Project Zulu Research Seminar

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The Department of Education and Childhood Presents: The Bristol Inter-disciplinary Group for Education Research (BRIDGE)

Project Zulu Research Seminar 2nd April 2019 — 5pm – 7pm — Room 2S704 , Frenchay.

Project Zulu is a UWE educational development initiative which works with partner schools in township and rural areas of Kwazul-Natal, South Africa. Collaborations between school communities in SA and UWE staff and students seek ways of enhancing infrastructure, pedagogy and learning opportunities through knowledge exchange, action research and practical support. The three research projects presented in this seminar have developed over the last three years and are based on such collaborations.

Dr Alex Palombi and Vanessa Parmenter LD Nursing and Occupational Therapy collaboration at township SEN school

Over the last two years, learning difficulties nursing and occupational therapy students have volunteered for 4 weeks within a special educational needs (SEN) school within Madadeni Township in South Africa as part of Project Zulu. This research used five semi structured interviews and a focus group to explore the impact of Project Zulu on the health and social care students’ professional learning, and on the participating SEN school’s teachers and principal. Transcripts of the interviews and focus group are to be thematically analysed to explore the nature of the learning derived from this experience and the extent to which teachers and principals view the project as a partnership and the extent to which their mutual learning. Initial findings indicate mutual perceived value in cross cultural learning and useful professional develop alongside managing concerns about sustainability and measuring value.

Dr Jane Carter and Karan Vickers-Hulse Reading Partner intervention at two rural South African primary schools

This project builds on current RET funding (An evaluation of the Bristol Reading Partner (BRP) Intervention) and the work to pilot BRP in two of the UWE Project Zulu (PZ) partnership schools. South Africa was the lowest performing country (out of 50 participating countries) in reading in the Progress in International Reading Study (PIRLS 2016) and is the priority area of the PZ schools’ Principals. In Feb 2019 we trained teachers in the pilot schools in the BRP intervention programme; PZ UWE student volunteers will be trained in BRP in March 2019 and will work 1:1 with children in the two pilot schools in KwaZulu Natal in August. This work will also add to the body of data and knowledge we have about BRP and EAL learners.

Dr David Wyatt and Ben Knight ICT project at a rural South African primary school

This three year ICT intervention project at one rural primary school in South Africa aimed to enable integrated ICT learning for pupils. Actions at strategic, infrastructure and teacher digital literacy levels were implemented over three phases and evaluated via teacher questionnaires and a focus group interview. Findings highlight the opportunities and challenges of managing international sustainable enhancement projects, and illustrate the critical role teachers play in pupil skills development and the importance of investing in their digital literacy.


This event is free to attend but pre-registration is required. Register here to book your place. 

Is it time you joined the Revolution?

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The death toll from Bangladesh’s worst industrial accident has passed 1,000 as recovery teams continue to find more bodies in the wreckage.

 …. so read the BBC’s news in May 2013. The collapse of the Rana Plasa garment factory in Bangladesh shook the world with images of the disaster broadcast around the globe. A spot light was focused, not on the high street or cat walk, but on the working conditions of the people who actually make our clothes. Those usually not considered -invisible to the consumer – were brought into focus through the mass media.

In response, Fashion Revolution was born; a global movement calling for greater transparency, sustainability and ethics in the fashion industry. The movement looks to encourage changes to the way our clothes are sourced, produced and purchased, so that we can be confident that what we wear has been made in a safe, clean and fair way.

Five years on from the Rana Plaza disaster and things are changing. The Bangladesh Accord has seen over 200 brands in 20  countries sign up to this legally binding agreement between brands, retailers and trade unions – designed to build a safe and healthy environment for garment workers. Films such as The True Cost have been broadcast to raise awareness and inform consumers of the working conditions many garment workers suffer. Consumers are making more informed decisions about what they buy.

However we have a long way to go.

The Garment Worker Diaries highlight just some of the stories from around the 75 million garment workers worldwide – a majority of these people makes clothes for the global market and are still living in poverty, unable to afford life’s basic necessities. Many are subject to exploitation; verbal and physical abuse, working in unsafe and dirty conditions, with very little pay.

Each year 150 billion items of clothing are delivered out of factories yet Americans alone throw away over 36 kg of clothing each year per person – a vast majority of this going to either a landfill or an incinerator. At the same time, traditional craft industries are being eroded, due in large part to mass manufacturing. Ancient techniques that have been handed down from generation to generation are being lost.

If that wasn’t bad enough, don’t forget that every piece of clothing also has a wider environmental impact. The chemicals used to grow, dye, launder and treat our clothes end up polluting land, rivers and oceans. A huge amount of water is used to produce garments through growing cotton, dyeing and laundering.  In fact, it’s estimated that we need 1,800 gallons of water to make just one pair of jeans.

With such demands, the global necessity for continued work towards change in the fashion industry is brought into focus through the Sustainable Development Goals. Just as the very fibers of our clothing are woven together, so too are the issues; from the female dominated workforce denied an education and fair pay, to garment factories working towards closed loop systems with zero waste, to those working in partnerships with artisans who deliver goods that are kind to both land and sea. Responsible consumption and production are needed.

With this in mind, last year I worked with Prof. Ian Cook (Exeter University) to further raise awareness of the issues Fashion Revolution work towards bringing into focus. We developed a free online course that we hoped would allow people to think through the journeys the clothes in their own wardrobes had made.

We were blown away when over 8,000 people signed up for our three week MOOC (mass online open course) which was supported by the FutureLearn platform. Working as a global learning community we supported participants to become clothes detectives and  unearth the secret stories the fabrics from their wardrobes hold.  As June 25th 2018 approaches we once again ready ourselves for the course to launch its second year.

As an educator, it is so exciting to work with a truly global class about real issues that have a real impact and can be taught at primary, secondary, further and higher education level. We hope you can join us on this year’s course.

Please sign up here or contact me if would like further information.

What people said about the 2017 course:

I have loved every second of this course! It was vastly different from most courses I have taken, both online and offline, because it was interactive on an emotional and intellectual level, instead of being a purely mental task and as a result I enjoyed it far more. I will recommend this course to absolutely anyone, it is incredibly supportive, thought-provoking and provides a fantastic atmosphere for learning.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed this course and want to thank everyone involved for presenting such an important subject in an engaging way. You left us with a lot to think about and I have planned how to take my pledge forward at work so it will go on having an impact past the course end date.
Thank you again, and good luck with the #class of 2018 when you repeat this programme.

Dr Verity Jones, Senior Lecturer in Global and Sustainable Education

Twitter: @VerityJones_edu