Opening Pathways from Critical Research to Policy

In 2015 BERA critical education researchers took a symposium to AERA Annual Meeting that asked how they might enhance the relationship between policy and critical educational research. Answers proposed at and developed through the symposium, plus some others, are in a special issue of Policy Futures in Education entitled ‘From Critical Research to Policy’ (2018) and include:

  • deepening understanding of and documenting relationships between critical research and policy, whether it highlights absences, marginalisation or exemplifies productive relationships between critical research and policy;
  • reconsidering roles critical researchers might adopt in respect of policy influence beyond that of education critic;
  • making informed and selective decisions about where and with whom to seek relationships to engage public opinion or co-produce knowledge.

While the researchers proposed new ways that they might work to mitigate barriers between their work and policy, some of the most persistent barriers are structurally or discursively demarcated. Such barriers act to limit individuals’ capacity to forge productive relationships between research and policy. In this conference we build upon our work to consider how collective endeavour might expand the limits of researcher agency.

The programme includes presentation of cases and recent research to highlight the barriers and enablers in forming productive relations between critical research and policy. These cases will inform open discussions amongst participants that consider how we might work upon the structural barriers between critical research and policy in education policy framing, higher education and research infrastructure. The purpose for the discussion is to pool our knowledge and set an agenda for opening pathways from critical research to policy, identifying the different arenas where change might happen and the levers we might employ to bring about change.


09.30 Registration and refreshments
10.00 Welcome and introduction
10.15 Re-assembling the rules: becoming crafty with how research can inform policy and practice
Emma Renold, Cardiff University;
Researchers working at the research/policy interface
Prof Tristram Hooley, University of Derby
11.15 Refreshments break
11.35 Infrastructure for the research/policy interface
Assoc Prof Anna Sullivan; Dr Ruth Boyask
12.15 Discussion 1facilitated discussion on the possibilities and constraints of policy influence with Prof Ruth Lupton, Prof Liz Todd and Prof Gabrielle Ivinson.
13.00 Lunch
13.50 Discussion 2 facilitated discussion on planning for change with Prof Ruth Lupton, Prof Liz Todd and Prof Gabrielle Ivinson.
14.50 Plenarysetting an agenda and developing a plan of action for opening pathways from critical research to policy.
15.25 Completion of evaluation forms
15.30 End of event


The BERA Early Career Researcher Network offers a limited amount of bursaries to the value of £75 towards travel for BERA Student Members only.

To apply for one of these bursaries, please email with a 250 word statement on why you want to attend this event and why you need the financial assistance. Bursaries are offered on a first come, first served basis. Travel expenses will be reimbursed after the event in accordance with our travel policies. You must not have previously received bursary funding from BERA.

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