A quick glimpse of the Global Citizenship as Personal and Pedagogical Practice conference (June 2013)

Educating for global citizenship in higher education? Well, yes actually. Given the historical relations between pedagogy, democracy and citizenship it’s not really a surprise to find the concept of the global citizen being put to work within our 21st century curricula, even though it’s a process only just beginning … So, on this year’s CCI (Centre for Curriculum Internationalisation) agenda was the end of year ‘cherry on the cake’, a conference on Global Citizenship as Personal and Pedagogical Practice.

Spending weeks and months preparing a conference has never been so worth it. The papers and discussions were at a good level and highly interesting throughout. There was also a rich variety and diversity of presentations spanning ethics, tense dynamics between diverse constituencies in the university, and mappings of the internationalised ‘self’. This was matched by exciting differences in formats used including talks, ‘classic’ presentations, and even a dialogue comparing education for global citizenship in the university and museum. Many thanks to Lyn Bibbings from Brookes and Paul Collins from the Ashmolean for this.

At the heart of all papers was a keen awareness of the risk we get caught up in either utopian or utilitarian takes on questions and answers about citizens-in-the-making education. Furthermore, the education for global citizen project may be trivialised either as a form of intellectual imperialism or pie-in-the-sky idealism in a world in which we are all subject to the forces of global capitalism. As conference organiser, I would argue it is more nuanced to begin by thinking about the issues we are confronted with in our world, and decide what would be an appropriate response. So rather than talking about education for global citizenship, or global citizen education, we need to talk about Education as Global Citizenship. Education as getting a perspective on perspectives and as a form of action that brings humanist education and research back into the economistic logic attempting to place knowledge and learning within commodity chains of production. That is certainly one of the thoughts that prompted the topic and themes of this conference at which we all considered not only how we can break open the idea of citizens-in-the-making education, but also how, as my colleague Dianne Regisford put it, we can put the fangs on Education as Global Citizenship.

Of course, no conference is complete without its ‘social’ part which included not just a lovely dinner at the Jam Factory, but also the opportunity to ‘feel’ our Flamenco skills with a wonderful Andalusian dancer. This definitely contributed to the overall good vibes pouring out from the networking and exchange of ideas among delegates.
In case you want to know more, just go to the conference homepage where presentations can be accessed via the conference programme and abstracts found in the conference booklet.

About the author

Juliet Henderson

My position is ‘Senior Lecturer in Communication, Culture and Language’, Department of History, Philosophy and Religion, at Oxford Brookes University.

I have worked at Brookes since 2003, teaching on the undergraduate programme, supervising dissertations, and co-running an online course in Internationalisation of the Curriculum for All. I have also contributed to the PCTHE (Postgraduate Certificate for Teaching in Higher Education) as subject specialist for the internationalised curriculum. I am a founding member of CICIN (Centre for International Curriculum Inquiry and Networking).

In addition to my work at Brookes, I am External Examiner in Language and Communication at Edinburgh Napier University. I have been a fellow of the Higher Education Academy since 2008. I referee articles for Language and Intercultural Communication

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