Staff Research Interests
Our staff have a wide range of research interests in the field of education.
My research interests are focused on the relations between teaching-learning and knowledge-curriculum practices in higher education. I am also interested in the relations between these practices and higher education policies as well as the relations between theories and methods in research into higher education. The kinds of questions that I explore in this research include: What counts as high quality teaching and learning in higher education? How is this positioned in policies and practices? How do we research and theorise these competing notions of quality?
Brett Bligh is a Lecturer in the Department for Educational Research. He conducts research into the connections between our material surroundings, the technologies that permeate them, and the ways we act, think and learn.
Much of his research concerns adult learners, and particularly the Higher Education sector. Recurring interests include how educational institutions design and evaluate their built environment estate to support opportunities for learning, how Universities attempt to expand and replicate their institutional forms in other countries (for example, by establishing international branch campuses), how Universities might change as a result of initiative 'from below' generating expansive learning, and how technological tools can support learners’ collaboration. More general interests include Activity Theory, the Change Laboratory methodology, and collaborative learning.
He is currently
- co-Director of the Centre for Technology Enhanced Learning,
- Director of the Doctoral Programme for Traditional Route Research students,
- co-ordinator of the CL-SIG group dedicated to discussing uses of the Change Laboratory approach in higher education settings,
- co-ordinator of the SpacePort group dedicated to discussing research into learning spaces in higher education;
- a member of the Centre for Higher Education Research and Evaluation.
In 2012 he co-authored Nesta's Decoding Learning report, and was previously a member of the EU's "STELLAR" Network of Excellence for Technology Enhanced Learning. In 2010, as part of the Visual Learning Lab, he was awarded a Lord Dearing Award for innovation in teaching and learning.
My main interests are in digital technologies, social justice and in/equality. In particular, my work focusses on challenging inequalities that manifest and are reproduced in everyday uses of digital technologies. I am currently writing a book Disabled Children and Digital Technologies. Everyday Practices in Childhood for Bloomsbury. Previous projects have included research into digital inclusion, digital pedagogy, inclusive pedagogical design, digital literacy including online safety; and digital innovation.
Research evaluation, Evaluation societies, Peer review processes, Societal impact (“Impact”), International and national research assessment frameworks, UK Research Excellence Frameworks, Higher Education policies, Research and innovation policies, Responsible research and innovation, Bibliometrics, Scientometrics, Altmetrics, Research governance, Evidence-based and evidence-informed policymaking, Health policy making, Research Utilisation, Public engagement, Mixed methodology, Qualitative research, Research networks, Social network analysis, Research visualisation, Text visualisation and Science communication.
My research explores aspects of gender and education. Questions I investigate include: how do learner and gender identities intersect? What motives 'laddish' behaviours? What are the advantages and disadvantages of single-sex and co-educational schools or classrooms? How do fears operate in education, and with what effects? Why is 'effortless achievement' so appealing, and is it gendered?
I have also undertaken research on the doctoral examination process, especially the viva.
I am Lecturer in Higher Education and my research interests broadly concern higher education policy and governance, the political economy of higher education and the digital economy.
I am interested in the diversity and complexity of markets in and around universities, including the variety of actors that have entered the sector, their strategies, ways of working, and consequences for higher education and societies at large. I have developed a heuristic of the global higher education industry with four types of markets based on two dimensions. The first dimension is whether universities are sellers or buyers of things and services; while the second dimension is whether actors sell things and services for immediate profit/surplus or not. I am focused on market-making processes and the role of market devices.
I am also interested in the platform capitalism and platformization of universities. I am examining how digital platforms are tools for market expansion in the higher education sector and the effects that they have on the sector and its actors. I continue to nourish my interest in higher education policy. Particularly I am following the higher education multi-level and multi-actor governance reforms.
I am Co-Director of the Centre for Higher Education Research and Evaluation at Lancaster University. I am also part of the Centre for Global Higher Education – a research partnership of international universities and based at the UCL Institute of Education. I am an external member of the Culture, Politics and Global Justice research cluster based at the University of Cambridge. Besides my academic work, I am still involved in the higher education policy and practice at the European level; and particularly in quality assurance. I am a member of the Council of the Magna Charta Observatory, an evaluator of national quality assurance agencies for ENQA (European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education), and a member of the Appeals Committee for the EQAR (The European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education).
My main research interest is in the field of graphic/visual, multimodal and digital methods and theories of education, knowledge, media and communication. This includes public engagement and external artefacts mediation (e.g. photography, digital artefacts and platforms, 3D artefacts, videos, graphic novels, illustrations, any material object, space or place). I am interested how the mind, materiality and emotions are inter-linked and how they make meaning together, in education (higher education and schools), and in the society. If you wonder how to pronounce my name, in the original spelling it is: Nataša (Lacković), the "s" pronounced just like in “Natasha”.
I am a Co-Director of Lancaster University's graphic novels and comics network GNC ReOPeN: http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/reopen/ . This is a pioneering interdisciplinary network, exploring inter-connectedness among graphic narratives (visual communication), knowledge, pedagogy, society and public engagement. In collaborative teams via ReOPeN, I have worked as academic lead and event organiser on an award winning project about pupils' comics creation (The Comic Project with a local artist and the local theatre The Dukes); engaged in international comics based educational inquiry via The British Council/Newton funding; and contributed to NHS/NIHR funded graphic narratives for the purpose of public engagement and explorations of community well being and health inequalities. I chair/contribute to the academic sessions and regular programme sessions of the Lakes International Comics Art Festival (LICAF), and liaise with the festival and national Comics Laureate to develop knowledge in the area of GNC (graphic novels and comics) and education.
I have developed an "Inquiry graphics" approach to teaching and research across disciplines, which offers novel perspectives to visual pedagogies as well as theorising learning and knowledge, with a monograph on this topic soon to be published by Palgrave McMillan.
My interests also include:
- "University-Creative Industry/Museums/Artists/NGOs/Charity" links and collaboration
- Critical views on graduate employability (GE); GE paradigm shift
- Multiculturality and (im)migration, fluid and marginalised identities, critical explorations on how those relate to "internationalisation" and "globalization"
- Student/participant-created (multimodal) resources and artistic acts for renewed socio-cultural awareness, as well as conceptualisations/theorisation of learning in general and HE in particular
My academic experiences have been enriched by working on projects funded by HEA (Higher Education Academy), EU/EC (FP7, H2020, Erasmus Mundus), Esmée Fairbairn, National College for School Leadership, National Institute for Health Research, The British Council, 14-18 NOW, The University of Nottingham, and Lancaster University. This means that I engaged in various projects, tackling education with 3D cultural heritage artefacts, critical conceptualisations of graduate employability, the role of microblogging (Twitter) in HE, international challenges of digital education, Black and Ethnic Minority students’ achievement, "Inquiry graphics" multimodal pedagogy in HE, art-based cross curriculum teaching of water literacies, and pupils' comics creation to support pupils' creativity with regards to language literacy and their interest in reading.
I relate to a range of approaches, including multimodality/multiliteracies, semiotics, visual sociology, literacies, culture and pedagogy, critical theory, critical media literacy, the emerging fields of Edusemiotics (a new theory of knowledge and learning), Numanities (New Humanities), and Post-Humanism/ Digital/Truth.
In sumary, passionate about these research themes:
1) pictorial images, artefact/object based research and practices in general and higher education, addressing educational and wider community needs;
2) multimodality and semiotics, questions of materiality and the digital
3) student/teacher/societal well-being, creativity, justice and empowerment.
My research programme lies at the intersection of online education, higher education, and international education. Taking up sociocultural learning theories and critical approaches to the complex interrelationships between discourse, knowledge, and power, I have aimed to provide more comprehensive explanations of current online higher education, which has been increasingly internationalised. My current research projects focus on understanding and supporting academic and social experiences of non-traditional student groups in online higher education, including: international students, adult students, doctoral students, teachers and educational professionals.
My research interests span two themes: education and social justice, and the nature of higher education. I am interested in inter-relationships between education and society, and between theory and practice. I have explored different interpretations of critical pedagogy, and particularly the ways in which conceptualisations of knowledge impact upon social justice. Much of my work is informed by critical theory, and I have a special interest in the work of Theodor Adorno. My recent work has looked at the nature of assessment and feedback the role of failure in learning including the relationship between conceptions of failure and social justice. My forthcoming book Assessment for Social Justice explores the potential to further social justice within and through HE assessment and draws on the critical theory of Axel Honneth
My research interests concern collaborative work and group discussion in digitally-mediated environments, with a theoretical and practical commitment to social justice and equity within learning communities. I draw upon Marxist and Post-Colonial perspectives, and explore the manifestations of social, historical, political, and economic Discourses in digitally-mediated environments. In particular, I am interested in understanding the ways that sociocultural elements inherent in applications of digital education operate to marginalize students who fall outside the ideations of dominant ideology.
My main areas of research focus on: Teaching and learning outcomes arising from uses of leading edge technologies, in primary, secondary, further and higher education, with concern for intergenerational and lifelong learning practices; Exploring concepts of blended learning and implications for course and programme development; Uses of data and development of data systems to support curriculum and educational practices; How home and out-of-school (formal, non-formal and informal learning) practices can enhance and support formal learning at an individual learner level; How technologies support young people who are at risk of learning exclusion or who are hard to reach; How evaluation and research can be undertaken to support policy and practice.
I am interested in how educators and other professionals can:- learn from experience and develop competence;- learn to work together in online environments (networked learning/team training); and- adopt new technologies and design learning experiences.
I have experience of collaborating with a wide range of European science and engineering organisations to research into innovative technology-enhanced learning solutions in professional development, particularly involving video/virtual reality technologies such as simulations, games and virtual reality worlds. Previous research has involved a virtual/online laboratory for training radio-pharmacists, and 3D simulation based training for emergency response teams.
I have a broad range of research interests in the fields of higher and post-compulsory education. Over the years, these have included research into:
- changing patterns of academic work
- the nature of the academic experience
- the development of higher education research
- the history and meaning of higher education
- alternative modes of study
- the postgraduate and research experience
- mature and 'non-traditional' students
- comparative studies
- patterns of participation
- the role of learning in adult life
I am probably best known for my work on Academic Tribes and Territories. However my interests range across many areas of higher education, both substantive and methodological. These are detailed below. I am a policy sociologist, and apply that analytical lens across domains of research and evaluation which broadly concern policy production and enactment in different higher education contexts. I work with an eye to making a difference: 'enhancement' is a watchword that guides my work. I have advised institutional leaders, higher education organizations and change agents in higher education around the world for many years.
My research interests lie in two related areas:
- gender in education, with particular emphasis on men, masculinities and teaching/caring roles in early childhood;
- emotional aspects of children's lives in educational contexts with a particular emphasis on their ongoing construction of identity.
The linking concept between these interests is identity which I interpret as relational rather than individual.