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Past event

The ECR Journey: From inspiration to impact

This ECR Conference celebrated the journey of “becoming” an educational researcher. It was an opportunity to celebrate and disseminate small and big successes in ECRs’ journey from research students to independent thinkers. The conference included two keynote presentations, panel discussions, and parallel sessions.

In the “impact” strand, we defined impact in its broadest sense to include not only publications in prestigious academic journals but also how research by ECRs has influenced beliefs, practices, and policies. We acknowledged both breadth and depth of the impact that educational research has, that is, how educational research is making a difference in the educational experiences of individuals locally, nationally, or internationally. Presentations under this strand reported educational research projects or interventions at various stages and their implications for research and practice.

In the “inspiration” strand, presentations focused on how ECRs get inspired, for example, by colleagues, peers, or approaches to navigate the doctoral journey. By sharing sources of inspiration, presenters helped inspire peers who are facing similar challenges. Sessions focused on new researchers’ experiences of exploring and evaluating options, and searching for solutions. A particular emphasis of this strand is the process of “figuring out” the research process rather than having definitive answers.

Presentations on the day were reviewed and the winner was to be invited to the BERA Conference 2023 to present their work in a dedicated ECR session.

Draft programme:

09:30 Registration, tea and coffee
10:00 Welcome and Introduction
Sin Wang Chong and Gihan Ismail
10:15 Keynote lecture – Impact
Traversing with Strangers and Negotiating the Unknown: Reflections of an Early Career Researcher Road Tripping through Academia
Dr Katherine Simpson, University of Huddersfield
10:45 Parallel sessions
  The implications and impact of research into the engagement and achievement of White British FSM students
Emma Simpson, IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society

Perceptions of Headteacher agency through performativity culture changes: resisting, confronting, subverting, crumbling
Kelly Stokes, IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society

Negative effects of pejorative language involving autism and its impact
Luke McFarline, University of Leeds

Inspired by Kline: approaches to nurturing the conditions for independent thinking
Sheila Ball, Leeds Beckett University and Sarah Lightfoot, The Open University


What do we need to learn to succeed in life?
Paula Moses, University of Cumbria

Foxholes: Mental Resilience Training to support the retention and graduate success of trainee-teachers on a PGCE programme
Julian Ayres, Wrexham Glyndwr University

Exploring Christian Environment Education provision (in the UK)
Amanda Anderson, Anglia Ruskin University

Lived experiences of transgender and gender diverse people in the English educational system
Kayden Jo Schumacher, Coventry University

The discourse of exclusion – what does the language used in a permanent exclusion tell us about the reality of inclusion in the education system?
Marcia White, Bromley Trust Academy

11:30 Tea and coffee break
11:50 Parallel sessions
  EFL Teachers’ Digital Pedagogic Practice in the Post-Pandemic Context
Dadan Nugraha, Queens’s University Belfast

Working together to increase the impact and accessibility of a nature connection
Nicola Parkin, Cardiff University

Using data to make an impact: the case of the COVID Social Mobility and Opportunities (COSMO) study
Xin Shao, IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society

Open Educational Resources for Supporting Pupils with Learning Difficulties
Johny Daniel, Durham University

Creating impact to improve trans students’ experiences of secondary school in the UK
Sophie Atherton, University of Manchester

Trapped by Shadow Education and Educational Involution: Science Engagement and Parental Anxiety in Urban China
Ye (Catherine) Cao, King’s College London

Constructing the Teacher Mentor Self-efficacy Scale (TMSES): Investigating the Impact of Teacher Mentoring in a Mutable Educational Landscape
Rebecca Tickell, University of York

A Decolonial Outlook: Othered from the Offset, Indian Female Student Experiences of Community
Sangeeta Rani, University of Leeds

Promoting mutual respect and tolerance: key findings and recommendations for practitioners and policy makers
Rebekah Ackroyd, University of Cumbria

12:35 Panel discussion
Led by Sin Wang Chong, Alysean Banks, Gihan Ismail and Brittany Wright
12:55 Lunch and networking
13:55 Keynote Panel Discussion – Inspiration
Ambitions, fears and hopes: Looking for sources of inspiration in our (early) research careers
Dr Helen Hanna, University of Manchester
Joined by: Leanne Henderson, Rebekah Ackroyd and Yan Zhu
14:40 Parallel sessions
  Who is best placed to produce impactful educational research? Navigating opportunities and dilemmas in interactions between practice and academia in Norway
Mari-Ana Jones, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and Julie Lysberg, Nord University and Tessa Grevle, Oslo Metropolitan University
Living and Learning while Trans*:
Gender Diversity and the English Education System
Kayden Jo Schumacher, Coventry University

Turning Researcher’s Emotional Vulnerabilities into an Opportunity of Reshaping Research and the Researcher
Suqiong Zheng, University of Edinburgh

Using scrapbook journalling to develop critical and reflective thinking skills in doctoral research
Rebecca Sherratt, Staffordshire University

Inspiration during fieldwork: Process-derived research aims
Jessica Breese, University of Sheffield

Inspired by Top Trumps and Tarot: Designing a card game to impact on early career teacher commitment and retention
Kathryn Spicksley, Oxford Brookes University

A Habermasian discourse analysis of students’ online socio-political discussions
Candace Nolan-Grant, Durham University

15:10 Tea and coffee break
15:30 Parallel sessions

The challenges of wearing two hats: Navigating the positionality of ‘researcher-practitioner’ 
Noel Dempsey, University Campus of Football Business (UCFB)

Trains, Brains and Serendipity: The Messy Research Journey
Suzie Pugh, Swansea University

A Passion for Anthropology in Education
Mark Lindley-Highfield of Ballumbie Castle, University of Strathclyde

Networks of Care: From Solidarity to Inspiration
Julia Dobson, IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society


16:00 Panel discussion
Led by Gihan Ismail, Lisa Reed and Nicola Marlow
16:30 Conclusion and thanks
16:45 Event close


Keynote speakers

Profile picture of Helen Hanna
Helen Hanna, Dr

Lecturer at University of Manchester

Dr Helen Hanna is a Lecturer in International Education at the University of Manchester. She is passionate about citizenship education, education rights, and educational inclusion, particularly of migrant learners and those from racial, ethnic...

Profile picture of Katherine Simpson
Katherine Simpson, Dr

Senior Lecturer in Education at Huddersfield University

I am a Senior Lecturer in Education and Community Studies at the University of Huddersfield where I have worked since 2020. I teach across a range of undergraduate and postgraduate education and teacher-training programmes, and I am Course Leader...


Profile picture of Alysean Banks
Alysean Banks, Mr

Doctoral Researcher (EdD) and EDI Project Coordinator at Cardiff Metropolitan University

Alysean Banks is the ECR Network Regional Representative for Wales. Alysean is an Equality & Diversity Project Coordinator, Co-Chair of the BAME Staff Network, and a Doctoral Researcher working towards the Professional Doctorate in Education...

Profile picture of Brittany Wright
Brittany Wright, Mrs

ESRC-funded doctoral student at University of Nottingham

Brittany Wright is the Early Career Researcher Network Regional Rep for the Midlands. Brittany Wright is an ESRC-funded doctoral student in the School of Education at the University of Nottingham. Her research explores women’s experiences of...

Profile picture of Gihan Ismail
Gihan Ismail, Mrs

PhD researcher at University of Bath

Gihan Ismail is a doctoral researcher at the department of education, University of Bath, and her research explores the interplay of knowledge, power and ethics in doctoral education with a focus on the sociology of difference, culture and...

Profile picture of Leanne Henderson
Leanne Henderson, Dr

Lecturer at Queen's University Belfast

Leanne Henderson is a lecturer in education studies in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work at Queen’s University Belfast. Her research centres on young people’s educational trajectories and transitions. She was...

Profile picture of Lisa Reed
Lisa Reed, Dr

Lecturer in Teacher Education at University of Dundee

Lisa is the ECR Network Regional Representative for Scotland Lisa is a lecturer and ECR in Teacher Education at the University of Dundee. She was awarded her doctorate from the University of Cumbria in 2021, which is focused on the importance of...

Profile picture of Nicola Marlow
Nicola Marlow, Dr

Lecturer in Education at Ulster University

Nicola is the regional rep for Northern Ireland. Nicola is a lecturer in Education and course director of the PGCE English with Drama and Media Studies programme at Ulster University. Her research interests include writing pedagogy and how...

Profile picture of Rebekah Ackroyd
Rebekah Ackroyd, Dr

Lecturer in Education at University of Cumbria

Rebekah Ackroyd is the Early Career Researcher Network Regional Rep for the North of England. Rebekah is a lecturer in education at the University of Cumbria working on postgraduate provision. Her PhD research examined how teachers of Religious...

Profile picture of Sin-Wang Chong
Sin-Wang Chong, Professor

Director of Research & Director of Impact and Innovation at University of St Andrews

Sin Wang (Ph.D., SFHEA, FRSA) is Director of Research and Director of Impact and Innovation at the International Education Institute, University of St Andrews. Concurrently, he is Honorary Research Professor, Head of Evidence Synthesis, and Chair...

Profile picture of Yan Zhu
Yan Zhu, Dr

Lecturer in Education Studies at University College London

Yan is the ECR Regional Rep for the South East. Yan is a Lecturer in Education Studies at University College London. Yan was a Teaching Fellow in Childhood Studies and Programme Leader for MA Childhood Studies at the University of Leeds after she...


Profile picture of Amanda Anderson
Amanda Anderson, Mrs

Postgraduate Researcher (PhD) at Anglia Ruskin University

I am a PhD student at Anglia Ruskin University at the Faculty of Education – in Cambridge. My reserach is on ESE (Environmental and Sustainability Education) and my focus is Christian ESE providers. My research method is ethnography to look...

Profile picture of Candace Nolan-Grant
Candace Nolan-Grant, Ms

Durham University

Candace has worked in higher education for over twenty years and is currently a senior learning designer at Durham University. She is a part-time Phd student in the Durham School of Education, researching online student discussion boards through...

Profile picture of Claire Lee
Claire Lee, Dr

Early Career Research Fellow at Oxford Brookes University

Claire Lee taught in secondary and primary schools in the UK before completing an ESRC-funded PhD at the School of Education, University of Bristol. Her interests include understanding how children develop a sense of self in educational settings,...

Profile picture of Dadan Nugraha
Dadan Nugraha, Mr

PhD Student at Queen's University Belfast

Dadan Nugraha is currently a PhD student in Education at Queen’s University Belfast. Dadan is an awardee of MORA-LPDP Scholarship funded by the government of the Republic of Indonesia. His research interests fall into the fields of Digital...

Profile picture of Emma Simpson
Emma Simpson, Dr

Senior research fellow at IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society

Dr Emma Simpson is an honorary senior research fellow at the Institute of Education, UCL and a senior research manager at The Difference (an educational charity specialising in school inclusion). She has worked in the English education system for...

Profile picture of Julian Ayres
Julian Ayres, Mr

Senior Lecturer in Education at Wrexham University

Julian Ayres is a Senior Lecturer in Education at Glyndwr University, Wrexham. Julian is a doctoral student at the University of Bolton. His research seeks to evaluate the implementation of Mental Resilience Training strategies from the armed...

Profile picture of Kayden Schumacher
Kayden Schumacher, Mx

PhD Scholar at Coventry University

Enthusiastic social sciences researcher and practitioner, with passion, an open-mind, and empathy combined with a diverse educational background and motivation to make an impact on the world. Currently completing my PhD at Coventry University in...

Profile picture of Jessica Breese
Jessica Breese, Miss

Student at University of Sheffield

Jess is a third-year, part-time PhD researcher at the School of Education, University of Sheffield. Her research project, which is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), aims to critically explore different concepts around...

Profile picture of Johny Daniel
Johny Daniel, Dr

Assistant Professor at University of Durham

Johny Daniel is an assistant professor at the School of Education at Durham University. Dr. Daniel’s research focuses on developing and testing reading interventions and assessments for pupils, including those with and at-risk of learning...

Profile picture of Julia Dobson
Julia Dobson, Ms

PhD Candidate at Institute of Education

I am an Economic and Social Research Council funded doctoral researcher at the Institute of Education, UCL. My research considers youth agency and young people's experiences of care in state secondary schools. For my thesis, I am exploring how,...

Profile picture of Julie Lysberg
Julie Lysberg, Dr

educational advisor, Phd at Bodø municipality and Nord University

Julie is employed in Bodø municipality as an educational advisor and researcher. Her work focuses on teachers' and school leaders’ professional learning through school-based professional development. Her research interests include school...

Profile picture of Kathryn Spicksley
Kathryn Spicksley, Dr

Research Fellow at University of Birmingham

Dr Kathryn Spicksley is a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham. Her postdoctoral project is concerned with developing a playful card game to improve dialogic mentoring between early career teachers and...

Profile picture of Kelly Stokes
Kelly Stokes, Mrs

School Improvement Officer at St Benet's Trust, and EdD Student at University College London

Kelly has been in education for over 20 years working in a variety of roles from Teacher, Headteacher and Director of Primary Improvement for a Multi Academy Trust. Currently, she is working on her Doctorate of Education at University College...

Profile picture of Luke Mcfarline
Luke Mcfarline, Mr

University of Leeds

I am originally from Northern Ireland and have a lot of experience in the education sector. I have worked as an English language teacher for six years in New Zealand, Czech Republic and South Korea. I did MSc in Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2017...

Profile picture of Marcia White
Marcia White, Miss

EdD Student at Canterbury Christ Church at Canterbury Christ Church University

I am the newly appointed Secondary Outreach Lead for Bromley Trust Academy. I have experience of working with children in mainstream and specialist schools. Prior to my new post I spend nine years as a senior leader at an Alternative Provision...

Profile picture of Mari-Ana Jones
Mari-Ana Jones, Dr

Associate Professor at NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

Mari-Ana Jones is Associate Professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and has responsibility for the Masters in Educational Leadership and the National Programme for Headteacher Education. Her research interests...

Profile picture of Mark Lindley-Highfield of Ballumbie Castle
Mark Lindley-Highfield of Ballumbie Castle, Mr

Lecturer in Teacher Education at University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI Inverness)

Mark Lindley-Highfield is a Lecturer in Teacher Education at UHI Inverness, and an EdD student at the University of Strathclyde. Mark is an anthropologist by training and is interested in the application of anthropological skills within Teacher...

Profile picture of Noel Dempsey
Noel Dempsey, Dr

Lecturer at University Campus Football Business

Noel Dempsey is a lecturer in football coaching and management at the University Campus of Football Business (UCFB). His research interests centre around formal coach education and the wider policy developments that inform it. Other qualitative...

Profile picture of Nicola Parkin
Nicola Parkin, Mrs

PhD student at Cardiff University

After 15 years of teaching primary and early years, I began a PhD in the School of Psychology at Cardiff University, evaluating the impact of the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust's Generation Wild project. My thesis focuses on the role of the teacher...

Profile picture of Paula Moses
Paula Moses, Mrs

PhD student at University of Cumbria

Paula is an experienced primary school teacher and former Headteacher with a good track record of working with a wide range of schools in areas of high deprivation. Paula also runs the Community Interest Company, Permanent Education CIC, to...

Profile picture of Rebecca Sherratt
Rebecca Sherratt, Mrs

PGCE Secondary English Course Leader at Staffordshire University

Rebecca Sherratt is the PGCE Secondary English course leader at Staffordshire University and a first year Doctorate of Education researcher at the same higher education institution. Her research interests lie in creativity in the secondary...

Profile picture of Rebecca Tickell
Rebecca Tickell, Ms

DPhil student and Company Director at University of Oxford

Having spent a varied career in a variety of educational roles and contexts, I'm currently focused on completing a DPhil in Education at Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford. In phase one of my research, I used the Delphi method to...

Profile picture of Rebekah Ackroyd
Rebekah Ackroyd, Dr

Lecturer in Education at University of Cumbria

Rebekah Ackroyd is the Early Career Researcher Network Regional Rep for the North of England. Rebekah is a lecturer in education at the University of Cumbria working on postgraduate provision. Her PhD research examined how teachers of Religious...

Profile picture of Sangeeta Rani-Hall
Sangeeta Rani-Hall, Mrs

PHD STUDENT at University of Leeds

Sangeeta Rani is a final year PhD Student at the School of Education, University of Leeds. Her research centres around understanding communities in a Higher Education setting with Indian women through a decolonial lens. Sangeeta's academic...

Profile picture of Sarah Lightfoot
Sarah Lightfoot, Dr

The Open University

Sarah Lightfoot began her teaching career in 1989 working as an Early Years teacher in diverse settings in the northwest of England, and subsequently, as a deputy head teacher in Hertfordshire and EY consultant in Bedfordshire. Passionate about...

Profile picture of Sian Parry
Sian Parry, Ms

PhD researcher at Staffordshire University

Sian is a PhD researcher at the Centre for Health and Development (CHAD) at Staffordshire University. With a background in secondary mathematics teaching and a qualification in public health, she holds a research interest in the education,...

Profile picture of Sheila Ball
Sheila Ball, Ms

Graduate Teaching Assistant at Leeds Beckett University

Sheila Ball is a Graduate Teaching Assistant at Leeds Beckett University in the second year of her doctoral studies. Her research focus is: Developing equity through Kline's Thinking Environment. Sheila has 25 years’ experience in education...

Profile picture of Sophie Atherton
Sophie Atherton, Dr

Research Fellow at University of Edinburgh

Sophie Atherton is a research fellow in the Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society in the Usher Institute at the University of Edinburgh. She is currently working on an ESRC-funded project entitled ‘Viral Memories: From HIV to Covid-19 and...

Profile picture of Suqiong Zheng
Suqiong Zheng, Ms

phd candidate at University of Edinburgh

I am currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Edinburgh. My current research focuses on teacher agency represented by different elements, such as identity, emotion, and reflexivity, and also the relationship between agency and...

Profile picture of Suzie Pugh
Suzie Pugh, Mrs

PhD student/Senior Academic Developer at Swansea University

Suzie is a Senior Academic Developer at Swansea University. She has enjoyed a career of over 25 years working in education, in a number of teaching and consultancy roles, and is now beginning her research journey. She is currently undertaking a...

Profile picture of Tessa Grevle
Tessa Grevle, Mrs

Oslo Metropolitan University

Tessa Eriksen Grevle is a public sector PHD candidate at the Faculty of Education and International Studies at Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway. Tessa has 12 years of experience as a teacher of social sciences and languages and holds a master...

Profile picture of Ye (Catherine) Cao
Ye (Catherine) Cao, Dr

Researcher at King's College London

Ye (Catherine) Cao received a PhD in Education Research from King’s College London. She is interested in young people’s engagement with science and wider social justice in education. Her PhD research applies the lens of science capital to...

Profile picture of Xin Shao
Xin Shao, Dr

PhD Researcher at University College London

Xin Shao is a research fellow in Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities (CEPEO), University College London. Her research focuses on social mobility and the equity and equality of education.

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