Author Archives: Sarah Amsler

‘Letters from Utopia’ – dispatches from the co-operative university of the future

Don’t miss this month’s Post-16 Educator , which hosts Joss Winn’s and Mike Neary’s ‘Letters from Utopia’, an epistolary communication from an alternative educational future which is grounded in their six years of research and practice of co-operative higher education.

Letters from Utopia

Co-operative Higher Education Research blog

Final project report, Beyond Public and Private: A New Framework for Co-operative Higher Education  (2016).

2016 marks the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s Utopia.


2016 Peter Lang Young Scholars Competition in Education Studies

Peter Lang publishing is holding a Young Scholars Competition in Education Studies. The winner will be offered a paperback book contract. The deadline for applications is 31 August 2016.

“Proposals are invited from early career scholars ­for academic monographs in the area of Education Studies to be evaluated by a distinguished editorial board. The winner of the competition will receive a contract to publish the volume in the book series New Disciplinary Perspectives on Education. This new series supports emergent work on education that combines emphases on theory and activism, focusing on challenges to recent developments in education policy arising from the marketisation and commodification of education and educational institutions. In particular, the series welcomes work that does not simply critique these developments, but marks out a space for new and alternative educational practice. This work might focus on university education, further education or school institutions at primary or secondary level.”

Proposals for the competition should be submitted to Christabel Scaife ( by 31 August 2016 and include an abstract (including chapter synopses), CV and a sample chapter (5,000 to 10,000 words in length) in separate Microsoft Word documents. Proposals under review elsewhere should not be submitted.


‘Other learnings are possible’ (Plymouth University, 16 December)

This talk is part of the Plymouth Institute of Education Research Seminar Series and will be given by Dr Sarah Amsler from the University of Lincoln.

Sarah’s talk offers a brief introduction to some diverse forms of education now being practised around the world and considers the light these shed on the politics of counter-capitalist educational projects in Britain today. It asks why radical imaginaries of autonomous, egalitarian, co-operative and post-capitalist education remain marginal in educational discourses and politics here despite decades of opposition to the marketisation of society, extensive academic and experiential evidence of its exclusionary consequences, and the growth of global education movements which demonstrate the liberatory potential of counter-hegemonic epistemological and pedagogical practices.

The talk will argue that mainstream education debates, institutionalized educational practice and critiques of both in the UK are often framed within colonial logics that not only contribute to the production of social and epistemic injustice but render already-existing and not-yet alternatives invisible or impossible.

The aim of the talk is to explore how decolonising these logics can create space for the emergence of new imaginaries which support the flourishing of life rather than its domination, open possibilities for educating radical democracy, and equip us to collectively embrace the challenges of reclaiming our ecological, political and economic futures from our own locations today.

The seminar starts at 2pm and all are welcome but spaces are limited. 

Please contact if you have any queries about the event.

Speaker biography

Sarah Amsler is a sociologist, critical theorist and reader in Education at the University of Lincoln. She works at the intersections of the sociology of knowledge, political economy, and pedagogies and processes of social and epistemic change. Her current research focuses on counter-capitalist and radical-democratic movements within and beyond cultural institutions, and on articulating education as a site of political trans/formation which is central to the critique and overcoming of dominating social relations and rationalities.

Study with us: Funded PhD on ‘Understanding educational inequalities in rural Britain’

The School of Education at the University of Lincoln, UK, is offering a fully-funded PhD studentship dedicated to the investigation of educational inequalities in rural contexts. The successful candidate will design and carry out a study of factors contributing to the production and reduction of educational inequalities in rural contexts in the UK, focusing on or including the county of Lincolnshire. Applicants must demonstrate an interest in and familiarity with problems of educational justice and equality, have advanced competencies in quantitative or mixed-method research design and analysis, have the potential to conduct independent academic research, and demonstrate competent academic writing.

Applications are particularly encouraged from candidates with an undergraduate or Master’s degree in the field of education. The successful candidate may begin this studentship from September 2015.

Eligibility: Candidates must satisfy the University’s minimum doctoral entry criterion for studentships of an Upper Second-Class honours degree (2:1) or an appropriate Master’s degree or equivalent. A minimum IELTS (Academic) score of 7 (or equivalent) is essential for candidates for whom English is not their first language. International candidates are eligible to apply, but would be required to pay the difference between UK/EU and international fees.

How to apply: Applicants should submit a covering letter detailing their interest and academic experience, an 2,000–2,500 word research proposal outlining their proposed design, theoretical framing and methodological approach, and a CV. Please cite project reference and project title in all correspondence. Deadline for expressions of interest is 5:00 p.m. on 22 July 2015. Candidates shortlisted for interview will be notified on 24 July 2015 with interviews being held on 29 July 2015.

For further inquiries about this project and to submit your application materials, please contact Maureen Young by email at Shortlisted candidates will be contacted to arrange a meeting to discuss the proposed research.

Funding Notes

The award will cover UK/EU tuition fees and provide an annual stipend set at RCUK levels (£14,057 for 2015/16), as well as an annual research budget of £2,000. The duration of the studentship is 3.5 years full time.

Please note that International students will be required to pay the difference between the Home/EU and international fees.

Further information: 


Book launch: The Education of Radical Democracy

29 June 2015
2:00-3:00 p.m.
University of Lincoln

You are invited to an informal gathering to celebrate the publication of Dr. Sarah Amsler’s new book, The Education of Radical Democracy (Routledge, April 2015). The event will be held in MC0025 (Media, Technology and Humanities Building); tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided.

The book will be introduced by Dr. Ana C. Dinerstein (University of Bath), author of The Politics Autonomy in Latin America: The Art of Organising Hope (2014).

The Education of Radical Democracy explores why radical democracy is so necessary, difficult, and possible and why it is important to understand it as an educative activity. The book draws on critical social theory and critical pedagogy to explain what enables and sustains work for radical democratization, and considers how we can begin such work in neoliberal societies today. Exploring examples of projects from the nineteenth century to the present day, the book sheds light on a wealth of critical tools, research studies, theoretical concepts and practical methods. It offers a critical reading of the ‘crisis of hope’ in neoliberal capitalist societies, focusing on the problem of the ‘contraction of possibilities’ for democratic agency, resistance to domination, and practices of freedom. It argues that radically democratic thinking, practice, and forms of social organization are vital for countering and overcoming systemic hegemonies and that these can be learned and cultivated. This book will be of interest to academics, practitioners, researchers, and students in education and critical theory, and to those interested in the sociology, philosophy and politics of hope. It also invites new dialogues between theorists of neoliberal power and political possibility, those engaged in projects for radical democratization, and teachers in formal and informal educational settings.

For further details about the book and library orders, see

The Research in Critical Education Studies (RiCES) group works to promote the development of rigorous, critical and socially engaged research for education. For more information, see