Social and
Education Policy

Research Week

From 25-29 November, we will be hosting a series of events, discussions and activities addressing the theme of Social and Education Policy, showcasing our academics and the wide-ranging impact of their research.

Shaping social and education policy

Inequality, poverty, insecurity and resource depletion represent pressing challenges at all political scales from the global to the local. Policy makers in all domains including education and social policy must confront these challenges and research helps them to understand both the challenges and the effectiveness of different policy responses.

The purpose of this week is to showcase research which does, and can, inform policy at different scales. Academic and professional staff from across our institution will lead the conversation across a range of significant social and education policy topics, provoking further debate and demonstrating the impact that the University has contributed to this field.

Key themes

Each of the events and activities taking place during the Social and Education Policy Research Week addresses or references one of the following key themes:

Inaugural lecture

At the heart of each research week, we host an inaugural lecture. This event is held to commemorate an academic’s appointment to a full professorship or on joining the institution as a full professor. The inaugural lecture provides a platform for the academic to present the body of research that they have been focusing on during their career. 

During the Social and Education Policy research week, Professor Liz Atkins' inaugural lecture will provide insights into issues surrounding the education of low attaining youth, and their implications for social justice.

Throughout her career, Professor Atkins has been concerned with the educational lives of a specific group of marginalised young people: those with very low attainment who are seeking to navigate transitions to work through low-level vocational education programmes, and whose lives are characterised by multiple forms of social exclusion.

In this lecture, Professor Atkins will draw on ancient and contemporary literature to position social justice as a form of ethics and morality, drawing comparisons with a range of social, political and ideological conceptions of social justice. She will explore how these are utilised in relation to this group of young people and how they play out in education policy. The lecture will discuss the social justice implications of conducting research which impacts on the educational lives of young people, but which is, by its very nature, inequitable, and some of her personal challenges in enacting social justice in this context. Professor Atkins will also share her current research at Guernsey College, and the way that seeks to resolve some of the challenges inherent in ‘making’ social justice.

Book your place for the inaugural lecture

Professor Liz Atkins speaking at a conference

Professor Liz Atkins
Professor of Vocational Education and Social Justice

In addition to her research at Guernsey College, Professor Atkins has an interest in making research more accessible, and in mentoring colleagues during the early stages of their career. Her current teaching responsibilities are focused on EdD and PhD supervision.


Public events

The following free events are open to the public. Please book your place using the links.

Monday 25 November, 12pm-2pm Choosing One's Future: Occupational choice among adult students in Sweden Andreas Fejes, Linköping University, Sweden Kedleston Road, Derby, DE22 1GB

Monday 25 November, 2pm-4pm

Developing Professional Qualifications: Beyond path dependency? Professor Chris Winch, King's College London Kedleston Road, Derby, DE22 1GB 
Tuesday 26 November, 11am-12pm The Future of 'Reading for Fun' in Children and Young Adults Dr Sigrid Lipka  Kedleston Road, Derby, DE22 1GB
Tuesday 26 November, 11am-12pm Inclusion and Special Educational Needs: Research and Publishing Dr Geraldene Cordina Kedleston Road, Derby, DE22 1GB
Tuesday 26 November, 12pm-1.30pm Participation Matters: Is it time to give HE policy its P45? Professor Sarah Hayes, University of Wolverhampton Kedleston Road, Derby, DE22 1GB 
Wednesday 27 November, 5pm-6pm The Launch of the Geographical Association: Derby Branch Dr Mark Bulling Kedleston Road, Derby, DE22 1GB
Wednesday 27 November, 6.30pm-9pm Inaugural Lecture: Professor Liz Atkins Professor Liz Atkins Kedleston Road, Derby, DE22 1GB
Thursday 28 November, 7pm-8.30pm By Erasing the Past, are Universities Radicalising the Campus? Dr Cheryl Hudson, University of Liverpool and Dr Ruth Mieschbuehler Brunswick Inn, 1 Railway Terrace, DE1 2RU
Friday 29 November, 1pm-5pm  Drugs and Resistance Dr David Patton Kedleston Road, Derby, DE22 1GB 

Events for staff and students

University of Derby staff and students are invited to attend the following free events. Booking is required and will be available via the staff intranet shortly (login required).

Wednesday 27 November, 1pm-3pm  Research Methods Seminar: Operationalising research philosophy through methodology Dr Baris Cayli One Friar Gate Square, Agard Street, Derby, DE1 1DZ
Wednesday 27 November, 3pm-4pm  Long Term Impacts of Thatcherism  Professor Stephen Farrall One Friar Gate Square, Agard Street, Derby, DE1 1DZ 
Wednesday 27 November, 4pm-6pm Research Methods Seminar: The Birth of the Internet and an Inter-connected World Dr Ivana Ebel One Friar Gate Square, Agard Street, Derby, DE1 1DZ
Friday 29 November, 4pm-6pm Research Methods Seminar: Introduction to Survey Design Professor Alex Nunn Kedleston Road, Derby, DE22 1GB