Gender, Equality and Diversity

Gender, Equality and Diversity

Focus of our research

This theme focuses on research that considers how the many layers of our identities (sometimes referred to as our intersectional identities) – including our gender, ‘race’, ethnicity, class, age, dis-abilities or sexualities – can affect our life experiences with a particular focus on our experiences of education.

In particular, we think about issues of equality and diversity in the contexts of people’s access to, achievement within, experiences of, and approaches to both formal and non-formal education in different global contexts. We are interested in exploring how our identities affect different ways of knowing, learning, and our measures of success in a range of educational contexts. This includes a focus on both formal schooling such as primary, secondary and tertiary education, as well as informal educational contexts such as community-based, indigenous, peripheral or NGO-based education.

Hence, rather than our focus being on a specific kind of educational setting, we are interested in how who we are, our identities, and where we are, our global positionalities, can impact on access to, experiences of, and achievement within different forms of education.

We investigate how successful and more equitable learning can happen in all kinds of spaces and places, and in creative ways both in and beyond the classroom. We consider issues of power in educational contexts, asking, for example:

  • What counts and qualifies as legitimate knowledge?
  • Whose knowledge is accorded the status to be learned and shared?
  • Whose perspectives are marginalised?
  • What is successful learning, and how is successful learning developed with respect to individual realities within wider socio-cultural and political contexts?

We are interested in working collaboratively with and learning from people, groups and organisations who are creatively and critically exploring alternative spaces and models of education that foreground questions of in/equality and social justice.

If you wish to find out more about this theme, please get in contact with Professor Suzanne Clisby.

Key researchers

Name Title Email
Professor Suzanne Clisby Professor in Gender Studies suzanne.clisby@coventry.ac.uk
Dr Jaya Jacobo Assistant Professor jaya.jacobo@coventry.ac.uk 
Steve Raven Research Assistant steve.raven@coventry.ac.uk

Project spotlight

Our research is interested in how who we are, and where we are, can impact on access to, experiences of, and achievement within different forms of education.

Find out more about some of our projects:

GlobalGRACE logo

Global Grace: Global Gender and Cultures of Equality

Employing artistic interventions, curatorial research practice and public exhibitions to investigate and enable gender positive approaches to wellbeing internationally.

PhD opportunities

As part of the Gender, Equality and Diversity theme, we invite self-funded or sponsored applications in the following research areas:

Within this specialism we invite applicants who would like to conduct research that considers questions of gender, in/equalities and identities in the context of education in global contexts considering the Gender, Equality and Diversity theme focus. We might think, for example, about issues of access, inclusion and equity of attainment in formal and non-formal education; about how we could engender inclusivity and equity in education, particularly with regard to intersectional gender and sexual identities, ethnicity, disabilities or socioeconomic disadvantage; or about the challenges to and solutions for achieving more equitable and inclusive education in global contexts. Researchers could investigate educational experiences through analyses of gender, race, ethnicity, power and positionality in formal and non-formal education or focus on bringing an intersectional gender analysis to issues of knowledge sharing and experiences of learning in marginal spaces such as indigenous knowledges, community-based education or non-formal education. With this in mind, some of the research questions doctoral researchers may want to ask could include:

  • In what ways does who we are (our intersectional gender identities) and where we are (our global positionalities) affect access to and attainment within educational spaces?
  • Who has the power to know, to learn, and to achieve, and who does not?
  • What are the relationships between identity, power, knowledge, access and attainment in education and spaces of learning?
  • How do indigenous and peripheral knowledge practices challenge dominant forms of education, including conventional models of attainment and achievement?
  • What examples of good praxis can we learn from people, groups and organisations who are creatively and critically exploring alternative spaces and models of education and attainment that foreground questions of equality and social justice?
  • What can the university learn from the wider community about engendering equalities and addressing social exclusion?
  • What does gender justice mean in the university setting?

The Gender, Sexualities and Education PhD specialism engages with pedagogies which propose inclusive modes and methods of participation for and with women, men and gender-diverse people in institutional and community settings. With the self-determined body and its desires in the foreground, we encourage the decolonization of ourselves as individuals, as teachers and as learners across intersections of inequality in contemporary educational encounters. We invite postgraduate researchers from all contexts and practices to contribute to this stimulating conversation. Drawing on examples and experiences from both the Global South and Global North, from formal and informal educational spaces, research questions within the Gender, Sexualities and Education specialism could include, for example,

  • Do LGBTQ identified young people continue to face barriers to educational inclusion, participation and attainment in contemporary society?
  • What does or could teaching and learning that takes into account gender identity and sexual orientation look like?
  • How might feminist and queer approaches to education engender more creative paradigms which facilitate greater gender justice and sexual equality?
  • What could Trans-inclusive education look like in educational spaces in global contexts?
  • What can we learn from LGBTQ-inclusive educational praxis from different international contexts?
  • Is there a need for transformative educational policies and praxis to engender greater equality for LGBTQ students in the UK and elsewhere? How could this be achieved?

The Diversity, Discrimination and Education PhD specialism interrogates the relationships between ‘race’, power, knowledge, and access and attainment in education and spaces of learning in global contexts. We offer the opportunity to use a multi-disciplinary approach to research investigating issues of diversity, discrimination, inclusion and exclusion within education policy and practice. Doctoral researchers might explore the power to know through the lenses of ethnicity, whiteness, masculinities and femininities, differentiating forms of discriminations that affect experiences of education, teaching, and learning. Potential areas for research can include unlearning bias, entitlement as an identity, the generational permanence of discrimination, interrogating the diversity bargain, bringing a Global South/Global Majority lens to unpacking systemic discrimination in Western education, asking, for example, ‘whose inclusion?’. This specialism is interested in research with a purpose; to engage those with a vision of learning for all. Hence, thinking about experiences of diversity and discrimination in education in global and local contexts, research questions may include:

  • How does discrimination play out in the spaces where learning takes place?
  • What impacts does discrimination have for teachers and learners in global and local contexts?
  • Which identities are implicated in perpetuating discrimination on the basis of, for example, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality in education?
  • Do we or can we unlearn discrimination?
  • How do we break the cycle of learnt racism to develop inclusive teaching spaces?
  • What does diversity and inclusivity in education look like and how is this experienced in different contexts?
  • What can we learn from anti-discriminatory praxis in non-formal educational spaces in global contexts?

If you are interested in applying for Doctoral study within any of the above specialisms you should start by developing your own research proposal. Please read our guidance on completing a research proposal.

Once you have developed your proposal, you should make a formal application through Coventry University’s Doctoral College. Find out how to apply.

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