Category Archives: People

Occupying Education: the power of the empty signifier

On July 1st, Dr. Cassie Earl will be joining the School of Education and Research in Critical Education Studies group. We are delighted to welcome her to our community. Below is an abstract for a paper she presented recently at the 5th International Conference on Critical Education at the University of Lower Silesia in Wroclaw, Poland, entitled ‘Occupying education: the power of the empty signifier’.

“The global Occupy actions gave some pause for thought. At first, some thought that this was a global movement that could change the way politics was conducted and maybe see the end of capitalism as we knew it. The hopes for Occupy were high, but the highest hopes for the movement were short lived. This paper examines Occupy’s legacy; what potential remains and where we might go with it. It argue sthat Occupy became an empty signifier: a ‘bucket’ of discontent into which thousands of disjointed, dissenting voices and discontents were poured, ranging from the original Wall Street encampment to the Umbrella revolution in Occupy Central. The paper looks at the power of the ’empty signifier’ as a galvanising mechanism and explores what this could mean for education. The notion of occupying the curriculum in HE will be explored as a unifying mechanism for multidisciplinary teaching and learning.”

RiCES public seminar: Decolonizing universities, decolonizing politics

Decolonizing universities, decolonizing politics: 
Place-based education in the Canadian Arctic

Dr. Darcy Leigh, University of Edinburgh

21 May | 2:30–4:30pm | Minerva Building 3203

Formal education in Canada has been a central tool of colonial assimilation. It has, crucially, been used to govern political actors and action as liberal and state-based. Today, education is a key site of anti-colonial and Indigenous struggles and of interventions into the meaning of politics itself. This talk will focus on two anti-colonial higher education projects in the Canadian Arctic. Both are using place-based pedagogy and both are combining different forms of knowledge and politics in an Arctic setting. The Akitsiraq Law School combines Inuit law with Canadian common law, while Dechinta University combines book learning with experiential learning in the bush. Both projects are claiming the authority, legitimacy and resources of ‘conventional’ universities and liberal logics of politics. Yet at the same time the projects are refusing and reworking those same logics of politics and education, as well as developing and practicing alternatives. The talk addresses how these projects are using place-based education to navigate these tensions and to decolonize both politics and education in the Canadian Arctic.

More about Darcy | Darcy Leigh is a Fellow at the Academy of Government at the University of Edinburgh, where she co-teaches the course ‘Political Work’. Her work is about how people inhabit and contest neo and late liberal narratives of political agency. She is especially concerned with the possibilities for agency that are closing and opening in universities. She recently completed her PhD, titled ‘Post-liberal agency: Decolonizing politics and universities in the Canadian Arctic’, for which she worked with Indigenous and Northern actors in a struggle for/over an Arctic university. In the past five years she has also been a Research Assistant and/or instructor with Dechinta Bush University (, Northern Governance and Economy (, and the Akitsiraq Law School ( She teaches political, critical, feminist, queer and anti-colonial theory and action across the social sciences at the University of Edinburgh and specializes in collaborative, affective and inclusive pedagogy.

Further information | This seminar is now finished, but more information about the themes is available from the following resources referenced by Dr. Leigh in her talk.

Dechinta Center for Research and Learning (including extensive gallery)

Dechinta student blog (stories about experiential land based learning in students’ own words)

Akitsiraq Law School

Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society (fantastic blog and journal about decolonizing education)

DecolonizationSpecial issue on Indigenous land-based education (including perspectives from Dechinta’s creators and instructors)

Residential schools: if you search for ‘residential schools Canada testimony’ on YouTube you will find people who went to residential schools telling their stories to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (e.g., [CONTENT WARNING: of these stories contain descriptions of childhood sexual and physical abuse]. See also a brief history of residential schools and deaths in residential schools.

Work with us! Lecturer in Education (12 months)

The School of Education is hoping to recruit a Lecturer in Education, working across our post-graduate programmes (PhD, EdD, MA, PGCE) but with a focus on our new MA Education. If you’re interested and would like to speak to someone before you apply, please contact Sarah Amsler.

Here are the details and the link to the jobs site is also below:

Location:  Brayford, Lincoln
Salary:   From £31,342 per annum
Closing Date:   Friday 08 May 2015
Interview Date:   Wednesday 03 June 2015
Reference:  CSS133

The University of Lincoln is seeking to appoint a research-active Lecturer to teach in the School of Education for a fixed term of one year from 1 July 2015 until 30 June 2016. The School is a vibrant and intellectually stimulating centre of postgraduate teaching and research. It is now broadening the range of its educational programmes through the establishment of Master’s courses for PGCE students, a Master’s degree in Education, and research and educational partnerships with secondary schools and practicing teachers. The School aims to strengthen its relationships with schools and educational groups across Lincolnshire, and to produce research that contributes to innovative educational policy and practice. Current research areas within the School include alternative and informal education, critical pedagogies, educational leadership, higher education policy, science education, technology, the politics of education, the sociology of education, and a range of interests in pedagogy and curriculum.