We have several interesting events lined up over the coming months, with some dates for speakers yet to be confirmed. Most of our events are held in 35 Berkeley Square, Bristol and are free to attend, although for some events we do ask that you let us know you are coming, for catering purposes (please go to the GSOE Events Page to find out more and, where necessary to register and book a place for these events). Further details and new events will be posted on this page as they become available, so do check back. Hope to see you at some of our events.

Events 2014-2015

The past, present and future of research on intergroup contact and social change

Professor John Dixon, from the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Open University

( 29 January 2015, 2.30 PM Room 3.13, 35 Berkeley Square)

The ‘contact hypothesis’ proposes that interaction between members of different groups reduces intergroup prejudice and discrimination, particularly when it occurs under favourable circumstances. Since the early decades of the last century, research based on this idea has informed interventions to promote social change. In this paper, I trace the history of this enterprise, discuss its major achievements, challenges, and limitations, and consider some directions in which the field may develop in the future. In a world where globalization, migration and immigration – allied to the rise of social media and electronic communication – are bringing members of formerly isolated groups into new relations of proximity and interaction, intergroup contact is likely to remain a fundamental social psychological topic. However, if research on the contact hypothesis is to fulfil its original promise, I suggest that we now need to develop the field in a number of directions. That is, we need to: (1) acknowledge the limitations of the prejudice reduction model of social change on which most contact research is based; (2) investigate the nature and consequences of negative, instrumental and hierarchical intergroup encounters in everyday life settings; (3) pay closer attention to the contact experiences and perspectives of minority group participants; (4) understand how, when why processes of desegregation are offset by countervailing processes of (re)segregation and exclusion; and, perhaps most important, (5) reconnect research to the problems of institutional change and social justice that inspired the earliest proponents of the ‘contact hypothesis’.





Events for 2103-2014

Everyday Maths project feeds into Adult Literacy and Numeracy Report

29 September, 5pm – 6:30pm in room 4.10.

Dr Tim Jay, Dr Jo Rose and Dr Ben Simmons will be presenting a seminar on the content and preliminary findings of the Everyday Maths project “It’s helping your child experience the world”: How parents can use everyday activities to engage their children’s mathematical learning” on 29 September, 5pm – 6:30pm in room 4.10.

On UN International Literacy Day (8 September), the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Select Committee published a report recommending the Government launch a high-profile campaign to tackle the alarmingly low levels of adult literacy and numeracy in England. In light of an OECD survey of 24 countries ranking England and Northern Ireland 22nd for literacy and 21st for numeracy, the Committee also calls for a more joined-up Government approach to tackling the problem, improved funding arrangements, and better assessment and support of the literacy and numeracy needs of unemployed people. The Committee found that adults struggling most at English and maths are not getting the help and support needed. While the Government pledges free training and tuition for any adult who wishes to study English and maths up to and including GCSE level, the Committee heard that adults with the most limited English and maths skills were not aware of the support available.

The Everyday Maths project is run by The Graduate School of Educations’ Dr Tim JayDr Jo Rose and Dr Ben Simmons and feeds into the Adult Literacy and Numeracy Report ‘HC 557’. A video version of the report can be viewed online and a PDF version is also available.

The Everyday Maths project has worked with parents of primary school children, to develop their confidence around supporting their children’s mathematical learning. Parents are often not confident about helping their children with maths, either because they are not confident of their own maths knowledge, or unfamiliar with current methods used in schools, or unsure about acting as a “teacher” for their child. However, parents often use a wide range of informal mathematics in their everyday lives, but do not recognise it as such because it does not correspond to “school maths”. In the Everyday Maths project, parents attended workshops and explored the kinds of maths they used in their everyday lives, maths that was a part of activities that they did with their children, and ways of discussing this maths with their children. We will be running a seminar outlining how parents in the Everyday Maths project changed their thinking about maths over the course of the workshops, and how they worked together to develop new ways of interacting with their children about maths. At the seminar we will also launch our new publication for schools, families and policy makers which is based on the findings from the project. This project was funded by the Nuffield Foundation.

“I may not know you but I don’t like you”: Understanding and improving intergroup relations in education and beyond. 
Thursday 13 November, Dr Shelley McKeown. 12.30pm Room 121, 35 Berkeley Square.
This should be a fascinating seminar – abstract below. Shelley started at the GSoE a couple of months ago, and this is a great opportunity to hear about her work. All welcome – please circulate among your networks.
Learning how to combat ethno-religious segregation and prejudice, how to embrace diversity and how to work towards peace, represent some of the most important societal challenges facing us today. Addressing these challenges has become increasingly important, as war and conflict dominate the headlines and as ethnic tensions continue to rise in societies across the globe. 
Based on a social psychological approach, drawing from intergroup contact theory and social identity theory, the research presented in this seminar will focus on questions including: how can we explain the segregationist behaviours we observe around us and the prejudice which often accompanies it? And, in knowing this, how can we reconcile competing identities and work toward peace (through education)? 
First, I will discuss my Ph.D research which examined behavioural seating patterns in integrated schools, a further education college and a community intervention in Northern Ireland. I will then move on to discuss some of my current research on intergroup contact and identity amongst Muslims and Christians, in the UK and Canada. Finally, I will end with some ideas about what I hope to do next: including a more detailed analysis of seating behaviours and social networks, an understanding of dehumanization in education speeches and media, a movement towards the social psychology of citizenship, as well as learning and engagement amongst different ethnic groups in UK schools. 
Shelley McKeown joined the University of Bristol’s Graduate School of Education in August 2014, as Lecturer in the Psychology of Education. Shelley completed her BSc. in social psychology in 2008 followed by a Ph.D. in 2012, both at the University of Ulster. Working alongside the late Professor Ed Cairns, her Ph.D. examined the micro-ecology of religious segregation in Northern Ireland. More broadly, Shelley’s research focuses on how social psychological theories, such as social identity theory and intergroup contact theory, can be used to understand and improve intergroup relations. During her short career, Shelley has published a number of journal articles and book chapters, as well as a book on identity, segregation and peace-building in Northern Ireland, published by Palgrave. In 2014, she received an award from the British Psychological Society’s Social Psychology section for the contribution of her Ph.D to research. Shelley is a chartered member of the British Psychological Society, junior scholar committee member of the International Society of Political Psychology and executive committee member of the society for the contributions of psychology to peace.


The journey of developing an academic identity –The first-year teaching experiences and transformational process of being a Taiwanese international academic in a UK university.

Tuesday 24 November, Dr Chloe Yeh. 1pm, Room 313, 35 Berkeley Square.


Engagement in the Classroom (working title)

Thursday 27th November Room TBA 2pm-4pm 35 Berkeley Square.

How is neuroscience relevant to educational practice and policy?
Untangling the myths and the facts…

27 November 2014, 5.15pm – 7pm, Room 4.10, 35 Berkeley Square

Over 65,000 children will soon be participating in six large-scale UK
research projects aimed at implementing ideas from neuroscience in
education. At the same time, research just published by the University
of Bristol suggests an international pandemic of misunderstanding about
the brain (or “neuromyths”). This report, which received unprecedented
attention in the social media, suggests many of these ideas are
associated with poor classroom practice. So what are the neuromyths and
the neurofacts – and how can you tell them apart?

This informal and open event brings together investigators from several
of the new research projects to debunk some common neuromyths, answer
queries from teachers about the “learning brain” and explain how
schools can get involved with the new projects, including the Sci-napse ) project being coordinated by the University
of Bristol.

Alongside Dr Paul Howard-Jones, speakers include Dr Christopher-James
Harvey & Prof Colin A. Espie (University of Oxford), Dr Kaska
Porayska-Pomsta (IOE) and Professor Derek Bell.

Find out more and register here:

Please pass this information on to any colleagues who might find it of


Past Events 2013-2014

‘Inside Out: Building Social Connectedness in Schools.’ Julie Bower and AnneMarie Carroll, University of Queensland. Wednesday 2 July, 12.30pm-2pm, Room 4.10, 35 Berkeley Square. Associate Professor Annemaree Carroll and Dr Julie Bower are leading a team of researchers in partnership with disadvantaged schools in Australia to build social connectedness in schools in four ways: (1) by identifying existing school-community networks and practices; (2) by measuring connectedness in students across a range of domains (3) by working with teachers to create a common language that builds connectedness; (4) by working with students to develop social and emotional skills. Annemaree and Julie will present some of the initial findings of the project and discuss their future research directions around the role of emotions in the learning process. 

Dr. Annemaree Carroll is an Associate Professor in the School of Education at The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia and is a registered psychologist and teacher. Over the past 19 years, her research activities have focused on the self-regulatory processes of adolescent behaviour and child and adolescent emotional and behavioural difficulties. She has been particularly concerned with developing innovative multimedia methods and strategies for enhancing the engagement and motivation of at-risk children and youth to bring about positive change in their lives and was Chief Investigator on federally funded grants to develop the innovative KooLKIDS and Mindfields programs. Dr. Carroll has received over $2.9 million in research funding from external competitive funding bodies, has published 2 books and 66 internationally peer-reviewed articles, and has over 1230 citations to her work. Associate Professor Annemaree Carroll is a researcher at the Science of Learning Centre at the University of Queensland, Australia.

Dr Julie Bower is an Australian Research Council (ARC) Postdoctoral Fellow working on a Large ARC Linkage grant that examines the development of social connectedness in young people in Australia. Julie has over 28 years experience in the education sector, 18 of those working with Associate Professor Carroll in research encompassing the development of evidence-based resources such as Mindfields ( and the CAT-RPM ( Her research interests include, social and emotional wellbeing of adolescents and teachers, cognitive behavioural interventions, and strengths-based strategies for youth at-risk.

‘Working with parents in the Everyday Maths workshops’. Tim Jay, Ben Simmons and Jo Rose, GSoE, University of Bristol. A joint MBESC and MERN (Mathematics Education Research Network) seminar. Monday 29 September, 5pm-6.30pm, room TBC, 35 Berkeley Square.

This seminar presents the content and preliminary findings of the “Everyday Maths workshops” for parents. The workshops were designed to (i) help parents reflect upon and “find” the mathematics in their everyday lives, and (ii) support parents in developing conversations with their children around everyday maths, with the view of empowering parents to help their children’s mathematics learning. Workshops were run once a month in four primary schools in Southwest England (October 2013-February 2014). Parents of children aged 7-9 were invited to participate. Schools were sampled based on their differences from each other (e.g. schools varied in socioeconomic measures, ethnicity, and performance at Key Stage 2).

Preliminary findings suggest that through the workshops some parents were afforded opportunities to develop a “mathematical lens” which led them to identify the mathematical reasoning underpinning decisions and actions in everyday life. This inspired creativity insofar as parents began to initiate conversations with their children about mathematics and (for the first time) construct activities which engaged children in mathematical thinking. However, whilst some found the workshops empowering, others either struggled to grasp the concept of everyday maths and/or struggled to converse with their children about mathematics. During the seminar we will discuss the ways in which parents’ language developed and changed over the course of the workshops, and explore how the ways in which parents worked together enabled them to develop their ideas and thinking around mathematics. Implications about these outcomes will be discussed.

‘The Highs and Lows of Secondary Data Analysis Using the LSYPE.’ Liz Washbrook, Shawanda Stockfelt, and Jo Rose, GSoE, University of Bristol. October 2014, Exact date and room TBC.