CelebYouth Interim Workshop
On 15th October, Laura Harvey and Heather Mendick in collaboration with Kim Allen from Manchester Metropolitan University held a workshop to share early findings from their ESRC funded study of the role of celebrity in young people’s classed and gendered aspirations. The event drew in over 30 practitioners working in a range of fields including teaching, careers education and youth work. Click here to see pictures and read more about the event on the project website.
The Staff-Student Conference: Journeys in Educational Research
The 2012 Brunel Education Staff Student Conference took place on Saturday 8th December with 35 participants, ranging from students who had just begun their doctorate to experienced professors. Ian Rivers welcomed people on behalf of the Head of School and then Rosalyn George from Goldsmiths University of London opened the day with her keynote address: Looking Out For Little Miss Popular: The Insider story. Rosalyn explored her research journey from her childhood as a grammar schoolgirl from a council estate to a professor sharing the BBC Breakfast couch with Sian and Charlie to discuss her work on girls’ friendship groups. The day closed with EISI’s own Terri Kim’s keynote talk where she shared her analyses of the research journeys of mobile academics (including her) during the extreme politics of Nazism and of neoliberalism.
In between these two talks the day was organised into three strands by our research groups – with five papers presented under the auspices of the Education, Identities and Social Inclusion (EISI) Research Group, another five under Pedagogy and Professional Practice (PPP) and three papers within Curriculum Adaptations and Educational Interventions (CAEI). All three strands included both staff members and EdD and PhD students. There was plenty of time for discussion across the day and a long break for lunch to enable people to catch up and to meet fellow students – an important function of the event.
In the EISI strand Geeta Ludhra, Heather Mendick, Frank Offer, Janice Howkins and Kate Byfield shared parts of their ‘Journeys in Educational Research’. Geeta explored how her engagement with research had made her re-analyse her experiences of being a mother and a daughter and given her a different sense of power linked to her Hindu heritage. Heather used the recent anti-Page 3 campaign to explore her move from absolutist to poststtructrual epistemologies, saying, in the words of Bob Dylan that this had left her feeling “I was so much older then I’m younger than that now”. Frank talked about how at the start of his course he had seen his doctorate as a destination to be reached, a peak to be climbed, but now imagines himself walking through a metaphorical mist as he too has grappled with an epistemological shift from positivism to phenomenology. Janice analysed her position as a headteacher researching the role of middle managers in her own school and how her doctoral journey had changed her professional practice. She made explicit a caution implicit in all the papers, not to read and think too narrowly. Finally Kate shared with us how she had grappled with her assigned topic of the role of fees in student higher education choices and the tensions she experienced between this and her previous work as a practitioner within widening participation.
Modern Girlhoods Conference
On 8th February 2012, members of EISI supported the Centre for Youth Work Studies (CYWS) to organise a day exploring aspects of young women’s lives in theory, policy and practice. The keynote speaker, Farzana Shain from Keele University, explored how ‘The Girl Effect’ is constructing girlhood in the global North and the global South. This provoked a lively debate on the possibilities and challenges of development for promoting gender equity. Other sessions focused on sexuality, friendships, ethnicity, social class, humour and celebrity. The event was supported by the British Sociological Association and the Gender and Education Association. EISI group leader Heather worked with Fin Cullen, Pam Alldred and Simon Bradford from CYWS to put together a special issue of the journal Sociological Research Online bringing together the best of the material from the conference.