UCL Anthropology


Swimming Against the Tide: Exploring Alternative Approaches for Education

A series of workshops that explore the key ingredients of Alternative Education in the UK

This series of workshops brings together scholars working in fields of education, mental health, youth identity and inclusive practice with disadvantaged and marginalised youth, to explore and exchange interdisciplinary knowledge about the value and mechanisms of alternative education in the UK.  

Drawing on interdisciplinary expertise from across UCL and beyond, the proposed series of workshops aims to stake out key debates in the field of alternative education from different disciplinary perspectives, identify how these areas are implicated in policy and practice, and explore the contribution of creative co-constructed methodologies to different measures and understandings of success outcomes for young people.  

This workshop series is funded by an Institute of Advanced Studies Small Workshop grant 2024 and is organised by the Department of Anthropology and Centre for Sociology of Education and Equity, IoE.

The workshop scholarly team includes:  
Dr Alison Macdonald (Department of Anthropology)
Dr Caroline Oliver (Sociology of Education and Equity, IoE) 
Dr Georgia Pavlopoulous (Institute of Mental Health) 
Dr Wendy Sims-Schouten (Arts and Sciences)

We welcome participation in the workshops from anyone working and studying in related fields. Refreshments will be provided.  

To attend the workshops, please register via the Eventbrite links below.

Workshop Series

Democracy in Education: Agency, Power, and Freedom  

19th April 2024, 10-12pm   

Aims to examine the relationship between participatory democracy and educational practice, exploring how alternative modes of participation and non-hierarchical structures (such as sociocracy) facilitate agency and empowerment in education.   


Education, Emotion and Mental Health  

24th May 2024, 11-1pm   

Aims to explore how different approaches to mental health and well-being such as restorative justice, trauma informed practice, and attention to sensory emotional regulation can support educational practice and ameliorate learning experiences. 


Education, Identity and Social Justice   

25th June 2024, 4-6pm  

Drawing on a lens of social justice and critical pedagogy, this workshop aims to unpack the relationship between educational practice and intersectional subjectification. 


For further information about the workshops please contact: Dr Alison Macdonald.