Personal profile


I joined The University of Manchester in a research position in 2013, when I was awarded a PhD studentship. In 2018 I was awarded an Early Career Research Fellowship by the Leverhulme Trust, and am  Principal Investigator on a 3-year international comparative research project - Redefining Education for an Urban Social Solidarity Economy: Becoming Relational.

I am particularly interested in the complex interrelationship between socio-economic policies and education theory, policy and practice in urban contexts and the ways in which education can help build stronger relationships with urban communities and lay the foundations for more inclusive urban economies.

I'm a member of the OECD Future of Education and Skills 2030 Thematic Working Group on aligning pedagogies and assessment with future-oriented curriculum changes related to the implementation of the OECD's Learning Compass. 

I'm a member of the newly established (2020) Eurocities Working Group dedicated to policies for Children and Young People and the Participatory Research with Children and Youth sub group of the Converge COVID-19 and Children, Youth, and Schools working group. 

My Doctorate investigated forms and understandings of engagement between a school and its stakeholders: the students, parents and community members.

I have a Masters in Urban Education from Manchester Metropolitan University that explores identity and professionalism in the Teach First initiative.

Before beginning my research career, I gained a PGCE and a Diploma in Teaching English as Foreign Language. I worked as a teacher and teacher educator in both Further and Higher Education for twenty years, managing, developing and teaching on Literacy, ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) programmes and as the centre coordinator for an inner-city alternative education provision for 13-19-year-olds.


Research interests

Research interests 

  • Education polices and practices (curriculum, pedagogy & governance) that support the development of  inclusive urban places 
  • Building democratic decision-making relationships between children and young people (CYP), policymakers, schools and communities
  • Developing opportunities for CYP and policymakers to build a shared understandings of a place in all its dimensions, and to position CYP as key partners in urban decision-making processes 
  • Urban social solidarity economies & inclusive growth
  • Artistic and participatory research methods 


Current Research Project 


My research focuses on the development of new concepts in the study of urban social solidarity economies and education theories, policies and practices. I have been awarded a 3 year Early Career Fellowship (2018 – 2021), funded by The Leverhulme Trust. My research project, Redefining Education for an Urban Social Solidarity Economy: Becoming Relational, examines the interconnections between policy, institutions and communities in assessing attempts to construct an educational dimension of a more inclusive and collaborative urban economy.

I am particularly interested in relationships between urban places, education institutions and their communities. Whilst my PhD focused on a single institution in a UK urban setting, I have developed and expanded my work to consider an international comparative study of educational institutions in urban contexts in Barcelona, Berlin, New York and Rio de Janeiro. I am directly engaged with a diverse range of collaborators across all 4 cities (Barcelona, Berlin, New York and Rio de Janeiro), including economic and education city policy makers, university academics, community organisations, school teachers and school leaders. 

The project Redefining Education for an Urban Social Solidarity Economy: Becoming Relational considers how more relational approaches to policy, governance, curriculum and pedagogy impact on relationships, not only between institutions and their stakeholders but can positively impact more widely on democracy and social justice in urban places. The research explores how different participants are conceptualising and/or operationalising the links between a social solidarity urban economy and the development of education policy/ governance/curriculum or pedagogy. I examine policymaker, institutional and stakeholder relational identities, highlighting possibilities for changing the existing dynamics of power and positionality in the urban education context. 

 My research uses visual and artistic methods and participatory mapping techniques to create participant artefacts that foreground the voices of children and young people. This approach is an attempt to better understand the lived realities of children and young people’s urban education experiences and the extent to which they feel that there has been an attempt to make their city/urban neighbourhood more relational through education polices and practices.  

In the latter stages of the project, children and young people in the 4 cities will be supported to invite policy makers, local government officials and educationalists to a small discussion event and exhibition of their artefacts. This will act as the final focus group in each city, bringing together the professionals responsible for developing and overseeing the education initiatives and those who have been engaged in these projects. These events will provide an opportunity to better understand how the education initiatives have impacted on the lived realities of local community members and the development of relational citizenship in urban cities. This research will thus provide a rich description of how participants are not only redefining, but exploring, elaborating and experiencing the theory in practice of education for a social solidarity urban economy, whilst identifying possible effects on participants’ economic or citizenship behaviour in the urban city. 



My doctorate, Understanding Engagement in a Co-operative School Setting: An Exploration of School-Stakeholder Relationships (2017), considered how schools and stakeholders have, over the past few decades, been repositioned as ‘producers’ and ‘consumers’ within the changing English education landscape of policy reforms and how this affects approaches to school-stakehoilder engagement.


The thesis analyses the extent to which the relationships between school and different stakeholders are moving towards a more ‘relational’ model of engagement. The wider policy context is also considered, revealing how school-stakeholder relationships are affected by policy framings of ‘what counts’ as engagement.


Findings show that whilst the nature of school-student relationships appears to be developing in ways that are more relational, school-parent relations seem to be more unilateral in nature, in spite of school having made the decision to ‘become Co-operative’. Whilst the research reveals the challenges faced when tensions emerge between differing policy, school and stakeholder understandings of engagement, it also examines the spaces of possibility that occur for engagement to be experienced through processes of democratic governance and collective endeavour.


The thesis thus surfaces the complex interrelationship between policy and school engagement practice, illuminating the shifts in different school-stakeholder relationships that occur as a result of policy change.




EDUC 30651 Equity in Education



This unit aims to:

  • extend knowledge and understanding of key issues affecting the equity of educational opportunities and outcomes;
  • develop a broader understanding of the relationship between education and society;
  • apply analytical perspectives to the theory and practice of equitable educational provision. 



Curriculum Content


This course unit aims to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of threats to equity in education, and the ways in which they are being challenged and overcome through the exploration of policy and practice examples in a range of contexts. Issues will be explored in sufficient detail to allow students to gain knowledge of the historical and educational contexts which give rise to the inequalities associated with this issue, while developing a broader understanding of the relationship between education and society.


This course unit is international in outlook, and includes examples of challenges to equity in education systems in diverse contexts. It starts by exploring the many threats to equity in education in the UK, before considering the broader importance of education internationally. We debate the meaning of equity and consider some of the frameworks developed for understanding and measuring efforts to challenge and address inequity in education. We then focus on particular issues in education which affect learners’ educational opportunities and outcomes. This includes the following areas, and the intersectionality between these areas:


  • Race, culture and ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Poverty and social class 
  • Disability and special educational needs
  • Language and migration.


We are open-minded to new issues as they arise on the course, as many of the issues intersect with each other and so can be seen from many different angles. 


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures


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