Debating theories of neoliberalism: New perspectives and framings in education research

This symposium aims to explore the relevance of theories of neoliberalism to contemporary education research and to intervening upon and shaping education to create positive change.

A key focus of the symposium will be to address whether neoliberalism as a conceptual framework or normative description (‘everyone is neoliberal now’) is useful to framing understandings of the complex changes underway in education across the globe.

The symposium will provide a unique opportunity for participants to engage with a broad range of issues affecting education, from accountability infrastructures and public-private partnerships to repressive pedagogies and new public management.

Keynote speakers will include Professor Richard Hall, Professor of Education and Technology and Co-Director of the Institute for Education Futures, De Montfort University, and Dr Steve Courtney, Lecturer in Management, University of Manchester. Each speaker will discuss how they use neoliberalism in their research, the benefits of such use to developing and deepening new knowledge about education, and the possibilities for intervention and change (if any) made possible by these approaches to education research.

10.00 Registration and refreshments
10.15 Introductions – setting the scene
Dr Andrew Wilkins and Dr Mark Murphy
10.30 Authoritarian neoliberalism and the alienation of academic labour
Professor Richard Hall
11.15 Breakout sessions
12.00 Feedback
12.30 Lunch
13.30 Keynote and Q&A
Dr Steve Courtney
14.15 Breakout sessions
15.00 Feedback
15.30 Panel discussion
16:00 Completion of evaluation forms
16.05 Close of meeting


BERA offer a limited amount of bursaries for BERA Student Members only.

  • Bursaries are available for BERA Student Members to the value of £75 towards travel.

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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