Inter-University Graduate Seminar in Educational Research

The Inter-University Graduate Seminar is a graduate student scholarly event. It brings together students from various universities to celebrate and share their work in a collegial, inspiring, constructive, and supportive environment. The Seminar is an interdisciplinary space where participants productively engage new fields of study and innovative research methodologies. It is also a social space, where participants establish contact and build meaningful intellectual engagements with peers beyond their respective home university and/or academic program.

Topics presented:

Jeannie Kerr (UBC): Decolonizing the Mind of the Researcher

The Keynote considers the contemporary conditions of inequity between the global north and south, within nation states, and for Indigenous communities around the world, in relation to colonialism. Positioning colonialism contemporarily as a spatial phenomenon, this Keynote highlights the need for researchers to decolonize their minds as a way to engage in research that interrupts, rather than perpetuates, multiple and intersecting inequities as experienced by peoples, creatures and landscapes.

 Jeannie Kerr is a PhD Candidate in Educational Studies at UBC. She holds an MA in Educational Leadership and Administration from UBC, a post-baccalaureate in education from SFU, and a BA in psychology from York University (Toronto). She is on leave from a rewarding career as a teacher in the Vancouver School District, working predominantly at schools in neighbourhoods that are rich in cultural diversity, yet experiencing economic and political marginalization.

Georgina Martin (UBC): An Intergenerational Narrative Inquiry About Secwepemc Identities

My relational intergenerational study speaks from a position of embodiment alongside one Elder and one Youth to explore life histories of Indigenous communities. Within an Indigenous Knowledge framework I blend Narrative Inquiry and Indigenous Storywork. Narrative Inquiry facilitates the power of place, of tradition, of passing on traditional ways and recovering them through lived-experiences and the re/telling of storied-lives while Indigenous Storywork promotes Indigenous Knowledge and challenges the division between Western and Indigenous Knowledges.

 Georgina Martin holds a BA in Political Science and an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Northern British Columbia. Her ancestry is Secwepemc. She originates from Williams Lake, BC and holds Band membership with Lake Babine Nation. Her work is focused on the development and support for improving health, social, and education conditions for Aboriginal people. She has a cumulative twenty years of experience with the federal government

Aleksandra Kurowska-Susdorf (Unidersity of Gdańsk): Kashubian Rituals as Educational Sites

The presentation examines how the Kashubian people, an ethnic Indigenous group in north-central Poland, celebrate Christian rituals, connected with death and with birth; how they hold everyday prayers, and how they design the house interior. The study unpacks how tradition reinforces and extends the structure of society as well as basic values. Rituals from the past, particularly the celebration of death, the barren, provide an example of education by participation. nights

Aleksandra Kurowska-Susdorf is a PhD student in Social Science at the University of Gda!sk (Poland). She holds an MA in Pedagogy. She works as an English teacher and a licensed tour guide. In 2005, she participated in an international student exchange at the University of Bremen (Germany) and conducted research about communication and symbolic violence at the university. Her scholarly interests include Kashubian culture and rituals in postmodern conditions.

Paulina Semenec (SFU): Girls, Media and Resistance

This presentation will detail my current thesis work that focuses on how girls understand, negotiate and resist what it means to be a “girl” in society. In particular, this research attempts to clarify how girls between the ages of 15 and 17 resist dominant representations of girlhood in the media and popular culture through the production of their own media texts. Drawing on my interview and visual methods data, I will detail my research findings as well as showcase some of the films created by the participants for this project.

Paulina Semenec is completing her MA in Education at Simon Fraser University. She holds a BA in Anthropology from York University and a post-baccalaureate diploma in Education from SFU. She presented at the Education without Borders Conference (SFU), and the Northwest Teaching for Social Justice Conference in Seattle. Paulina is interested in how gaining skills in critical media literacy empowers youth (and others) to work for social justice. In the fall, she will start her PhD programme at UBC in educational studies.

Shiva Manavipour (SFU): Me and the Media: Being Muslim in Canada

The short documentary [c. 20 minutes] critically examines the representations of “Muslims” in the media and what it means to be Muslim in Canada. Centered around the film-maker’s experiences, this film illustrates the complexities and fluidity of identity and the influences of media (mis)representations of Muslims on the identities and experiences of Muslim youth in Canada.

Shiva Manavipour completed her Bachelor of General Studies in Education at Simon Fraser University. She will continue her research on Critical Media Literacy as a graduate student in the fall of 2012 at SFU. Her interest in critical media literacy stems from a curiosity for making sense of her experiences growing up in Canada as a Muslim girl. She would like to continue to explore the influence of media representations on the development of various identities.

Olivia K. Mote (Miami University, Hamilton): Lebanon’s ‘Social Mosaic’: The (Re)Making of Identities and the Impact of Higher Education (A Preliminary Study)

sub-national level and operationalized in the Lebanese public sphere. The (re)making of identities takes place within a consociational framework, with the absence of a coherent national identity interpreted as an obstacle to the adoption of an integrative politics. In this context, I consider how higher education potentially impacts students’ articulations of religio-political identity and, ultimately, their political decision-making.

Olivia Mote holds an MA degree in Comparative Religion from Miami University, where she specialized in Islamic studies and religion and politics in the Middle East. She presently teaches religion courses at a regional campus of the same university. Her areas of interest are located at the intersections of religion, politics, and higher education. She plans to return to graduate school in Fall 2013 for a PhD in Sociology.

Sonia Medel (UBC): Afro-Peruvian Action Towards Radical Democracy: Anti-Racism Struggles and
Enactments of Citizenship

The presentation unpacks the impact of an anti-racism campaign initiative launched by Afro-Peruvians in Peru, in an attempt to understand how a marginalized group utilizes higher education as a site from which to launch citizenship alternatives towards sustainable national development. Claiming a generative position within the national discourse on development, Afro-Peruvians seek to reshape the system of democratic pluralistic governance to allow for the re-writing of Peru’s hegemonic history through a framework of acknowledgement and recognition.

Sonia Medel is in her final year of MA studies in the Society, Culture and Politics in Education Program, Department of Educational Studies, UBC. Her thesis addresses the impact of Afro-Peruvian higher education initiatives on the enactment of a participatory radical democratic citizenship in Peru. She is interested in understanding how political struggles of marginalized ethnic groups inform anti-oppressive policies, sustainable development, participatory democratic governance, and social movement learning.

John Mills (UBC): Academization of Vocational Education: Reflections on Some Forces that Drive
Change in University Education

The presentation unpacks two concurrent processes taking place in higher education: the inclusion of traditionally vocational education areas into the university, and the vocationalization of existing university programs. The presentation will examine notions of vocational education; status, esteem, and legitimacy; and market forces as drivers of these processes. Changes in teacher education will be reviewed as a case in point.

John Mills is a Master of Education student in Higher Education at the University of British Columbia, focused on Leadership and Management. John has a Bachelor of Civil Engineering from Memorial University of Newfoundland [MUN] and a Diploma of Technology from the British Columbia Institute of Technology [BCIT]. He has been teaching for 20 years and currently is an instructor of Television and Video Production at BCIT.

Thibaut Lauwerier (Université de Genève): The World Bank and National Basic Education Policies in Mali and Senegal

The World Bank is one of the major international organizations active in the field of basic education in the countries in West Africa. This study unpacks the World Bank’s policies by examining more closely the cases of two West African countries, namely Mali and Senegal. The study highlights the value of comparative research and of field approaches to the understanding of educational policy in contexts marked by social and economic marginalization.

Thibaut Lauwerier is a PhD student at the Faculty of Psychology and Sciences of Education, University of Geneva, Switzerland. His doctoral project focuses on the influences of the World Bank on national education policies in West Africa. Thibaut is interested in the role of international cooperation in educational policy development, literacy policies in Sub-Saharan Africa, non-formal education, and in alternative forms of educational provision in the South. Webpage:

Dwayne Cover (UBC): Educational Policy and Privatization: Intentions and Collateral Damage

This presentation explores the role educational policy plays in creating privatized spaces in K-12 schooling in British Columbia. It begins by examining the trend toward greater privatization in public education within a global context. It then highlights how regional and local factors play into policy decisions. Questions regarding access, equity, and revenue generation in a quasi-free market environment are also considered.

Dwayne Cover is a PhD student in the Department of Educational Studies at UBC. He received both his MA and BA degrees from the University of Victoria, in Pacific and Asian Studies. He has more than 14 years of experience in language instruction, teacher education, and curriculum development. His research interests are in the areas of educational policy and the sociology of education.

Simon Blakesley (UBC): Reflections on our work and our role as educational researchers

Simon will offer his thoughts and reflections on the day’s presentations. He will also share insights from his own research experiences on the importance of critical ethnography as a powerful research tool for shedding light on the epistemic and crosscultural tensions underpinning much of the educational leadership literature, and the need for researchers to employ reflexivity when intersecting their own biographies and narratives into their work.

Simon Blakesley holds a PhD in Educational Studies from the University of British Columbia. His dissertation, Leaders Working in Indigenous Yukon Communities, employed a critical ethnographic research approach. A teacher and school administrator for over 20 years, Simon lives in the Yukon Territory (Northern Canada). His research and teaching interests are in the areas of educational leadership, policy contexts, and qualitative research methods.