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Research, Policy and Practice: Current Influences on Special Education

Time Thursday 21 November until Friday 22 November, 2019 at 09:30 - 13:00
Place Umeå University

This is the preliminary programme to the upcoming symposium with detailed information. We encourage all participating researchers to submit their paper to the research sessions day two.

You find the program and more information here:

Background and content for the symposium

The aim of the symposium is to critically reflect on the current development of approaches and methods in special educational research, policy and practice, generally and specifically in relation to the development of language, writing and reading, mathematical development, and learning disabilities. The questions we will consider include: How can we produce knowledge that helps us understand the complexities of special education in contemporary society in relation to national and international trends? In what ways can we strengthen networking, cross-national interdisciplinary exchange and collaboration, close to practice research, and stimulate the dissemination of research in the field of special education? How can we understand the relationship between methods and the articulation of special educational knowledge? The invited speakers from Sweden, England and Scotland will help us articulate the traditions, approaches, conditions and differences between research projects conducted in cooperation between universities and schools in Sweden and in other European countries.

For the second day of the symposium, we invite research paper submissions relating to policy and practice in the field of special education. We especially welcome contributions with a close to school practice focus, a focus on the development of language, writing and reading, mathematical development, and/or learning disabilities.

We are in discussion with a major international publisher, and it is possible that the symposium will result in a book publication.

Keynotes and contributors

A limited selection of distinguished researchers are invited to the symposium. All of them have been chosen with special concern to reflect different knowledge areas of the research field. The following keynotes will hold presentations during the symposium:

Professor Sheila Riddell is professor Inclusion and Diversity and Director of the Centre for Research in Education Inclusion and Diversity, University of Edinburgh, and was previously Director of the Strathclyde Centre for Disability Research, University of Glasgow.  After seven years teaching English in a Dorset secondary school, she undertook a PhD at the University of Bristol on the topic of gender and subject option choice. She moved to Scotland in 1988 and since then has researched and written extensively in the fields of education, employment and social care, focusing on disability, gender and social class. Sheila has served on a number of government committees and is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. Sheila’s current research focuses on the rights of children with additional support needs.

Claes Nilholm
is professor of Education at Uppsala University. He has a wide research interest in inclusive/special needs education, especially as regards theoretical and conceptual issues but also empirical research. He has recently published the book En inkluderande skola - möjligheter, hinder, dilemman (An inclusive school - possibilites, hindrances, dilemmas) He has one blog in Swedish and one in English, both addressing inclusive education as policy and practice.

Julie Allan
is Head of the School of Education and professor of Equity and Inclusion at the University of Birmingham. Her work encompasses inclusive education, disability studies and children’s rights and is both empirical and theoretical. She has a particular interest in educational theory and the insights offered through poststructural and social capital analyses. Julie has been advisor to the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the Dutch and Queensland Governments and has worked extensively with the Council of Europe.

Marjatta Takala works in Oulu, Finland as the professor of Special Education. Her research interests focus on comparative special education, on inclusion, dyslexia and hearing impairment. Currently she leads a national project financed by Finnish Ministry of Education. The project involves six universities and is called Supporting together. She is also involved in a NordForsk project called Politics of belonging. In addition, she works in two Swedish projects, one about Internationalizing higher education in Sweden and Equal conditions - success factors for increased inclusion in the field of sport. These two projects are based in Umeå. She is also adjunct professor in Helsinki.



The symposium is organised by Associate Professor Kim Wickman, coordinator of the cross-disciplinary research network in Special Education, Umeå University, Sweden together with the members of the Special Education Research Council at Umeå University: Kirk Sullivan, professor at Department of Language Studies, Gudrun Svedberg, senior lecturer and associate professor at Department of Applied Educational Science, and Catarina Andersson, senior lecturer and associate professor at Department of Science and Mathematics Education.

Contact information

Kim Wickman  +46706468069


Event type: Conference
Kim Wickman
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