Dr Claire Forbes

Lecturer in Education

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My research focuses on young people’s experiences of place, and how these intersect with their world-view and aspirations to shape their educational trajectories.  

I mainly teach on the MA International Education at UoM and have contributed to the following course units: Theories of Teaching and Learning, Approaches to Teaching and Learning, Engaging with Education Research, and Intercultural Engagement at Work and in Communities.

I am interested in supervising PhD students, whose research interests centre upon place, space and educational trajetories, participatory and creative methods with children and/or young people, youth participation and leadership in education-related organisations, as well as embedded research and/or institutional ethnographies.

Further Information

My ESRC funded PhD at UoM, completed in February 2019, involved me working as an ‘embedded’ researcher, adopting a quasi-ethnographic research approach within a secondary school and its community for two years. My thesis reports a qualitative case study of the community assets that young people, living within a high poverty context in the North of England, identify, value and use in their pursuit of positive educational outcomes and wider life chances. In this way, I continue to apply the conceptual and methodological approach, developed in my PhD, in schools and local authorities through diverse engagement work, and have worked with Bolton, Wigan and Oldham local authorities, as well as schools and post-16 provision across GM, to support understanding and development of assets-based processes.

From 2019-2021, I led the evaluation of the DfE’s Opportunity Area programme in Oldham, working with the DfE, education system leaders, school improvement teams, local professionals, and local communities, families and young people. This has  given me an opportunity to develop in-depth knowledge of school and education improvement policies, processes and practices, and these experiences as an embedded researcher position me to work fluidly at the interface of research, policy and practice, in ways that support impact and transformation at a local and regional level, and have international significance.

I am also the Greater Manchester Research and Engagement Champion for Manchester Institute of Education. Through this role, I have developed and have delivered CPD on poverty, place and outcomes in GM for a number of local schools. I have also organised, and currently chair, the MiE - GM Seminar Series, which went live in mid-April 2021. This series of seminars and workshops aims to bring together members of the public, policymakers, front-line professionals and academics in GM, to extend our collective knowledge and understanding of local issues, promote research findings, as well as explore and coproduce innovative, research-informed solutions.


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