Re-imagining Learning Communities

Our research group:

The research group Re-imagining Learning Communities (RLC) aims to create an interdisciplinary and vibrant research culture, supportive research networks and brings together researchers, from LSBU and beyond. Re-imagining Learning Communities' members build capacity through research on themes across educational policy and practice and engage with issues of equity and social justice more broadly through public events. Re-imagining learning communities works with learning communities across the age range and in diverse settings to collaboratively re-imagine the how, what and why of education. Our participatory research re-imagines with learning communities to inform practice and policy for socially responsible and sustainable futures.  We re-imagine: who is learning for? Where does learning happen? Who owns learning? Who benefits? Who is excluded? What does community-owned learning look like? What pedagogies does it need? What new ways of being/doing do we need to imagine for educators, learners and communities?  Re-imagining Learning Communities' members also supervise a wide range of doctoral research projects. Proposals may be supervised by the following research group members (among others) Professor Nicki MartinProfessor Alex KendallDr James AlexanderDr Jessie A. Bustillos MoralesDr Martha Shaw, Dr Charalampia Karagianni or Dr Helen Young

Our group develops research and public engagement across the following themes:
- Innovative theoretical frameworks and creative methodologies for learning 
- Social inclusion (exploring issues around anti-racist education, gender, decolonisation, SEND and neurodiversity)
- Understanding and strategising responses to youth work
- Post-compulsory education
- Global citizenship 
- Youth school transitions to HE and employment transitions

Projects and partnerships:

RILC draws on the knowledge and experience of interdisciplinary academics and practitioners to further research that understands inequalities and promotes inclusion. We form partnerships on local, national and international levels to explore issues within a broad context of education.


Project title: ‘Every teacher is a language teacher’: Supporting EAL students in the further education sector.

Project Lead: Dr Charalampia Karagianni

Brief summary

The project aims to investigate the pedagogical principles and teaching practices that further education (FE) lectures use to support students with English as an additional language (EAL) in the further education and skills sector. The increasing number of young adult EAL students in the FE classrooms (Cara, 2021) has placed challenges on the FE lecturers who are expected to teach their vocational subject to a culturally and linguistically diverse pupil population without having the appropriate pre-service or in-service teacher education. A multiple case study approach will be adopted to explore this phenomenon in depth and from different perspectives. Classroom observations and ethnographic interviews will be conducted to reveal the teaching practices and underpinning perspectives of four experienced FE teachers in South Bank colleges who have high numbers of EAL students. Such an investigation will contribute to the development of situated teacher education materials for South Bank colleges.

Project Title: Making Gender Equality Matter in Schools – British Council

Project Lead: Professor Alex Kendall

Research Assistant: Charalampia Karagianni

Brief summary

MGEMS will explore concept-making around gender identities and how discourses about gender play out to position teachers and students in particular kinds of ways and with specific effects within the context of school education. As such the project will provide opportunities for teachers of all genders to reflect on their own positionality within their setting and the impacts that they have on others within their own practices and spheres of influence. This will provide opportunities for positive and productive challenge of both self and others in a supported and structured environment leading to new observations and insights that will have significant implications for decision making and practicing otherwise. Critically participants in all MGEMS activities will have opportunities for taking responsibility for their own actions and decision making and the impact these have on challenging or reproducing gender inequalities within the school and classroom.

Project Title: STEM-POWER

Project Lead: Professor Alex Kendall

Research Assistant: Charalampia Karagianni

Brief summary

The project will make put to work creative and arts-based practices to build collective ethnographies that pay attention to women ’ s lives and experiences opening up discussions with participants as co-creators and collaborators about voice, identity and learning. In so doing STEM-POWER will provide important opportunities for reflection on gender relations and the way they impact on access, participation and persistence in education. These conversations will be firmly located in local social and cultural contexts and afford departure points for participants to explore gender relations within their own workplaces, communities and settings. In describing optimal conditions for engagement of women leaders these issues will be captured in the project recommendations providing response pathways for key stakeholders including women themselves, leaders and managers in higher education with responsibility for human resources and people development and policymakers.

Project title: Understanding the interplay: Education, lived worldviews & citizenship

Brief summary

This is a qualitative investigation conducted through Lego based workshops and semi-structured interviews in 3 different schools. The aims of the project can be summarised as :

To strengthen articulation and understanding of ‘worldview’ within RE, Religion & Worldviews and citizenship education.

To increase understanding of the importance of religion & worldviews education to broader educational aims of inclusive citizenship and engagement in plurality.

To enhance teaching, teacher education, pedagogy and curriculum development through the provision of recommendations and teaching materials that support and resonate with the complexities of young people’s intercultural navigation and the role of religion/worldviews therein.

To inform worldviews education with an enhanced understanding of young peoples’ lived experiences and their reflexive engagement in plurality.  Increase support for freedom of belief in society through the development of educators’ understandings of how students’ belief (and/or non-belief) interacts with their experiences of secular institutions and civic life.

Youth Violence Commission:

Brief summary

Since 2016 the YVC have been consulting with young people and working with academics and practitioners to better understand how serious violence manifests itself in young people’s lives. We have spent the last five years examining the root causes of youth violence in England, Scotland and Wales in our search for solutions. We held a series of evidence sessions in Parliament and worked with our academic partners to produce an interim written report with policy recommendations in summer 2018.

This was followed by the publication of our final report in July 2020, which also considered the added pressures created by the COVID-19 crisis.

Innovative Religion & Worldviews:

Brief summary

Building on previous research into stakeholders' aspirations for RE that reflects the 'real religious landscape', this project showcases ways in which teachers are engaging with a 'worldviews approach' as proposed by the Commission for Religious Education (CoRE, 2018). These resources are aimed at both supporting teachers in adopting a 'worldviews approach' and at further stimulating discussion around reform of RE.

Exploring Worldviews Education & Citizenship in Schools:

Brief summary

The Exploring Worldviews Education & Citizenship in Schools project is funded by the Canadian Social Science and Humanities Research Council and led by Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University.


Group members are involved in a range of projects and collaborations. Below are a sample of our project partners.

  • After Religious Education: Curricula Principles for education in Religion and Worldviews
  • Our Shared World

Re-imagining Learning Communities research hosts events throughout the academic year.

Upcoming Events 2024:

  • One day conference, 15th March 2024 More details to follow soon.

Previous conferences have explored how educational research and practice support the work within communities to build sustainable futures in these challenging times. Presentations and workshops are encouraged by a range of education scholars, practitioners and researchers to showcase interdisciplinary and ongoing innovation within this area that helps address some of the pressing challenges of current times, such as the impacts of the cost-of-living crisis, global uncertainties and the need for sustainable development.

  • Wednesday Seminar Talks on

14th February 2024

6th and 27th March 2024

24th April 2024

Past Events:

Education Across the Divide

Lightning talks Online:

  • 11 February 2021 - Education Across The Divide: Research Partnerships and Inclusive Practice
  • 11 November 2021 - Worldview Literacy as Active Citizenship education with Dr Martha Shaw (Lightning Talks)
  • 10th February -  Neurodiverse youth development; The current challenges with Gavin Hoole (Lightning Talks)
  • 6th April 2022 - Researching Placebased Facilitation Projects with Zoe Leadley-Meade (Lighting talks)

Education Across the Divide conference posters by Sandra Howgate

and Dr Pen Mendonca

Some selected publications from members of the group:

Bustillos Morales, J. A. (2024) Youth worldlessness and civic participation online and at school: Exploring Arendt’s philosophy, Journal of Civil Society, DOI: 10.1080/17448689.2023.2293693

Bustillos Morales, J. A. and Zarabadi, S. (2024) Towards Posthumanism in Education

Theoretical Entanglements and Pedagogical Mappings. Routledge.

Wenham, L and Young, H. (2023). Student Rent-Strikes: Hope through unplanned critical pedagogy. Critical Education.

Martin, N. (2021). The Metanarrative of Cancer: Disrupting the Battle Myth. in: Bolt, D. (ed.) Metanarratives of Disability. Routledge.

Bustillos Morales, J. (2021). De-territorialisations for pedagogical co-creation: Challenging traditionalistic pedagogies with students in higher education. Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice. 18 (7), pp. 214-227.

Bustillos Morales, J. A. and Abegglen, S. (2021). Inequality: an exploration of issues of gender, ‘race’ and social class in education. in: Isaacs, Stuart (ed.) Social Problems in the UK An Introduction Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group).

Jerome, L., Liddle, A. and Young, H. (2021 - forthcoming). Talking Tolerance: Being Deliberative about Fundamental British Values. PRISM

Jerome, L., Liddle, A. and Young, H. (2021). Talking about rights without talking about rights: on the absence of knowledge in classroom discussions. Human Rights Education Review. 4 (1), pp. 8-26.

Young, H. and Jerome, L. (2020). Student voice in higher education: Opening the loop. British Educational Research Journal. 46 (3), pp. 688-705.

Coakley, R (2019). Teaching Science, Design and Technology in the Early Years by Dan Davies (2019). 2 chapters. In press.

Dinham, A & Shaw, M (2020) Landscapes, Real and Imagined: ‘REforREal’ in Chater ,M. eds. Reforming Religious Education: Power and Knowledge in a Worldviews Curriculum. UK: John Catt Education Ltd.

Leadley-Meade, Z. and Goodwin, R. (2019) Pre-entry self-assessment and mapping to relevant services as a means of developing learner autonomy in undergraduates. Journal of Inclusive Practice in Further and Higher Education. 11.1 in press

Shaw, M (2019) Towards a Religiously Literate curriculum – Religion and Worldview Literacy as an Educational ModelJournal of Beliefs & Values, Online: Sept. 2019.

Be the Change in Education, Keyworth Events Centre, 103 Borough Road, SE1 0AA. - Register here

The research group Re-imagining Learning Communities (RILC) is hosting the Be the Change in Education conference on Friday 15th March. The conference will be an interdisciplinary space to showcase LSBU’s vibrant research culture and great opportunity to disseminate research and best practice, as well as, network with other researchers, educators and practitioners working across a range of different settings but with a shared passion for collaboration, social justice education and critical thinking.

We are very excited to have Dr Janet Ramdeo delivering the keynote.

This year’s theme, Be the Change in Education invites scholars, educators, students, and practitioners to explore and examine how the social fabric of social justice is enriched by the praxis and work of educators and pedagogues committed to social justice. This event is an opportunity to highlight ongoing or recently completed individual research projects, as well as cross-institutional and cross-sector collaborations within educational sectors. The focus of this event is to create a space where what Freire calls ‘problem-posing education’ (Freire, 2000, p. 79) can have a forum to disseminate research and collaborate with others. Please send a short 200-word abstract (excluding references) with a suggested title for your talk (15-20 minutes) and a short 100-word bio, we invite proposals that might address the following strands:

  • Applications of critical pedagogy, anti-racist education, social pedagogy, social justice education, co-created learning, student partnerships in assessment, AI (Artificial Intelligence) and critical media literacies in education, challenging critical complacency in education, embodied learning.

If you are interested in presenting, please contact Jessie Bustillos ( and with a suggested title and abstract (max 200-word and 100-word bio) by Monday 19th February 2024. Please note that the selection process is very dependent on the number of available slots, we do not give feedback on any individual abstract. Each abstract will be reviewed using the following criteria: clarity of focus of the research project/presentation; relevance of the research project/presentation to the conference’s theme and significance of the research for education practice, policy, and theory.

Don’t forget to register for the event here.


Freire, P. (2000) Pedagogy of the Oppressed. London: Continuum.