I’ve allowed this blog to sit fallow, without updating, for a little too long. To get me back into the swing of posting here, I thought it would be useful to provide an update on what I’ve been doing over the last year or so. The Place of Aspirations project has had a number of outings since I last posted.
In March 2010, I gave a paper entitled “The place of aspirations: targeting widening participation initiatives in policy and practice” at a workshop on Educational Diversity: difference matters and matters of difference organised by Yvette Taylor at the University of Newcastle-Upon_Tyne. The day contained a fascinating range of papers addressing issues of gender, (dis)ability, class and ethnicity in education. I found Sylvia Walby’s paper on “Intersectionality and the equality architecture” particularly fascinating and she provoked me to think further about the role of widening participation practitioners as key intermediaries in providing (some) working class students access to higher education and social mobility.
More recently, I was invited to present a research seminar in the School of Environment and Technology at the University of Brighton. My paper was called “Orientating young people’s aspirations” and explored how work on young people’s aspirations attempts to orientate their lives along particular, socially valued life trajectories, but also how those young people who develop and are able to act on ‘high’ aspirations frequently have particular orientations to the world beyond their immediate home environments.