at how multiple contributing factors such as motivations to expatriate and the experiences influence the development of the academic identities of expatriate academics.

Sapna Dileesh is a Lecturer at Oman Dental College, Oman and has over 10 years of teaching and administration experience in Higher Education. Her research interests are largely focused on Academic work, roles, identities in higher education and innovative technology-enhanced learning solutions and its use in teaching and learning.

Heather Prince: School-based outdoor learning: Lessons for good practice

Professor Heather Prince: Institute of Science & Environment; Centre for Learning, Education and Development, University of Cumbria UK 8.12.21

Outdoor education provides memorable, authentic and contextualised opportunities to extend classroom-based learning. This seminar will present research drawing on empirical data from replicate surveys in state primary schools in England in 1995 and 2017, identifying five key ingredients for successful outdoor learning in schools. These outcomes are situated in teacher professional identity theory and extend the evidence base to support practitioners and policy makers in promoting more opportunities for learning outdoors within formal curricula.

Heather Prince is Professor of Outdoor and Environmental Education. Her research interests are in school-based outdoor learning, pedagogic practice, sustainability and adventure, which reflect her values of enabling all children and young people to experience the outdoors.

Video unavailable for this seminar.

Margaret Blackie: In search of the person in tertiary chemistry education

Dr Margaret Blackie: Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science, Stellenbosch University 24.11.21

The claim of the objectivity of scientific knowledge was at the heart of the push back against decolonisation in the South African context. Exploring the role of the human person in tertiary STEM education has been my driving interest ever since. In this talk I will discuss the value of using Critical Realism as a theoretical framework. It makes visible the roles of the ‘community of chemists’ and provides the foundation for an argument for the necessity of diversity.

Dr Margaret Blackie is a senior lecturer in the Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. She also teaches theology at the same institution. She has research interests in medicinal chemistry and tertiary STEM education.

Nicole Pitterson: How are engineering students navigating curriculum demands, time constraints and heavy workloads?

Nicole Pitterson, Department of Engineering Education, Virginia Tech, USA, November 17th 2021

A key feature of the engineering curriculum is that it is tightly packed, high in content and requires from students a non-negotiable engagement with the foundations of disciplinary knowledge. When compared to students in the arts or social sciences, engineering undergraduates have less choice of subjects and less unstructured study time. This talk will explore the ways in which undergraduate engineering students navigate the complex demands of curriculum, workload and time constraints.

Nicole Pitterson is an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. Her research interests include increasing students’ conceptual understanding of complex concepts, curriculum design, promoting collaboration using active learning strategies and exploring students’ disciplinary identities through engagement with knowledge.

Natalia Karmaeva & Yulia Kosyakova: Adult education and learning – a chance for educationally disadvantaged? A Russian example

Natalia Karmaeva: Institute of Education, HSE University, Moscow, & Yuliya Kosyakova: Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg, Germany; University of Bamberg, Germany 3.11.21

Adult learning and education (ALE) – formal, informal and non-formal, are often considered as an opportunity for the educationally disadvantaged to catch up. In this seminar, we will discuss this and other views on ALE. We will show that individuals from educationally advantaged families and those who have higher education themselves benefit from ALE the most. Using the representative data from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS-HSE), we confirm that advantages are accumulated through ALE within the social groups and between them.

Natalia Karmaeva is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Education, National Research University – Higher School of Economics. Her research interests include education and labour markets, gender and socioeconomic inequality, wider benefits of lifelong learning

Yuliya Kosyakova is Senior Researcher at the Institute for Employment Research (IAB), and Associate Lecturer at the Otto-Friedrich University of Bamberg. Her research revolves around the themes of labour markets, (refugee) migration and integration, gender, sociology of education, and the life course.

Video unavailable for this seminar.

Lee Mackenzie: English and development: A view from Colombia

Lee Mackenzie, Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, Colombia, June 16th 2021

English language education (ELE) is compulsory for most higher education students in Colombia, but little is known regarding the impact of such education on the lives of economically vulnerable students. This seminar reports on an investigation into the contribution that ELE makes to human flourishing in the lives of Colombian graduates from low-income backgrounds. To do so it brings to bear core concepts from the capability approach and the theory of linguistic imperialism.

Lee Mackenzie works as a researcher-lecturer in English at the Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, Colombia. He is currently studying for his PhD in Education and Social Justice at Lancaster University. His research interests include language and human development, and language teacher education.

Lee's presentation starts at 0:32 and finishes at 1:11. Questions start at 1:12

Sophia Kapcia: Intersectional Pedagogy - Its place in the English Language Secondary Classroom

Sophia Kapcia, Educational Research Department, Lancaster University, June 16th 2021

Equity within English classrooms is a great concern and Teachers of English are challenged to develop a more distinctive account of educational achievement or underachievement which encapsulates an intersectionality approach as it pertains to English lessons. Intersectional Pedagogy is a methodology of teaching and learning where the inequality and marginalisation caused from intersecting social identities are understood, clarified, and interrogated. The aim of the study reported here is to understand how Teachers of English use and apply their knowledge of the intersection of gender, race, and class and intersectional pedagogy in their classrooms to respond to the issue of the inequality and inequity currently existing in English classrooms. This thesis utilises unstructured interviews and focus group discussions to assess the impact on pupils' attainment of embedding intersectional pedagogy within the English curriculum and the extent to which teachers incorporate an intersectional approach by using activities within their classrooms to support this. It is relevant for the purposes of this research to consider the reason why the concept of intersectionality is pertinent and applicable today for teachers and schools, more to the point, why Teachers of English need to have more than a passing awareness of how to use an intersectionality framework to understand how historical and contemporary manifestations of identity, difference, and disadvantage continue to shape life chances and outcomes for pupils in the UK. It is hoped that having classroom strategies that embrace intersectional pedagogy within the English classroom will be an effective tool in addressing race, class, and gender inequalities that will further help to closely focus the teaching and learning process.

Sophia Kapcia is a PhD student in the Department of Educational Research, Lancaster University.

Sophia's presentation starts at the beginning of the video and finishes at 0:32. Questions start at 1:12

Joshua Curnett: Poetry & Pose: Heterosexual Male Secondary School English Teachers & Gender Identity

Joshua Curnett, Educational Research Department, Lancaster University, June 9th 2021

How and why do heterosexual male secondary school English teachers present gender identity in the classroom? Using a braided autoethnographic methodological approach, I have explored this question for my PhD thesis. After developing a 'braided' narrative from interviews with research participants and from my experience as a career secondary school English teacher, I suggest ways teachers can (re)consider presentations of gender identity in the classroom. I also suggest further development of braided autoethnography as a qualitative methodological approach.

Joshua Curnett is a PhD candidate in the Department of Educational Research at Lancaster University. He has taught secondary school English since 1998. His research interests include the effects of hegemonic masculinity upon pedagogical efficacy in secondary school education.

Jan McArthur & Joanne Wood: Towards wicked marking criteria: the deceptive allure of clarity

Dr Jan McArthur and Joanne Wood, Lancaster University, May 12th 2021

In this seminar we considered the dissonance between two major themes in the scholarship of teaching, learning and assessment in higher education: the engagement with complex and structured forms of knowledge and the development of increasingly precise marking criteria for assessment. We questioned what is lost when we aim to make assessment a more and more precise practice? We argued that academic knowledge cannot always be broken into manageable “bits” but often should be evaluated holistically. Finally we propose that students who perform “badly” in assessments have often not done this by accident or neglect but rather through diligent and conscientious following of implicit messages we send out as teachers, often in the name of clarity.

Jan McArthur is a Senior Lecturer in Education and Social Justice in the Department of Educational Research, Lancaster University. Jan’s research interests span higher education and social justice. She is the author of Assessment for Social Justice and is committed to both more just forms of assessment and assessment that nurtures greater social justice.

Joanne Wood is a Learning Developer for the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Lancaster University. Joanne has many years’ experience supporting student academic writing. She has developed an approach which foregrounds student agency and seeks to instil an independent and creative approach to their academic work.

Sherran Clarence: How do we turn access into success? Creating spaces for socially just teaching

Dr Sherran Clarence, Rhodes University, South Africa, April 28th 2021

Massification is a feature of many universities around the world today. More students means greater access, greater diversity, and more opportunities for creating success. But how we understand success and share the responsibility for turning access into success for more students needs careful attention and thought. This seminar looked at how we might use practical, powerful social theory to think differently about teaching, learning and student success.

Dr Sherran Clarence is a research associate in the Centre for Higher Education, Research, Teaching and Learning (CHERTL) at Rhodes University in South Africa. Her work focuses on academic staff and student development in the university, and using social theory to create more just, transformative and critical educational and supervision practices.

Gunjan Sondhi: Stuck in the middle of a pandemic: the experiences of international students

Dr Gunjan Sondhi, The Open University, April 21st 2021

As the world ramped down towards a global lockdown in 2020 to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, the mobility of international students in, out of and into the UK was disrupted, delayed and disabled. This led to an immediate crisis of budgetary shortfalls for UK HEIs. This moment of crisis made visible the entangled infrastructures of knowledge, migration and finance that shape the lives of international students. This paper will examine these entanglements and what lessons can be learned for the future.

Dr Gunjan Sondhi is a lecturer in Geography at the Open University, UK. Her research interests focus on the interplay between gender, class, education and skilled mobility.

Carrie Paechter: LGBTQI+ Parented Families and Schools

Professor Carrie Paechter, Nottingham Trent University, March 17th 2021

What are LGBTQI+ families like? What do the children from these families think about them? How do they explain their origins and family life to their friends? How can schools and other agencies support LGBTQI+ parented families? Drawing on her study of LGBTQI+ parented families and their relationships with their children’s schools, conducted with Dr Anna Carlile of Goldsmiths, University of London, Professor Carrie Paechter will explore how parents and children describe their LGBTQI+ parented families, how they express their pride in them, and what they think should happen for their families to be fully included in wider society.

Professor Carrie Paechter is Director of the Nottingham Centre for Children, Young People and Families at Nottingham Trent University, UK. Her research interests include gender, power and knowledge, how we conceptualise hegemonic gender forms, how children construct and understand their identities, active girlhood, and online research methodologies. She is particularly interested in children and young people's embodied identities and how children are understood by themselves and other actors in different social worlds, including the school, the home and the peer group. Her most recent book, LGBTQI parented Families and Schools: visibility, representation, and pride, is co-written with Anna Carlile and published by Routledge.

Radhika Gajjala: Digital Ethnography is not just reading texts online!

Professor Radhika Gajjala, Bowling Green State University, USA, March 3rd 2021

In a "Covid" world more and more humanities researchers are reaching for remote research techniques. An alarming trend seems to be to name all these techniques in and of themselves as “digital ethnography.” This presentation will discuss the issues and problems associated with remote research and what it means to do remote interviews vs actual ethnographic work of digital contexts. I will draw on my experience doing ethnography immersed online and offline since the 1990s to help us collectively think about the nuances, opportunities and limitations of adopting various remote research techniques.

Radhika Gajjala is Professor at Bowling Green State University. She researches gender in online contexts. Her latest book is titled Digital diasporas: Labour and Affect in Gendered Indian Digital Publics (2019). She is currently working on a co-edited book on Gender and Digital Labour.

Amanda Fulford: The University as Troublemaker

Professor Amanda Fulford, Edge Hill University, March 3rd 2021

The university is often portrayed as being in trouble, beset by financial difficulties, market pressures, declining standards, workforce dissatisfaction and student concerns about value for money. Using the etymology of ‘trouble’, this seminar seeks to disrupt such understandings by reclaiming the university not as an institution in trouble, but rather as troublemaker - as an 'agitator of minds'. In doing so, it will look at the pedagogical, political and personal implications of such a shift in thinking.

Amanda Fulford is Professor of Philosophy of Education and Associate Dean for Research in the Faculty of Education at Edge Hill University. Her research interests are in the philosophy of higher education, and in public and community forms of philosophy.

Tony Adams: The Art of Autoethnography

Professor Tony Adams, Bradley University, USA, February 10th 2021

This interactive workshop focused on the art - the skills, crafts, and processes - of doing and writing autoethnography. We will first define autoethnography and describe how the method is informed by both ethnographic and autobiographic practices. We will then explore the artful techniques of conducting fieldwork and representing experience. Numerous examples will be used throughout the workshop. Ample time will be provided for discussion.

Tony E. Adams is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication at Bradley University, USA. He has co-authored and co-edited nine books including Narrating the Closet: An Autoethnography of Same-Sex Attraction, Autoethnography, and the Handbook of Autoethnography. He is a co-editor of the Writing Lives: Ethnographic Narratives book series and founding co-editor of the Journal of Autoethnography.

Fran Myers & Hilary Collins: Uberising’ HE? Teaching identity work behind the digital curtain

Fran Myers & Hilary Collins, January 27th 2021

Fran Myers, University of Manchester Alliance Business School and Dr Hilary Collins, The Open University

New cost drivers and associated labour market adaptations are impacting on the development of online teaching in higher education, encouraging schism in activities and status for teaching lecturers. Through an exploration of sensemaking narratives, this seminar reported on the use of photo-elicitation techniques to understand identity work and emotional labour underway during a transition to a teaching life behind a digital curtain.

Fran’s research interests include mythmaking and shared narratives in public and social life during times of change and crisis. She is also interested in identity story making in workplace and organisational life.

Hilary’s main research interests are in the area of identity and its synergy with the built environment. Most recently, research projects have included investigating sustainability and social innovation and its influence on the role of the professional designer alongside the role of design thinking within strategic design management.

Michael Doherty & Radka Newton: The utility of user personas in HE development projects

Professor Michael Doherty, Law School, Lancaster University and
Dr Radka Newton, Lancaster University Management School, January 20th 2021

This seminar presented the case for using user personas in mainstream higher education curriculum and pedagogic development projects. User personas are a tool used in service design and are archetypes of actual users, often defined by their goals. Personas have a name and face and a backstory of relevant characteristics, interests, behaviours and aims, which inform the design process and facilitate an empathetic understanding of the users. We argue that user personas can be a valuable addition to the repertoire of methods available to educators in HE in pursuing goals such as student-centred learning, engagement and student satisfaction.

Professor Michael Doherty is Associate Head of School and the lead for student experience in Lancaster University Law School. His current research and pedagogy focus is in the developing field of legal design - applying design thinking to legal problems and processes.

Dr Radka Newton is a Senior Teaching Fellow in the Department of Entrepreneurship and Strategy, Lancaster University Management School. Her teaching scholarship investigates the application of Service Design tools and mindset to a University degree programme improvement. Radka is also a co-founder of the Service Design in Education network.

Oksana Afitska: Bringing CLIL into EAL classrooms – a recipe for educational success

Dr Oksana Afitska, Lancaster University, December 12th 2020

In this presentation, drawing on the data from her ongoing research that investigates educational and linguistic challenges that learners with English as an additional language face in state schools in the UK, Oksana argue for the need to bring ‘more language’ into content classrooms to further support EAL learners in their acquisition of the content of the National Curriculum.

Oksana Afitska is a lecturer in teaching English to speakers of other languages at Lancaster University. Her primary research interests lie in the areas of TESOL, content and language integrated learning, curriculum and materials’ development. Oksana has extensive experience in conducting classroom-based research, including carrying out cross-disciplinary intervention studies.

Ben Williamson: Pandemic privatisation through online learning platforms

Dr Ben Williamson, University of Edinburgh, November 25th 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic was the context for rapid market growth of digital technology in higher education (HE) and an acceleration of longstanding trends of privatisation in HE policy. Building on fields of policy sociology, digital sociology and economic sociology, this paper presents an analysis of the mobile multisector policy networks, digital learning platforms, and market devices through which privatisation in HE was advanced during the pandemic. The paper illuminates how crises are used as opportunities for privatising public education.

Ben Williamson is a Chancellor’s Fellow in the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh, editor of Learning, Media and Technology, and author of Big Data in Education: The Digital Future of Learning, Policy and Practice.

Natasa Lackovic (+ guest speakers): Inquiry graphic: new methods and theory in/of Higher Education

Dr Natasa Lackovic, Lancaster University, October 28th 2020

Interested in holistic and relational theories of learning and new approaches to higher education? The role of visual interpretation and material culture in learning? This webinar introduces inquiry graphics with examples across fields linked to the publication of Inquiry Graphics in Higher Education: New Approaches to Knowledge, Learning and Method with Images by Dr Lackovic. It introduces what inquiry graphics are, how they are underpinned by semiotic theory, what makes them unique and flexible for applications across themes and theories.

Natasa Lackovic is an Educational Research Lecturer. She is a semiotician and learning scientist, exploring theory and practice of learning and methods with graphic and multimodal media in higher education across educational levels and key socio-ecological issues.

Natasa was joined by Zoe Hurley, Nim Yan Sun, Billiana Popova and Geraldine McDermott.

Katharine Stapleford

Katharine Stapleford - Navigating the distances of online learning

Katharine Stapleford, PhD Student, Lancaster University, 10th June 2020

This study is a narrative inquiry into the lived experiences of postgraduate online distance learners. Using the Theory of Transactional Distance (TTD) as a theoretical lens, it illuminates the types of interaction which are significant for these learners both within and beyond the learning environment. Preliminary findings suggest that the most meaningful interactions occur in the professional context, where the learner can apply their learning. This necessitates a reconceptualisation of TTD.

Katharine Stapleford is a Lecturer in Digital Education at the University of Leeds. Her background is in English language teaching and teacher education. Katharine is currently a PhD student on the Lancaster E-research & Technology Enhanced learning programme.

Olga Rotar

Olga Rotar - In their own words, from their own perspective: adult students in online higher education

Olga Rotar, Centre for Higher Education Research and Evaluation, Lancaster University, 27th May 2020

This study provides a detailed picture of qualitatively different ways of conceptualizing online learning and academic success by the adult student population in the context of two higher education institutions. Furthermore, it offers insights into the nature of these differences by showing their connection to the Self-Determination Theory and explaining the impact of the social context on how learning and success are experienced by adults.

Olga is a doctoral researcher at Lancaster University and a former distance learning specialist at the University of Economics, Saint-Petersburg. Her research interests rest in the areas of online education, adult education, internationalization and marketization of higher education, and epistemic justice.

Richard Budd

Richard Budd - The University’s Physical Presence: Attraction, Interaction, and Obstruction

Dr Richard Budd, CHERE, Department of Educational Research, Lancaster University, 13th May 2020

Despite the fact that the majority of students attend a campus to study, there is little research exploring the ways in which those physical spaces mediate students’ experiences. Drawing on focus group data from a current UK-based project, this seminar considers – from students’ perspectives – the varied impacts of the location, buildings, layout, and facilities of a university. These include attracting and repelling enrolments, enabling and disabling interactions, and supporting and inhibiting learning and other activities.

Richard is a Lecturer in Higher Education at Lancaster University and has worked in comparative education since 2000. His primary foci are students’ experiences, educational inequalities, and higher education policy.

Carol Binns - Academics from a Working-Class Heritage: ghosts of childhood habitus

Dr Carole Binns, University of Bradford, 19th February 2020

This presentation focuses on a qualitative study of 14 academics from a working-class heritage who are employed as a Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader or Professor, and who have journeyed from the traditional expectations and social identities of their working-class family backgrounds. After theming and analysing the data, these academics could be placed into one of three group types, depending on their later (sometimes decades later) experiences of the academy. This presentation discusses their reflective awareness of social mobility.

Carole Binns is from the University of Bradford. She has published and presented work in the fields of higher education practice, widening participation and social mobility within academia, and has contributed to the Times Higher Education magazine and The Conversation.

Rille Raaper

Rille Raaper - From Students to Professionals. Constructing Student Politics in English Students’ Unions

Dr Rille Raaper, School of Education, Durham University, 12th February 2020

This paper explores the ways in which a selection of sabbatical officers from English students’ unions constructed their political agency during the policy consultation processes leading to the Higher Education and Research Act 2017. The findings demonstrate a strong influence of the unions’ professional staff and the National Union of Students on sabbatical officers’ work, and the paper will question whose agency the sabbatical officers exercise in such processes as higher education policy consultation: that of students or professional staff?

Dr Rille Raaper is an Assistant Professor at Durham University where her research interests lie in higher education policy and practice, consumerist positioning of students and student politics. She has published widely on assessment policies, students-as-consumers and political agents.

Eric Lybeck

Eric Lybeck - The University Revolution since 1800

Dr Eric Lybeck, Manchester Institute of Education, University of Manchester, 5th February 2020

Few institutions in modern society are as significant as higher education; and yet our historical and sociological understanding of the role of universities has not been substantially updated for decades. Revisiting the emergence and transformation of higher education since 1800, this book suggests this development was as central as the industrial and democratic revolutions in constituting the modern world. This new interpretation of universities’ role in society promises to reorient our understanding of the importance of higher education in the past and future development of modern societies.

Eric Lybeck is a Presidential Academic Fellow at the Manchester Institute of Education at the University of Manchester working on the historical sociology of universities. He is currently editor-in-chief of the journal, Civic Sociology, published by University of California Press.

Aileen Fyfe

Aileen Fyfe - The Social Dynamics of Peer Review at the Royal Society, 1865 to 1965

Professor Aileen Fyfe, School of History, University of St Andrews, 22nd January 2020

Prior to the mid-twentieth century, peer review was a form of research evaluation associated with a particular form of scholarly community: the learned society. This paper draws upon my team’s research into the history of journal publishing at the Royal Society of London. It investigates the way that processes developed in a gentlemanly, socially-exclusive context were affected by the growth of scientific research, and the increased diversity of people participating in research, in the twentieth century.

Aileen Fyfe is a historian of science, technology and publishing. She is currently investigating the history of academic publishing from the seventeenth century to the present day, including the financial models underpinning scientific journals, their editorial and reviewing processes, and the role of learned society publishers. She is lead-author of the 2017 briefing paper ‘Untangling Academic Publishing: a history of the relationship between commercial interests, academic prestige and the circulation of research’.

Aysun Öztürk

Aysun Öztürk - Homo economicus in the campus: Are we ‘producing’ them?

Aysun Öztürk, Graduate School of Educational Sciences, Gazi University, Turkey, 13th November 2019

Every ideology has its human model. Since classic liberalism, we have been talking about homo economicus who are capable of taking rational decisions in order to get the best possible result for themselves. Even though many research claim that this is a flawed model, or neoliberalism’s human model is way more different than homo economicus; the fact that ideologies influence the way we think, how we interpret, live, and understand the world around us, is undeniable. This talk will be about whether we, as academics, have a role on influencing students’ neoliberal beliefs, values, and attitudes.

Aysun’s main research interest is sociology of higher education. Her studies focus on neoliberal ideology, critical pedagogy, and hidden curriculum in higher education institutions. She is currently working on her comparative PhD thesis on neoliberal ideology in higher education hidden curricula in Turkey and England.

Cassie Earl

Cassie Earl - Nurturing Dissent: Developing the Unruly Subject in Higher Education

Dr Cassie Earl, Department of Educational Research, 6th November 2019

Education should capture the unruly desires of students as learning tools. Non-engagement with dissent has the effect of illustrating that political actions and the politics of education are separate issues. I argue that it is the role of the critical educator in the university to make connections around politics in ways that capture the social and political imaginations of students. Understanding the importance of dissent and the unruly subject becomes paramount for those who will be the next generation of scholars if anything is to change.

Cassie is interested in the politics of education and how political literacy is developed. She is currently writing a book on this topic that this seminar is based on. Cassie has worked in various forms of activism for many years before coming into higher education.

Tendayi Marovah

Tendayi Marovah - Historical consciousness: Ideas for secondary school history teaching in Zimbabwe

Dr Tendayi Marovah, Midlands State University, Zimbabwe, 2nd October 2019

Tendayi Marovah draws on practical arguments from history philosophy to analyse pedagogical practices in Zimbabwean secondary school history. He argues that historical consciousness is the highest level of engagement in a history classroom to guarantee a genuine shift from a knowledge-focused curriculum to a competence-based curriculum. Ahead of historical literacy and historical awareness, historical consciousness fosters complex competencies involving verbally expressed cognitive dealings with the past and embodied expressions of how people experience, use, and perform the past.

Tendayi’s studies use the capability approach, as a normative analytical and evaluative tool to assess the contribution of education in Zimbabwe towards human development and social justice. His current projects are sponsored by AHCR and AHRC Networking Grant.

Download Tendayi's presentation slides

Historical consciousness PowerPoint slides
Lyndsay Grant

Lyndsay Grant - Anticipating educational futures through data: an ethnography of an English secondary school

Dr Lyndsay Grant, School of Education, University of Bristol, 29th May 2019

Through a critical account of data practices in one school, this seminar explores how multiple educational futures - targets, predictions and probabilities – were produced through data. Through these practices, optimising pupils’ data futures became what mattered most to the school, while simultaneously catching teachers and pupils in an impossible bind of trying to resolve their incompatibilities. Rather than simply rejecting educational data, this seminar concludes by considering the possibility of doing data differently to open up rather than close down educational futures.

Lyndsay has worked as a researcher in education and digital technologies since 2005 in both higher education and the third sector, taking a critical, cultural studies approach to understanding socio-technical change in education through empirical research and theoretical engagement.

Seijin Lee

‘Smart’ teachers’ in a ‘Smart’ city: A discourse study on the 21st century techno-pedagogy in South Korea

Sejin Lee, Centre for Technology Enhanced Learning, Department of Educational Research, 13th March 2019

This seminar presents how social and educational discourses related to the idea of ‘Smart-ness’ have influenced teachers’ perceptions and practices in a specific cultural context of Sejong City in South Korea, which is posited as a new ‘smart city’ in policy conversations. Starting from collecting and analysing a set of government policy documents, this study focused on the continuities and the discontinuities between how the SMART education is constructed in policy conversations and how teachers think, teach, and learn in reality. By analysing those discourses and their discursive formation and immanent effects on the focused pedagogical subjects, this study attempts to deconstruct the taken-for-granted assumptions related to the SMART education, which seem to impose certain pedagogical ideas upon teachers - despite their incompatibility and inconsistency with teachers’ real-life classroom practices.

Sejin is a doctoral researcher at the Centre for Technology Enhanced Learning, Educational Research. He is also an elementary school teacher in South Korea. His research interests lie in the field of teacher education and education policy which is related to the pedagogy of the 21st century that support technology integration.

Chris Muellerleile

Chris Muellerleile - Wasting the University with Metrics

Dr Chris Muellerleile, Lecturer of Economic and Urban Geography, Swansea University, 20th February 2019

This paper argues that an obsession with quantitative metrics is damaging universities, and it employs the concept of waste to make the case. It argues that contemporary political discourse frames publically funded universities first, as an unaccountable ‘waste’ of taxpayer funds, and second as a ‘wasted’ commons that could provide greater economic benefits if properly ordered by competitive metrics. Finally, it explains how rather than making universities more efficient, competitive metrics are ‘wasting’ the beneficial excessiveness of teaching and research.

Chris is an urban and economic geographer and political economist. His research focuses on the spatial dynamics of markets and commodities, in both the past and present. With colleagues, he is currently writing a book on the growth of quantitative metrics in higher education.