Working with Lauri Johnson and Sue Winton we have recently been successful in establishing a World Education Research Association International Research Network – focused on ‘Families, Educators, and Communities as Educational Advocates: Cross National Perspectives’. Lauri led on the project and is the convenor, and Sue and I are acting as co-convenors.
The full proposal submitted, and our aims, can be downloaded here – IRN.proposal.Families.Communities.Advocates.
In essence ‘we aim to take a critical look at the research regarding culturally responsive school-community partnerships that challenge the status quo and work to improve democratic decision-making, support public education, strengthen neighborhoods, and advocate for diverse participation in educational arenas.’ (proposal document).
The network has three broad areas of interest – parents and families (led by Lauri), community organisations (led by Sue) and teachers/educators (led by myself). We are interested in each of these elements individually, but also, crucially, exploring the circumstances when coalitions form across these different groups. We are also concerned with exploring these issues in different international contexts.
Our approach to researching ‘activism’ is intended to blur the lines between activism, and the study of activism. Membership of the network is open to anyone interested in developing a research based approach to understanding these issues and we welcome the involvement of researchers based in universities. However we are keen to involve those outside of universities and who participate directly in the types or partnerships and mobilisations that are the focus of this work.
At this stage we are just beginning to develop a plan of work. As it stands we are committed to holding three formal meetings. These will be as follows:
- 2016 at the ECER conference (Venue to be confirmed, HS to organise)
- 2017 at York University, Toronto prior to the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE) conference (SW to organise).
- 2018 at Boston College, MA prior to AERA conference (LJ to organise).
However, there are also plans to meet at other times and locations, including outside of academic conferences.
Why not join us? If you are interested in being involved, or knowing more about this work, please drop me an email and we’ll add you to our membership list. Membership is open to anyone, there are no requirements to be a WERA member etc. Members will . . .
- Receive email updates on all Network activities
- Receive invites to participate in any network business meetings
- Receive invites to contribute to any Network initiatives, such as symposia, workshops and publications.
Many developments in education policy seek to close down the spaces for collective and democratic engagement in developing policy – at all levels of the policy process. If you are interested in exploring how people are coming together to challenge these developments, then please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you. Join us, and be part of the discussion.