‘Contested spaces – shared places: A South African perspective’

Posted on August 17, 2015

Prof Saloshna Vandeyar, of the Department of Humanities Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Pretoria (UP), presented an invited keynote address on ‘Contested spaces – shared places: A South African perspective’, at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) in Cheshire, UK in July.

Prof Vandeyar’s main research interests are diversity education and teacher professionalism. She presented a chronological account of how ‘contested spaces – shared places’ have played out in the South African educational context. She traced how the historical, political, social and educational contexts in South Africa created and determined shared places. 

She drew on findings from a range of research projects conducted over the past fifteen years that utilised the meta-theoretical framework of social constructivism and the methodological framework of qualitative case studies and narrative inquiry.  

She explained that the findings from this collection of research studies revealed that, in the creation and evolution of shared spaces (although activated by political, social and educational policy intent that was good and at times exceptional), ‘knowledge in the blood’ coupled with a passion for power, caused policy-in-action to transform these shared spaces into largely contested spaces.

She concluded with a note of optimism that, intriguingly, ‘sparks of goodness’ emerged within these spaces that hold the promise for a brighter future.

Her presentation was overwhelmingly well received and has led to further collaborative initiatives with MMU, one of which is a joint application for funding from the European Union (EU) for a project on equality, human rights and democratic change within civil society organisations. Prof Vandeyar’s research focusses on cosmopolitan, intercultural and social justice education.


- Author Myan Subryan

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