The work of the Centre for Participative and Inclusive Education will be seen as a natural extension of the earlier work conducted within the Network for Youth, Social Justice and Inclusive Education, which has been active within the School of Education since early 2011.
The Network successfully acquired a small internal grant from the UWS Strategic Development Fund and has used this to fund a small-scale collaborative research project into the impact of youth work interventions on the building of social and emotional capital within urban and rural communities.
In early 2012, the Network also held a national conference on Youth in Crisis and Community Interventions at UWS, which attracted over 100 delegates from across the UK and included keynotes and seminars by leading academics and a range of policy makers and practitioners. The Network has recently expanded its focus as a result of the recruitment of Annette Coburn and Dr Beth Cross, who bring a wealth of experience in areas of research and knowledge transfer related to youth work, participation and inclusion.
The new Centre will thus build on Coburn's existing work on the nature and purpose of youth work as a border-crossing critical pedagogy (Coburn, 2010; Coburn and Wallace, 2011) to enhance understanding of social and democratic purpose education with people of all ages, and in a range of settings or circumstances (Coburn, 2008). In this sense, the reach of the initial Network will be extended to incorporate empirical research and new possibilities for knowledge transfer in relation to emancipatory practices. To do this, the new Centre will utilise discourses of liberal egalitarianism in order to contribute new knowledge and understanding to those elements that underpin human flourishing and characteristics associated with making a good life (Sen, 1985; Nussbaum, 2003). The Centre will extend the existing work by Cross into issues of children's rights and the participation of young people in deprived communities (Cross 2009 a,b,c; Cross, 2012 a, b; Cross et al., 2009); research into the inclusion of disabled young people (Cross et al, 2012) and co-produced research with disabled people on participation in community development and policy making and the generation of wellbeing and resilience (Brookes et al., 2012, McFarlane et al., 2012, Altrum Risk Research Team, 2011). Cross' intergenerational research with families on a range of topics from early family literacy (Cross, 2011) to implementation of interagency service provision (Cross and Cheyne, 2012) to children affected by substance misuse (Mitchell et al., 2012) lays important groundwork for the Centre's capacity to engage with complex issues that cross sector boundaries. A hallmark of this work has been the incorporation of creative methods to deepen engagement on issues and amplify dissemination, work which the centre will continue to develop.
The Centre will also build upon the work of Miller (Miller et al., 2009, Edwards et al., 2009 and Priestley et al., 2011) into the nature of curriculum-making in schools and FE Colleges, literacies for learning and the use of new digital media; Deuchar's (2009, 2013 [with Ellis]) work on the impact of youth work strategies on building social capital; Matemba's work (2009, 2010, 2011) into the impact of religious, moral and citizenship education on marginalised young people and the emerging work of McAuliffe (2007) into the creative approaches to inclusive education as a means of generating emotional wellbeing.
In so doing, the Centre will develop new opportunities for building a critical mass of funded research, research outputs, conference dissemination and knowledge transfer activity as a means of building new insights for collaborative research in the key areas of participative and inclusive education across all age groups. It will provide capacity building opportunities for emerging researchers (such as Milligan, Mohammed, McAuliffe, Johnstone, Johnson) to engage in collaborative research projects and contribute towards joint research papers, and will nurture the research studies of existing PhD students into the challenges of ethnic minority young people and the impact of youth work/school partnerships (Riaz); the potential for nurturing a 'human rights' culture in Scotland (Laughlin); and the potential for participatory approaches to education to enhance the social, emotional and cognitive development of young people (Jones). And it will potentially draw upon the insights from cross-Faculty colleagues into physical activity and health as a context for stimulating participation, inclusion and collaboration (Graham, Beggan, McEwan and McKenna). As the work of the Centre continues to grow, it will aspire to add to its membership through attracting other UWS academics and recruiting research students who have interest and expertise in the scholarly areas of focus. It will also seek to build international links and opportunities for cross-European partnerships.