“Dimensions of acceptability: England in the OECD TALIS programme” by Tore Bernt Sorensen

Monday, 29 February 2016, 16:00-17:00,

Room 3.13, 35 Berkeley Square, Bristol.

The slides used by Tore in his presentation can be accessed here.


This paper discusses the role of state authorities and teacher unions in the global educational policy field, focusing on the case of England and the OECD programme Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS). TALIS is one of the most ambitious efforts so far to launch a global debate on the role of school teachers and leaders in knowledge societies. TALIS is coordinated by the OECD and engages a variety of policy actors with overlapping horizons of action. England participated in the second round, TALIS 2013. Continue reading

An afternoon with Roger King…on risk and the university

What a wonderful way to spend a Friday afternoon at the University of Bristol;  in GESF’s Friday seminar with the noted sociologist of higher education at the London School of Economics (as well as being a former Vice Chancellor), Professor Roger King.

Roger’s current work is on the rise of risk governance as a means of regulating universities – notably in the UK, but also in countries like Australia.


Roger’s approach to understanding the rise of risk is to think of it not only as a technology of governance more generally, but also as a manifestation of deeper social and economic dynamics tied to navigating futures which are, by definition, uncertain. Continue reading

Congratulations GSoE and GESF graduates

rsz_img_0335What a wonderful day it has been here in Bristol for both graduates and their families –  despite the rainy February day.

Gathered in the Great Hall in the Wills Memorial Building, and later sharing with family and friends – another cohort of Masters and Doctoral students from the Graduate School of Education and some also members of GESF, walked across the stage, shook hands with the Vice Chancellor Hugh Brady, and collected their degrees.

GESF would like to congratulate each and every one of you. Your achievements have made the ongoing daily life in the School, and in research centres like GESF, a vibrant intellectual community.  WELL DONE! And stay in touch.

From all of the GESF Research Centre  Contact: S.L.Robertson@bristol.ac.uk


SEMINAR: The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank: is this a first step towards a sino-centric regional order? – Silvia Menegazzi

24 February 2016, 1-3pm, 34 Tyndalls Park Road, Bristol, Room G0.2

The presentation intends to analyse the strategy that led China to establish the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and its likely consequences for the regional and global economic order. The creation of the AIIB embodies a considerable shift for the Chinese approach to regional and global governance, constituted by an increasing will to promote a transition from a ‘Western-led governance’ to a more inclusive ‘East-West co -governance’. Is the AIIB initiative just an instrument created to sustain China’s economic prosperity and Xi Jinping’s call for a ‘Chinese Dream’? Is it a consequence of China’s growing frustration with the Bretton Woods’ architecture? Or, is it rather a first stepping stone towards a new China-centered financial and economic order? Does this entail a relevant threat to the world’s economic order and its institutions? Or is it more simply a symptom of the increasing normative and institutional plurality of the current international order? In this light, the seminar will scrutinize Beijing’s new multilateral project taking into account China’s growing regional role, and in particular, its renewed centrality in the East Asian region. In the course of the seminar, particular attention will be devoted to the analysis of the challenges and priorities as discussed by Chinese scholars, policy analysts and think tanks’ experts.

About the speaker:

Silvia Menegazzi, PhD, is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Political Science at LUISS Guido Carli University and Visiting Academic Fellow at Warwick University. Before being awarded a PhD in Political Theory at LUISS University, she completed a MSc in International Politics (2009-2011) at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and a MA in Languages and Culture of East Asia at Rome University La Sapienza (2001-2007). While enrolled at La Sapienza she received one -year scholarship from the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs to spend a year in China (2006-2007) studying Chinese Language and History at Renmin University in Beijing. She has been PhD Visiting Student at China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing in 2013 and awarded of the Confucius Institute Scholarship to study at the East China Normal University in Shanghai in 2012. Her general research interests include Western and Chinese international relations theory, Chinese foreign policy and civil society and East Asian politics.

For more information about the event, please contact: winnie.king@bristol.ac.uk


Roundtable: “Working in international organisations”

Have you ever considered working or undertaking an internship in an international organisation? If so, come along to the upcoming Doctoral Roundtable organised jointly by the Centre for Globalisation Education & Social Futures (GESF) and the Centre for Comparative and International Research (CIRE), to talk to a group of GSoE researchers, who have been involved in education-related projects in large international organisations, including UNESCO, the European Commission and the European University Association.

1st March 2:00-3:15 pm

Room 4.01, Graduate School of Education, 35 Berkeley Square, Bristol.

IMG_4741 Continue reading

GPE SEMINAR: Managerial Lineages of Neoliberalism – Samuel Knafo

Samuel Knafo (University of Sussex) will be giving the second Global Political Economy research seminar at 4pm on Tuesday 16 February 2016  in G.15, 15-19 Tyndall’s Park Road, University of Bristol. Sam’s research focuses upon issues of financialisation, liberal financial governance, social theory and critical methodologies of social research. His 2013 book, ‘The Making of Modern Finance: Liberal Governance and the Gold Standard’, received the IPEG prize for best book in International Political Economy.

The Managerial Lineages of Neoliberalism

Managerialism is often depicted as a key practice of neoliberalism. Yet, beyond this general acknowledgement, scholars have written very little on the actual relationship between the two. Instead managerial practices are subsumed under a functional reading of neoliberalism. Here, managerial technologies of governance are understood as a straightforward extension of neoliberal theory – the means through which to pursue the self-proclaimed neoliberal goal of promoting market competition.This paper challenges this perspective by emphasising that scholars of neoliberalism too often conflate two very different social lineages: the trajectory of neoliberal theory which, runs through the Mont Pélerin Society; and the development of managerial technologies of governance, which trace back to the 1950s and the pivotal role of the RAND corporation. By making this epistemological shift, it argues instead for the need to analyse managerialism on its own terms, in order to specify both its key features, and the way in which it constituted a paradigmatic shift in governance.

Further information: jeremy.green@bristol.ac.uk

Call for Papers and Registration: ‘University Futures’ international conference

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Interested in higher education and the future directions of universities?

‘University Futures’ international conference, organised by Universities in the Knowledge Economy (UNIKE), aims to promote collective thinking about the future directions of universities in the knowledge economies of Europe and the Asia-Pacific Rim.

The conference asks:
How is a wide range of businesses and other stakeholders engaging with and reassembling the university? What is meant by internationalisation? Must it only be a strategic aim or can it be a participatory process? How are universities mobilised by nations and regions in the global knowledge economy? How can ideas from feminism and post-capitalism be used to create a liveable university? What would it mean to have an open system of higher education? Are there alternative ways of organising the university and its relations with society?

Call for Papers: If you would like to send an abstract of a contribution to the conference, you should address one of the six themes. Read more about the call for abstracts here. The deadline for abstracts is 28 February 2016.

Registration for the conference is open through the official conference page, and will close on 9 June 2016.

The conference takes place on 15-17 June 2016 in Copenhagen, Denmark at the Department of Education (DPU), Aarhus University.

‘Tangible Memories’ featured in the 2014-15 AHRC Impact Report

Congratulations to the Tangible Memories team, led by GESF member Dr Helen Manchester at the University of Bristol, on the success of their research project, which has been featured in the AHRC Impact Report 2014-15 (page 41-42).

The ‘Tangible Memories: Community in Care’ interdisciplinary project (2013-2015) has co-produced a range of new, accessible digital tools that will help people in care homes to address challenges related to their quality of life. This has included developing the technology and approach to co- produce print-on-demand books based on memories, in order to create objects for reminiscence which help to build a sense of community and shared experience within care homes. The project has since launched the Tangible Memories app on iTunes to allow for wider access to the technology.

The project is part of an ongoing strand of GESF’s work that explores new insights into community and innovative approaches to researching with communities.

For further information, see Tangible Memories Film (2015), which was specially commissioned for the AHRC’s 10th anniversary, and visit the Tangible Memories website at http://tangible-memories.com


Special Issue of EPAA: ‘Teach for America’

Two  things were great about opening up my email this morning.  The first was that the latest issue of Education Policy Analysis Archives – or EPAA – hit my inbox. For those of you who don’t know this – EPAA is one of the first peer reviewed, open access, journals on education policy  launched some 24 years ago, and continues to go from strength to strength. Its founding editor was the distinguished Gene V. Glass of the Mary Lou Fulton Institute and Graduate School of Education, Arizona State University from 1993 to 2004.

The second is that the latest issue of EPAA is a bumper one on the social, political and policy aspects of – Teach For America –  a controversial alternative teacher preparation and placement porogramme aimed at addressing teacher shortages in the USA.

A teacher teaching a junior school class

Teach For America recently celebrated 25 years – which is quite a feat in the changing world of education policy and practice.  This programme has also been globalised; we now find Teach for India, Teach for China …and related versions… such as Teach First, in the UK.

Janelle Scott, Tina Trujillo and Marialena D. Rivera from University of California, Berkeley – are the authors of the lead paper – Reframing Teach for America: A Conceptual Framework for the Next Generation of Scholarship. They argue that TFA is a political and social movement with “…implicit and explicit ideological and political underpinnings…” – and that “….TFAs greatest point of influence in public education is not in classrooms but in its facilitation of entry into leadership positions aimed at reshaping public schooling…”.

Their particularly interesting point is how this is taking place in the US. They argue that four strategies  are at work. First, there is an infusion of policy entrepreneurs into education policymaking processes. Second, TFA works on  the cultivation of powerful networks of elite interests. Third, TFA promotes a corporate model of managerial leadership. And fourth, it cultivates particular racial and social class identities that in turn facilitate entry to leadership and policy networks.

Their biggest concern, however, is the tight alignment between Teach for America and what is widely viewed as being a highly divisive neoliberal agenda: that of school choice, privatisation,  and market-oriented competition-driven reforms which promise more equitable schooling outcomes but in reality contributes to deepening social inequalities.

For those of you who care about education, and also care deeply about the governance models we see being put into place in the sector, this is an important read. And it is free!

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: S.L.Robertson@bristol.ac.uk



Frances Giampapa awarded Spanish research fellowship

Congratulations to Dr Frances Giampapa, deputy director of the Centre for Globalisation, Education & Social Futures and MSc TESOL programme leader, who has been awarded a research fellowship at the University of Castilla – La Mancha in Spain this summer!

The purpose of the fellowship is to engage international scholars in the academic community of UCLM to work with colleagues on specific academic endeavours such as research projects. The project that Dr Giampapa will be working on is titled “La apropiación del inglés como lengua global en la escuela castellano-manchega: Un acercamiento multilingüe, situado y comparativo”. (APINGLO-CLM) (trans. The appropriation of English as a global language in Castilla-La Mancha schools: A multilingual, situated and comparative approach). During her two month long visit she will be working alongside researchers, doctoral students, teachers and students in local schools. Continue reading