Building Back Better? Reimagining, reorienting and redistributing education and training

As education and training institutions and systems recover and rebuild after a crisis, there is a unique opportunity to reflect, redesign and to build back better. Planning for the reopening and return to education and training provides an opportunity to rethink the way we educate the next generation, and how to prepare learners for unpredictable futures in a rapidly changing society. Innovative and pragmatic solutions developed and adopted during times of crisis can challenge traditional delivery models and offer more effective or more accessible options.  Crises expose vulnerabilities, as well as highlighting the skills we value most.   Crises often widen inequalities. As systems and institutions rebuild, they need to consider how resources can be redistributed to ensure that gaps in access and learning are narrowed. Inequalities within the workforce also need to be examined; ensuring a diverse representation, especially among education leaders.  Building back better should also consider how education and training systems can be reoriented to become transformative, challenging discrimination, and acting as drivers for a more equitable distribution of wealth and power in society. This conference will also consider how the international education and development research community itself can “build back better”: exploring innovations for more effective, efficient and lower carbon research methods, as well as considering strategies to address prejudice and inequality within the research community.

Submissions to all themes which address issues of race, discrimination or decolonisation and submissions by members of under-represented communities are particularly welcome.
The call for submissions will open in January.


  • Reimagining learning spaces
  • Rethinking the education workforce
  • Building back equitably: redistribution of and through education and training
  • Governance, power and planning
  • Education for resilience, protection and wellbeing
  • Building back better in international education and development research

Seeking UKFIET 2021 Conference: theme convenors

The UKFIET Conference 2021 will be organised around  a number of themes, representing different aspects of the overall conference theme ‘Building Back Better?’ Each of these themes will be led by 2 co-convenors drawn from different organisations to facilitate critical dialogue across constituencies – research, policy, practice etc.

The theme co-convenors will play a critical role in shaping both their theme and its place within the conference, and the overall format of the Conference through membership of the 2021 Conference Committee. The Conference Committee comprises a conference chair and vice- chair, conference manager, BAICE representative and the theme co-convenors.  The UKFIET engagement fellow is also a member of the committee.

The list below outlines the key tasks for theme convenors; it is hoped convenors will undertake tasks collaboratively with their co-convenor including sharing attendance at the Conference Committee meetings to limit the demands on colleagues’ time.

  1. To contribute to the overall conference strategy and format as a member of the Conference Committee and to attend all conference committee meetings. (We anticipate meetings in December (shaping the themes), April (agreeing acceptances),  July (programming) and meetings either side of the conference itself in September 2021; the meetings will be a mixture of virtual meetings and face to face meetings in London where necessary and feasible.)
  2. To develop their conference theme. To compose a narrative for their sub-theme inviting abstracts for individual papers and symposia as agreed with the Conference Committee.
  3. To review submitted abstracts for their sub-theme and put forward a selection for inclusion in the conference in line with the policy agreed by the Conference Committee (approximately 50 to 100 abstracts).
  4. To organise sessions for their sub-theme in consultation with other members of the conference Committee to ensure a coherent programme; identifying and contacting sessions chairs and contributors.
  5. To support contingency planning in the light of COVID-19.
  6. To oversee the smooth running of sessions within their sub-theme at the conference.
  7. To contribute a short blog piece for the UKFIET website, one from each co-convenor; one on the key ideas emerging in their theme, the other retrospective on the theme following the conference. This could be written or an audio/ video file for example a conversation between the 2 co-convenors.

Convenor contributions to the UKFIET Conference 2021 will be recognised with a fee waiver for the conference and three nights of accommodation in Oxford for the conference (14 – 16 September 2021).  All reasonable expenses for meetings etc, including travel within the UK, will be reimbursed.

Ideally but not exclusively, Convenors should be associated with UKFIET member organisations and no more than 1 convenor will be from any one organisation to ensure that a broad range of organisations have the opportunity to input to the conference.

We invite expressions of interest in this role; please send a summary CV and short note outlining your area of expertise and theme to which you think it aligns to Ruth Naylor (2021 Conference Chair) and Sarah Jeffery (UKFIET Conference manager) 14 October 2020.;