Inaugural Lecture - Professor Liz Atkins

On November 27th 2019, Professor Liz Atkins gave her inaugural lecture at the University of Derby, titled 'Tales of (in) justice: researching vocational education, changing lives.'

'Tales of (in) justice: researching vocational education, changing lives'

Inaugural lectures are held in order to commemorate an academic’s appointment to a full professorship or joining the institution as a full professor. The inaugural lecture provides a platform for the academic to present the body of research that they have been focusing on during their career. 

Taking place during November's Social and Education Policy research week, Professor Liz Atkins' inaugural lecture provided insights into issues surrounding the education of low attaining youth, and their implications for social justice.

Throughout her career, Professor Atkins has been concerned with the educational lives of a specific group of marginalised young people: those with very low attainment who are seeking to navigate transitions to work through low-level vocational education programmes, and whose lives are characterised by multiple forms of social exclusion.

In this lecture, Professor Atkins draws on ancient and contemporary literature to position social justice as a form of ethics and morality, drawing comparisons with a range of social, political and ideological conceptions of social justice. She explores how these are utilised in relation to this group of young people and how they play out in education policy. The lecture discusses the social justice implications of conducting research which impacts on the educational lives of young people, but which is, by its very nature, inequitable, and some of her personal challenges in enacting social justice in this context. Professor Atkins also shares her current research at Guernsey College, and the way that seeks to resolve some of the challenges inherent in ‘making’ social justice.

A full recording of Professor Atkins' Inaugural is available to watch online. Please click this link to view - Professor Liz Atkins' Inaugural Lecture.