Dr Deborah Ralls

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

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Research interests

My research interests focus on engagement relationships between education institutions, their stakeholders and urban place. I set out to explicitly surface the interrelationship between policymaker, institutional and stakeholder identities and the type of relationships that ensue. In my research I consider how more relational approaches to policy, governance, curriculum and pedagogy impact on relationships, not only between institutions and their stakeholders but can positively impact on democracy and social justice in urban places.

In my current reaserch project (Leverhulme research fellowship 2018 - ), I explore how education interventions could build stronger relationships with urban communities and help lay the foundation for more inclusive social solidarity economies. This builds on the work of my doctorate (2017), which considered how schools and stakeholders have, over the past few decades, been repositioned as ‘producers’ and ‘consumers’ within the changing English education landscape of policy reforms and how this affects approaches to engagement. Yet, in spite of these developments, my findings revealed that there are spaces for education institutions to think and act relationally. This was illustrated in my thesis by the exploration of the growth of the co-operative school system in England, a system that set out to promote a broader, more relational understanding of civic engagement through co-operative pedagogy, governance models, curriculum and ethos.








Research and projects