All posts by Mark O'Brien

2015 John Hamilton Lifelong Learning Lecture: Ghada Karmi, ‘A Palestinian Memoir: Where next for the right of return?’

Ghada Karmi: ‘A Palestinian Memoir: Where next for the right of return?’

Thursday 22nd October, 6pm

The Quaker Centre, 22 School Lane (near the Blue Coat Chambers), Liverpool, L1 3BT. Click here for directions.

Price: FREE, booking essential (booking information below)

This year the John Hamilton Lifelong Learning Lecture will be delivered by Ghada Karmi. One of the most passionate and articulate advocates of the cause of the Palestinian people, Ghada is the author of the best-selling In Search of Fatima (Verso 2002). She has also recently published A Palestinian Memoir: Where next for the right of return? (2015).

In her writings she has described the harrowing experience that she and her family went through during the Nakba (‘Catastrophe’) of 1948 when many hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced out of their homes by the terrorism of the emerging Israeli state. The great majority were displaced to refugee camps in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan; those who are still alive remaining there with their descendants to this day. Currently around five million UNRWA registered Palestinian refugees live in camps after an expulsion lasting nearly 70 years.

Ghada and her family came eventually to London. Her father had worked for the BBC in Palestine and was able to take up a post with its Arabic service. However, the Karmi family always lived with a sense of displacement and longing for their original home and culture. In 2005, after many years of political activism campaigning for the right of the Palestinians to return to their homeland, Ghada took up an opportunity in 2005 to work as a media consultant with the Palestinian Authority. In her most recent book she tells of the frustrations of that experience, working with an organisation that whilst mimicking the manner and organisational style of a ‘state’ is actually powerless to achieve justice for Palestinians, dominated always by the political and military power of Israel.

However, she also insists that just as her own generation looks now to the young educated Palestinians who today staff the various UN funded projects and campaign offices of the Palestinian Authority, so too do they need to know the story of the 1948 generation in order to make sense of their struggle today.

For more information on the John Hamilton lifelong learning lecture series click here.

To book your place click here

 

Mark O’Brien

Critical Pedagogy Against the Mass Market?

Last year, a small group of researchers at Liverpool set out to understand how principles of ‘critical pedagogy’ – the approach to teaching that insists students must play an active and leading role in their own learning strategies – are being implemented in the University of Liverpool.

The research focused upon a small number of modules that apply principles of critical pedagogy in that way students are assessed. It drew upon in-depth interviews with a sample of the staff members that co-ordinate eight modules in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences to explore how successfully those principles are applied in the assessment of those modules.

In our research we found a range of innovative and sometimes challenging ways that module leaders sought apply the core aims of critical pedagogy. We found a range of forms of assessment that:

  • allow the structure of learning to be defined by student learners’ lived reality, rather than a predetermined or designed structure.
  • encourage students to be ‘free learners’, able to challenge the physical and ideological structure of their pedagogical environment and relationships.
  • move students to action and involvement in the world in ways that promote and further the causes of social justice and democracy.

The module leaders we spoke to were committed to allowing students to challenge the dominant ways of reading the world, and to do so in a more open ways. The key motivation for others was to introduce to students an understanding of the social and political dimensions of their subject. There is evidence that such approaches to assessment are important for ensuring the engagement of a more diverse range of participants in education. Critical pedagogy approaches can be important to a widening participation agenda.

Continue reading Critical Pedagogy Against the Mass Market?

Directions in Evaluation Theory and Practice: the politics of evidence

Friday 12 December 2014

A one-day symposium

Symposium rationale

This symposium aims to address widely the ways in which ‘evidence’ is understood within the theory and practice of evaluation. In-so-doing it will regard the nature of what is considered to be ‘evidence’ as itself a political topic. The symposium will seek to contextualise evidence, its manufacture, its understanding and its deployment as inherently political as well as a being matter of science. It will also draw upon controversies within the social sciences regarding the nature of knowledge and the ways in which we understand our social world.

Continue reading Directions in Evaluation Theory and Practice: the politics of evidence

Thinking Solidarities in a Global World of Difference: The Role of Learning

An international symposium organized collaboratively between the Centre for Lifelong Learning and Cultural Difference and Social Solidarity (CDSS) took place on Thursday 7th March 2013. This symposium involved six presentations that all applied critical perspectives to the theme of education and learning for solidarity.

Professor Lawrence Wilde (University of Nottingham, UK) spoke on ‘Educating for Solidarity’. This paper considered the contributions of three social theorists to the debate about the role of education in fostering solidarity: Alaine Touraine’s ‘school for the subject’; Andre Gorz’s ‘education for autonomy’; and Roberto Unger’s idea of schools for ‘little prophets’.

Continue reading Thinking Solidarities in a Global World of Difference: The Role of Learning

Upcoming event: ‘Thinking Solidarities in a Global World of Difference: The Role of Learning’

A Joint Seminar between the Centre for Lifelong Learning, University of Liverpool and Cultural Difference and Social Solidarity: an International Network (CDSS) (www.diffferenceandsolidarity.org)

Thursday 7 March 2013

Speakers

Professor Larry Wilde, University of Nottingham  – Educating For Solidarity

(Larry’s latest book, Global  Solidarity, is published by Edinburgh University Press in January 2012)

Dr Scott Boyd, METU (Northern Cyprus) – Social Entrepreneurship of MOOCs: Quick, Effective, Empowerment is Free if You Pay Our Price

Dr John McSweeney, Ireland – Parrhesia and Solidarity: Rethinking the Politics of Difference with the Final Foucault

Burcu Senturk University of York, UK Learning Through  Collective Struggle

Dr Mark O”Brien, University of Liverpool, UK – Alienation, cathexis and the ‘crisis of interiorisation’. What is ‘the university’ for?’

Paul Reynolds, Edge Hill University UK – Moral Pedagogy and Professional Practice: Solidarity, Ethics and Politics in Practice

Continue reading Upcoming event: ‘Thinking Solidarities in a Global World of Difference: The Role of Learning’

2012 John Hamilton Lifelong Learning Lecture: Steven Rose

The 2012 John Hamilton Lifelong Learning lecture took place on Wednesday 31 October at the University of Liverpool.

The speaker, the neuroscientist Steven Rose, spoke on the topic of ‘Being Human; Becoming a Person’ to an audience of 550 people: academic specialists; members of the general public; undergraduate and postgraduate students; schools; etc. Steven Rose gave a fascinating talk that covered human evolution, the centrality of personal development to understanding the human condition, the importance of lifelong learning and that also debunked many of the myths of neuroscience and human biology. (We do not ‘only use 10% of our brain’, for example. Rather we use ‘all of our brains, all of the time’).
The John Hamilton Lifelong Learning Lecture once again has demonstrated that there is a thirst for ideas and dialogue about all aspects of our lives and of society. It has also once more shown what the University can to contribute to public life. See the lecture here (each video will open in a new window or tab):
Watch Part 1.
Watch Part 2.
Watch Part 3.
Watch Part 4.

Mark O’Brien

Symposium – Critical theories of ‘social representation and reality’

Organised in affiliation with the International Herbert Marcuse Society

University of Liverpool, Monday 18 June 2012 (1pm. – 5pm.)

A symposium that will be of interest to researchers, students and professional practitioners who are engaged with or use critical approaches in their work.

The multiple and proliferating streams of Critical Theory continue to enrich scholarly and research fields in the humanities and political sciences. In the fields of education theory to media analysis, from cultural theory to theories of ‘the city’, from aesthetics to theories of the law critical theorists continue to employ perspectives and approaches that challenge, provoke and subvert the standard clichés and tropes of empirical sociology and positivism in the humanities and political sciences. At this symposium we will hear papers presented by four scholars whose work questions and exposes the power dynamics and hidden conflicts that underlie and structure our social realities. Each in their different ways explore the myriad meanings of ‘representation’ in our culture. Alex Callinicos (King’s College London) explores Marx’s critique of political economy; Penny Burke (Paulo Friere Institue, Roehampton) interrogates the British widening participation agenda with a ‘critical eye’; Catalina Montoya (Javeriana University, Bogota) explores the changing role of the media in Colombian civil society using Chomsky’s ‘propaganda model’; and Mark O’Brien (Centre for Lifelong Learning, University of Liverpool) considers the deceptions of language in the policy rhetoric of the UK Coalition Government. All critically-inclined researchers, students and professional practitioners are invited to this symposium. A collaboration between the Centre for Lifelong Learning at the University of Liverpool and the Paulo Friere Institute at the University of Roehampton and organised in association with the International Herbert Marcuse Society, the event takes place at the University of Liverpool on Monday 18 June. To book your free place from within the University of Liverpool, go to: http://www.liv.ac.uk/cll/booking/  (find the Symposium and click on the ‘date’ to book) To book your free place from outside the University (or if you are a student) go to: eddev@liv.ac.uk (please provide your institution, if relevant, your email and a contact number).

For more information contact Mark O’Brien at mtobrien@liv.ac.uk.