Meet Our Members: Interview with Dr Julia Paulson

Dr Julia Paulson, FHEA, is a Senior Lecturer in Education, Programme Lead for the forthcoming BSc in Education Studies program, and a member of CIRE.

CIRE Blog: What brought you to the Graduate School of Education and CIRE?

IMG_0615Dr Paulson: I have been attending CIRE events since 2011, when I was finishing my doctorate, so I knew about the wonderful community of comparative and international education researchers here at Bristol, which was definitely a big draw. After I finished my doctorate, I worked at Bath Spa University nearby, where I was Programme Leader for undergraduate awards in Education Studies and International Education. Bristol will be launching two new undergraduate degrees in September 2017 and a big part of my role is to help get them off the ground, which is a privilege. Unsurprisingly, the new undergraduate Education Studies at Bristol has a strong focus on international, comparative and global perspectives – interested people can learn more here. Finally, my partner is from Bristol and I am raising two mini-Bristolians, so being able to work nearby home is amazing!

What do you hope to contribute to the GSoE and CIRE communities? 

I hope to support the School to introduce wonderful new undergraduate provision that offers exciting teaching opportunities for colleagues and postgraduate students, as well as a great experience for undergrad students, who I’m sure will love being part of the warm, friendly community in the School. I’m thrilled to join CIRE, with its established expertise in social justice work in education, and to contribute towards developing work around education, peace and conflict, which is a strong area of common interest within the Centre and at the heart of my own research agenda.

How does your research fit into the research already being conducted at CIRE?

CIRE colleagues have been so important in laying out the conceptual and practical implications of a social justice approach to education. Their work has been important for me in thinking about the ways that education policy in conflict-affected contexts might contribute towards positive peace and to trying to understand the conceptual, potential and practical possibilities for education and transitional justice processes to complement one another.
There is really interesting work being done in CIRE around conflict – including Angeline’s work on teachers and peace-building and Shelley’s work on applying contact theory to better understand intergroup relations. There is real commitment in the Centre to social justice and working to understand how education might best contribute towards peace – and to acknowledging how difficult this challenge can be – and it is energising and exciting for me to join this community.

What are some possible future directions for your research?

I am just back from Bogota, Colombia and a workshop with colleagues there on pedagogy, conflict and memory – these are all themes I am taking up in current and future work, including as part of new project that I am developing in Colombia (with Michelle Bellino from the University of Michigan). I will continue with my interest in transitional justice, truth commissions and history education in conflict affected contexts, including through the publication of a Special Issue of Comparative Education on transitional justice and education, which is coming out in August 2017.
I am also very interested in education responses to the migration crisis, and to doing more work around possibilities for peace education here in the UK, especially in response to Brexit and in the context of Prevent.
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