Interview with theme convenors of one of six 2023 UKFIET conference themes, ‘Decolonisation, politics, knowledge and power’: Máiréad Dunne, Professor of Sociology of Education, University of Sussex, and Bukola Oyinloye, Research Associate, University of York.

What excites you about your theme?

It is the potential to ‘disrupt’ that excites us most about this conference theme – Decolonisation, politics, knowledges and power. The invitation is to engage critically with the colonial matrix of power and the way it operates through knowledge, theory and practice in education and development. Although colonialism remains deeply entwined with capitalism, liberal politics and Western knowledge production systems, demands to decolonise are burgeoning. The effort is to change the ‘gaze’ and open new horizons informed by the values, ideas and testimonies from a more diverse range of communities and contexts. We are excited about conceptual, empirical and practice-oriented contributions that are informed by this diversity, and offer a way to reconfigure the field of education and ‘international development’ with different logics, understandings and imaginaries.

How does this link to the overall 2023 conference theme?

Decolonisation, politics, power and knowledge are at the heart of efforts for social and environmental justice. Analyses of, and resistance to, the colonial matrix of power are crucial for conceptualising and framing ways of working towards justice and sustainability. The entanglements of colonialism with the intersecting fields of education and ‘international development’ are fundamental to understanding the social, environmental and economic crises of our times. Understanding these relationships is also vital for generating fresh approaches for mitigating or circumventing these crises. The conceptual, empirical, political and practical conversations within this theme will be central to new understandings and approaches in the field and highly significant to the conference theme as a whole.

 What kinds of papers/events would you like to see submitted under your theme?

We welcome the widest range of contributions that engage with the multiple aspects of decolonisation in relation to education and/or ‘international development’. 

We would be keen to receive abstracts which, among others:

  • Explore the legacies of colonialism in education and society
  • Offer theoretical and conceptual critiques of colonialism, development and education
  • Generate rich, new insights and knowledges with Southern epistemologies
  • Interrogate the research-practice-policy-politics nexus in education and ‘international development’
  • Offer alternative conceptions of education and/or learning
  • Discuss alternative, context-appropriate ways to generate knowledge with diverse and/or disadvantaged groups
  • Propose situated, context-appropriate practices and interventions in education and ‘international development’.

Find out more about the theme