Projects, Events and Publications Projects, Events and Publications

UNESCO Chair Launch

On February 27th 2017, the UNESCO Chair in Adult Literacy and Learning for Social Transformation was formally launched at a programme opened by the Vice Chancellor of the University of East Anglia, Prof. David Richardson, and the Chief Executive of the National Commission for UNESCO in the UK, James Bridge. Over 50 participants from around the UK and from across the University of East Anglia came to the event, including many key institutions and individuals in the development of adult literacy and development research.  A group in UNESCO Paris HQ also watched the programme via Skype.

The programme began by exploring adult literacy and learning for social transformation in relation to the previous and ongoing research of the UNESCO Chair team. Dr. Sheila Aikman (UEA School of International Development) presented on ‘Indigenous women and adult learning’, an area where the UEA team is collaborating on writing a policy paper with the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning. Prof. Anna Robinson-Pant (UNESCO Chair holder), Maria Hartl (Senior Technical Specialist, Gender and Social Equity, International Fund for Agricultural Development) and Mari Yasunaga (Programme Specialist, Section for Youth, Literacy and Skills Development, UNESCO Paris) then introduced the IFAD-UNESCO research project, ‘Learning knowledge and skills for agriculture and improving rural livelihoods’. The UNESCO chair programme sets out to build directly on the findings, policy initiatives and research capacity building activities of this earlier project which took place in Cambodia, Egypt and Ethiopia. The research teams included current UNESCO Chair partner, Ain Shams Adult Education Department (Egypt), and Turuwark Zelalam Warkineh, Chair lead researcher from Bahir Dar University (Ethiopia). Dr. Catherine Jere (UEA School of International Development) went on to facilitate small group discussions amongst participants about what issues/questions arose that the UNESCO chair programme could explore or take further.

Short presentations were also given by members of the UNESCO Chair review group. Prof. Mary Hamilton, Emeritus Professor and Associate Director of the Lancaster Literacy Research Centre, University of Lancaster,  shared her reflections on ‘Literacy and Learning for Social Transformation: the role of International Assessments’.  Prof. Gemma Moss, Professor of Literacy and Director of the International Literacy Centre at UCL Institute of Education and President of BERA (British Educational Research Association)  presented on ‘Literacy and social transformation: where to focus our gaze?’

The highlight of the afternoon was the final panel given by three seminal contributors to the field of adult literacy and adult learning: Prof. Lalage Bown, Professor Emeritus, University of Glasgow and UNESCO Literacy Lecturer 2009; Prof. Alan Rogers, Visiting Professor, School of Education and Lifelong Learning, University of East Anglia; and Prof. Brian Street, Visiting Professor, UEA, Professor Emeritus of Language in Education at King’s College, London and Visiting Professor of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. As one delegate commented: “Observing the last session I had the feeling of seeing something of historical value.” Closing words and thanks were offered by Prof. Richard Andrews, Head of the School of Education and Lifelong Learning, UEA. 

The UNESCO Chair team would like to thank colleagues in the University and the School of Education and Lifelong Learning for all their support in making the launch such an enjoyable and memorable event.

Here are the presentations from the UNESCO Chair launch programme:

Opening Presentation Anna Robinson-Pant    
James Bridge Maria Hartl
Alan Smith Mari Yasunaga
Sheila Aikman Mary Hamilton

Participatory Action Research with language teachers in refugee classes

This study aims to understand the challenges and experiences of teachers, volunteers and facilitators in language classes for asylum seekers and refugees. The project will conduct research in formal and informal learning settings in the transit and resettlement phase of refugees’ journeys and in relation to two different national contexts in Europe: UK and Greece. The study sets out to promote awareness of policy makers and the general public as well as to enable and promote knowledge sharing and peer-learning amongst practitioners.

Grounded firmly on the research findings and relevant academic literature and expertise, the overall aim of the project is to design a training course that will support teachers, volunteers and facilitators to respond more effectively to the challenging learning situation context in which they work/volunteer and to improve their and their learners’ experience. 

The Principal Investigator of the research is Eleni Konidari, Postdoctoral Visiting Fellow at the University of East Anglia, member of the Migration Research Network and the Literacy and Development Group (UEA) and the 'New Routes, Old Roots' research network (Anglia Ruskin University). 

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