Discourses & Debates

Conversation with Dr Nikki Kernaghan on internationalisation in research


Nikki has extensive experience working in international education, both in terms of student experience and research development. She has served as a manager, coordinator and evaluation of projects funded by various agencies within higher education institutions in the UK and USA.

Nikki and I have promising beginnings: our first meeting was a walk through the Botanical Gardens in Belfast, and the second series of interactions were during a 10 day research trip to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Stellenbosch.

This recording was an opportunity to consolidate some of these conversations.


Conversation with Dr Yannis-John Karamichas about environmental sustainability

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In this interview, I speak with Yannis about environmental sustainability. John teaches in this area, as his research interests circumnavigate the environmental sociological imagination and focus on issues of environmental social contestation and prospects for environmental sustainability.

Video of this interview

For more to do with John’s research see his institutional portal at pure.qub.ac.uk/portal/en/persons…29219c84c2c).html

Conversation with Prof Tony Gallagher about his interest in Higher Education Studies

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Tony’s extensive career has focused on researching and teaching about education’s role in divided societies, including concerns about the social good and social cohesion. His leadership roles have brought with them the addition of the insights of practice in the higher education sector, having been Head of School and Pro Vice Chancellor at a university in Northern Ireland.

I met Tony on my first day of work in the UK, and we have continued to interact habitually as we have a shared interest in Higher Education Studies. In this interview we discuss meet in his office (pictured above) to informally discuss his interest with ‘civic engagement’ in higher education.

The interview can also be viewed on https://youtu.be/lxiHtCIVBC8

To learn more about Tony’s work, see his institutional profile pure.qub.ac.uk/portal/en/persons…b1b9c3c45bd).html

Tony can be followed on Twitter at @tgeducation


Conversation with Dr Christopher Knaus about hope and oppression in higher education

Chris and I met very briefly at a conference on Diversity and Inclusion in higher education in Paisley (Scotland), presenting during the same slot. He challenged me at the time, and what followed were a number of email exchange between us, which has gradually opened into my being humbled and learning from his rich work in and about the borderlands of higher education. He describes the encounter and his work in his own words below:

I did interrupt you after hearing your lovely South African accent, and then as life would have it, we were actually on the same panel. I was also at that conference with two recently graduated doctoral students who are both higher education practitioners, and so my investment in them is what enabled us to connect in the first place, and your accent I might add was the second interlude.

As to my work, I am continually struggling with how to foster and support community resistance to the global onslaught against women of color, communities of color, and particularly how to do such from within higher education institutions designed to colonise. A decolonial approach seems necessary but insufficient to create and sustain new systems, and so I am increasingly focusing my work in collaboration with those who are not rooted within higher education systems.

The recording above was made during an online conversation in early April 2019. Chris shares insights into his personal motivations for engaging in issues of race, oppression and hope in higher education; and where he sees value for continuing engagement.

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For more about Chris’ work see his institutional profile.  Follow Chris on twitter at @cbkvoice

Conversation with Dr Nompilo Tshuma about criticality in academics’ digital learning


Nompilo has been working educational technology in both student and staff development since 2005. She currently manages a range of teaching and research technologies in terms of licencing and training. She is also a researcher in educational technology and academic staff development, and is passionate about challenging academics to be critically reflective about their use of educational technology.

I initially met her when we were both participants of a teaching and learning course at Rhodes University in the early 2000’s, and both lecturing in other departments. Years later, we landed up as colleagues at the Centre for Higher Education Research, Teaching and Learning (CHERTL) – and certainly I benefited in my own development through our interactions!

In this interview, we discuss Nompilo’s interest in critical studies in educational technology in higher education. The pic below is taken in her office when she was at Rhodes, during a visit I made meeting with researchers and practitioners within the institution and in Makhanda in September 2018.

You can follow Nompilo at @nompilotshuma

Reference the recording: DZ Belluigi. 2018. Discussion with Dr Nompilo Tshuma. Audio recording. Courtesy of Dr Belluigi.


Conversation with Dr Fadia Dakka about rhythm analysis for exploring academic life


Fadia and I first met in Cambridge, during the third sitting of the then shaping Critical University Studies UK network. During the days there, and later during a conference, we discussed the various concerns we had with research that explores the gaps between experience and representation of academic experience.

In this interview, recorded in December 2018 during the Society for Research in Higher Education annual conference, she discusses her interest in rhythm analysis as a research method.

Follow Fadia on twitter @Fadiax


Conversation with Dr Tess Maginess interviewed about her interest in the ‘non-traditional’ student and arts-based adult education

Tess pictureTess and I had an informal conversation about the constructions and approaches she sees as most meaningful to learning; why she believes these are important for higher education now; and areas for future development in research and practice. She is a treasure trove of wisdom for years of operating between and beyond the boundaries of what is seen as legitimate by the academy, which I personally found insightful as a person not from Northern/ Ireland.

Access the video of our conversation here https://youtu.be/Bc8mcPrsqbk

Find out about Tess’ research and teaching at the Queen’s University Belfast repository (https://pure.qub.ac.uk/portal/en/pers…).


Conversation with Dr Nandita Banerjee Dhawan

nandita and i inside officeNandita’s interest is in women’s studies, with her research and teaching exploring various institutions, including those of marriage, family, religiosity in India. I initially was introduced to her through a recommendation for a research project, and so we ‘met’ each other virtually, and discussed how we were concerned with similar issues of inequality, and how these might be addressed or at least modelled within higher education.

Nandita and I are embarked on a pilot study related to gender and intersectionality, academic citizenship and agency in South African and Indian higher education in 2019-2020.

In this recorded interview, we discuss her interest in women’s studies. We made this informal recording during her visit to Belfast in November 2018 where she spoke at a seminar I organised at Queen’s University Belfast on Gender and Caste Inequalities in Higher Education in India (see here). The pic above was taken in my office building.

For more on Nandita’s work, see jadvuniv.academia.edu/ND


Conversation with Dr Alison Mackenzie about epistemic injustice

Alison Oct 2018Alison has a particular interest in issues of epistemic injustice in education, with her research and teaching spanning a range of different contexts in which injustice and inequality are reproduced and sustained by forms of ignorance. In addition to teaching and researching in higher education institutions in the UK, she has worked at school-level in her homeland Scotland, where she was Head of Social Subjects in a number of secondary schools specialising in Geography and Modern Studies, a uniquely Scottish subject focused on Politics, Sociology, International Relations and Citizenship Studies.

I initially met her when I moved to Northern Ireland, and we discovered we were perplexed and concerned by similar issues.

In this recorded interview, we discuss Alison’s interest in epistemic injustice and epistemologies of ignorance.



For a video of the interview access it on Youtube here https://youtu.be/mmAm-EhYXgI

For more on Alison’s work, visit her institutional profile at pure.qub.ac.uk/portal/en/persons…95d4d06a5f5).html

Conversation with Dr Grace Ese-Osa Idahosa about academics’ agency for change

Grace has long been researching issues related to higher education. I initially came across her thinking she was reading for her PhD with Louise Vincent at Rhodes University in 2016, and was soon wanting more, particularly in terms of her approaches to conceptualising the individual agency of academics and the developing of the capacity for change. Our paths diverged, but have recently  converged in exploring how we can collaborate in our research interests. She is currently a postgraduate fellow of the Centre for Social Change at the University of Johannesburg. The image below (Grace is on the left) is from September 2018 when I visited that institution during a research trip, and we visited the Soweto campus .

In the interview below from August 2018 in Belfast, we discuss some of her motivations and meanderings.

You can follow Grace on Academia.ed at https://graceidahosa.academia.edu . For an up to date list of her publications visit orcid.org/0000-0002-8950-6651.