Santander Success! 2 GESF members win grants

What a week for GESF!!  Aliandra Barlete and María Guerrero Farias’s  have both won competitive Santander student grants of £2000 each to help undertake their fieldwork in Latin America.  We’re thrilled for them, and they rightly are also pleased with the outcome. Finding the resources to do research fieldwork can be challenging for anyone, and particularly students. Santander recognises this, and has made available a competitive fund to be managed by the University of Bristol to help overcome this.

So here’s what they are up to…..

Aliandra Barlete’s doctoral research is on the shifting ‘Cultural Political Economy of Higher Education in Mercosur’.

” Aliandra’s doctoral research intends to offer new insights into the ongoing project for regional integration in higher education within Latin America. The main objective of the study is to analyse how the symbolic and material dynamics in higher education are being developed through the relationship between higher education systems carried out under the regional agreements in HE, as they are reflected in, and mediated by, Mercosur. Mercosur stands for the Southern Common Market, a regional trade agreement established by the Treaty of Assunción in 1991, of which Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay and Venezuela are (currently) full members. Supported by the theoretical approach of cultural political economy to explore region-building (Robertson et al., 2016), Aliandra will employ the a critical realist ontological stance to build a historical investigation though the use of a retroductory logic of explanation (Danermark et al, 2002; Sayer, 2010) into the region’s ongoing engagement with, and development of, HE at the regional and national system levels”.

Ali passport

What is great about this Santander grant is that the financial support from will enable the collection of primary data from actors from Mercosur and its member states, as well as from academic experts in the region, which will be essential for the analysis of the Mercosur’s shifting geometry dynamics and changes over time, with focus on what reasons and under which conditions and external factors propel changes, when, why and with what outcomes (for whom), this study will shed new light into region building in Latin America. The field work will take place from September to November 2016, and she will be sharing updates with the GESF community about her experience from Latin America.

María Guerrero Farias’s doctoral project is focused on ‘Citizenship and Education in Post-Conflict Colombia’

“María’s project seeks to understand how students and teachers in Bogotá, Colombia enact particular kinds of citizenships. Her aim is to materialize attitudes and discourses around citizenship that permeate daily life in schools and reproduce discourses. In order to grasp a better understanding of structures, power dynamics, voices and enactments. She will combine a variety of ethnographic methods to collect information from a public and a private school. Observations inside classrooms as well as outside will provide evidence of the formal and informal ways in which teachers develop citizenship competencies in students, if they do, and how students carry them out. In order to complement the information gathered through observations, she will undertake semi-structured interviews to some actors within the schools. Finally, María will be using Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), which is interested in the distribution of power and social inequalities. Discourse analysis and visual analysis techniques will be employed to examine documents such as legislation, school’s policies and school’s curricula. These analyses will enable her to discover official and implicit understandings of citizenship, as well as its consequences for the consolidation of a fairer country.”

IMG_20160309_090913614 school

The Santander Travel Grant will allow María to visit Colombia and engage with schools to understand the enactments of citizenship. She will be soon sharing with GESF all of her findings.

Well done both…..we’re really proud of you!


Editor’s Note:  Susan L. Robertson is  Professor of Sociology of Education in the Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol. Her research is concerned with the changing nature of education as a result of transformations in the wider global, regional and local economies and societies, and the changing scales on which ideas, power and politics is negotiated. Contact: