CIES 2014 Toronto Conference Workshop

Critical Studies in Education, Conflict & Peacebuilding: Building a Network of Activists/Scholars

Objective: To bring together a group of critical scholars, activists, and policymakers working to better understand the relationship between education, conflict and peacebuilding through critical research methodologies and approaches. The group will explore the possibility of developing an international multi-disciplinary research and advocacy network that would challenge existing paradigms surrounding education’s role in conflict affected and fragile societies, with the end goal of promoting transformative approaches which advocate for participatory, socially just, and equitable forms of educational provision in such spaces.

Target Audience: Academics, postgraduate researchers (Masters and Doctoral level students) and practitioners working in the field of education, conflict and peacebuilding who are seeking to move beyond problem-solving approaches to research and programmatic activity, and want to advocate for more reflective, critical approaches within this thematic area.

Workshop Rationale and Instructional Goals:

The past two decades have seen the field of education, conflict and peacebuilding move from a peripheral issue in the comparative and international education field to one that is a major concern of academics, development practitioners and policymakers. This is no coincidence given the changing nature and types of conflict, the shifting geopolitical power balances, and growing economic, political and social insecurity in large parts of the world. This pre-conference workshop is a contribution to these ongoing discussions in this nascent field of study. However, research in this field is too dominated by the agendas of powerful agencies, is overly focused on practice, is thin on both theory and critique, and is insufficiently focused on the complex interplay between conflict contexts and the practices of regional and global actors and factors. For that reason this workshop seeks to bring together scholars and practitioners seeking to develop more critical approaches, practices and outputs, that support a strong commitment to promoting peace with social justice, engaging with grassroots movements in conflict affected contexts and challenging educational and social injustices. The workshop will revolve around a series of short presentations on key issues and polemics within the field, followed by participatory group discussions on how one might begin to apply or alter paradigms presented through new avenues of policy or research oriented work.


Critical studies in education, conflict & peacebuilding – Mapping a research agenda (Mario Novelli, University of Sussex)

Introductions – brief introduction round

Workshop I: Grassroots peacebuilding – the absence of movements from below, popular education, popular movements in conflict-affected contexts Facilitated by Tejendra Pherali, IOE, London


Workshop II: Critical epistemologies and methodologies for analyzing the relationship between education, conflict and peacebuilding Facilitated by Mieke Lopes Cardozo, University of Amsterdam & Ritesh Shah, Faculty of Education, University of Auckland


Workshop III: Education, conflict and the state Facilitated by: Ervjola Selenica, University of Trento

Concluding section – Questions still unanswered and where do we go as a group from here?

Facilitated by: Mario Novelli, University of Sussex; Mieke Lopes Cardozo, University of Amsterdam

Instructional Staff

Mieke T.A. Lopes Cardozo, University of Amsterdam
Mario Novelli, University of Sussex
Tejendra Pherali, Institute of Education, University of London
Ritesh Shah, University of Auckland
Ervjola Selenica, University of Trento

Link to conference

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