Mobilities, Transitions, Transformations

Audrey OSLER

University College of Southeast Norway & University of Leeds

Dr Audrey Osler is Professor of Education at the University College of South East Norway and at the University of Leeds, where she founded the Centre for Citizenship and Human Rights Education. Her research addresses human rights, social justice, and democratic citizenship education policy and practice, in established democracies and post-conflict societies. She has a long-standing interest in the place of narrative and life history in education research and practice and her PhD (published as The Education and Careers of Black Teachers – 1997, Open University Press) examined the contribution of minority teachers to transformative education. She has held professorships and visiting professorships at universities in Europe, the U.S. and East Asia. In 2015 she was awarded an invitation research fellowship by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). Audrey Osler acts as expert to a number of international bodies, including Council of Europe, European Commission and UNESCO.

Professor Osler has published over 120 scientific articles and 19 books. Her most recent book Human Rights and Schooling: an ethical framework for teaching about social justice is published by Teachers College Press, New York in Spring 2016. Other key publications include Students’ Perspectives on Schooling (2010, Open University Press) and Teachers and Human Rights Education (2010, Trentham/IOE Press). Her book Changing Citizenship: Democracy and Inclusion in Education (2005, Open University Press/ McGraw Hill, with Hugh Starkey) has been translated into both Japanese (2009, Keiso Shoboo, Tokyo) and Mandarin (2013, McGraw-Hill Asia)



Realizing equity in schools: the possibilities of a human rights framework


Across the globe, a common educational policy goal within democratic nation-states is the strengthening of democracy and human rights. Yet recent developments in Europe, including responses to the arrival of large numbers of refugees and asylum-seekers, reveal a significant gap between human rights rhetoric and human rights practice across the continent. The fall-out from the Brexit vote is a reminder of the fragility of democracy and the dangers of populism. It is also a reminder of the limitations and possible weaknesses of education, including citizenship education and intercultural education, when citizens are confronted with fear-mongering, prejudice, misinformation, scapegoating, xenophobia and racism. In this keynote address, I discuss the political context in which we are working and the need to renew our efforts to promote equity and justice through schooling. I will argue that intercultural/multicultural education needs to be strengthened by an explicit human rights framework. I will further argue that our scholarship in this field also needs to be strengthened and I will explore the potential of drawing on postcolonial theory to support us in achieving our goals.