In a world that feels ever more polarised, politicised, and uncertain—but at the same time more diverse, more polyphonous, and more open—this year’s graduate student led conference asked: how can we make education truly inclusive?
Held on 12 – 13 March, the theme of the department’s Students’ Ongoing Research in Education Studies (STORIES) 2019 conference was ‘Inclusivity: Mental Health, Access and Accountability’. The conference was organised by nine doctoral students, with an aim to broaden the understanding of inclusivity in the field, and challenge what is believed to be possible in education.
Over 50 people attended from across 14 universities to hear the 40+ presentations which covered issues from inclusive education practices for refugee children to neurodiversity in school communities. In order to make the conference as inclusive as possible, a travel grant for students who would not otherwise have been able to attend was also set-up – a first for the STORIES conference.
Keynotes were delivered by Nidhi Singal (Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge) on ‘Access and Inequality in Education in the Global South’, and Alis Oancea (Professor of Philosophy of Education and Research Policy, Department of Education, University of Oxford) on ‘The Culture of Accountability in Research and Higher Education’. An inspiring mental health discussion was also held with Jason Arday (senior teaching fellow in the Centre for Education Studies at the University of Warwick).
The conference ended on an inclusive note, with a comedy performance open to all members of the public free of charge with an optional donation to the local charity Oxfordshire MIND. The performance was given by teacher and comedian Alex Farrow, co-founder of Jericho Comedy.
Nuzha Nuseibeh (on behalf of her fellow doctoral student organisers Faidra Faitaki, Aneyn O’Grady, Jude Anuar, Anay Nangalia, Lucy Hunt, Caitlin S. Wild, Rong Qian and Pei-Hsin Li) commented: “We chose this theme because we felt it was an important time to be discussing these key issues and highlighting the work of early career researchers who are trying to tackle them.”
All participants have been invited to submit a paper for the STORIES Proceedings publication, which will be published in the autumn.