Postgraduate research student
Freya has worked in a number of education contexts, including higher education, mainstream schools, and democratic schools. They believe in the importance of students having a say over the communities they are part of, and in the significance of participatory democracy for creating more critically reflective and socially just education spaces.
Freya joined King's in October 2018 on an ESRC funded MA+PhD studentship to research democratic education practice in post-16 education.
Alongside this work, Freya has been working for the BA Social Science programme since September 2019, teaching across a number of modules and working to support student voice and community democracy.
Thesis title: Putting democracy at the heart of further and higher education: principles, practices and future possibilities.
Freya’s PhD research explores the role and function – both current and potential – of democracy in the ‘post-compulsory’ education sectors of FE and HE. By using a critical exploration of existing practice as a springboard for ‘utopian’ thinking, the research seeks to generate a grounded set of ideas about how mainstream practice might be transformed in line with democratic principles. Alongside a critical consideration of contrasting philosophical conceptualisations of democracy in education, drawing both on established theories of democracy and theories of social justice, the research will use qualitative interviews with students and practitioners doing unusual or radical work in the sector to explore possibilities for how FE/HE might be reimagined.
The research is organised around the following two research questions:
- What would it mean to centre democracy in further and higher education practice?
- What can the real-life experiences of students and staff in contrasting national, educational and socio-political contexts contribute to our understanding of this question and of the challenges involved?
Principal supervisor: Professor Sharon Gewirtz
Secondary supervisor: Dr Tania de St Croix