Pedagogies of Discomfort- spaces for working with challenging conversations and topics: Call for papers

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Friday 24 June 2022

Organisers: TAG and UWE Bristol, in collaboration with BRIDGE research centre.

This symposium explores the ethics of critical pedagogy – long central to training and education approaches in youth work, social work and education for social justice. Drawing on critical pedagogy, youth work and the scope for discomforting pedagogies (Boler, 1999; Zembylas, 2015), we seek ways to (re)think anew about complex and sensitive areas of practice and everyday life. We note here that practitioners’ personal and working lives reproduce issues of inequity and thus need to be reflected upon and explored in education spaces. The event aims to draw together all those with an interest in opening up and progressing debates on how to reflect on, challenge and explore critical and sensitive issues in social justice pedagogies. This is particularly pertinent when we recognise the difficult and demanding neoliberal institutions which provide limited space and recognition for reflection and care (Bradford and Cullen, 2014).

Consideration will be given to how decisions in relation to notions of safety and discomfort should be made, and who is empowered to make these decisions. Central to this discussion will be a consideration of the purpose and significance of discomfort as a pedagogic resource.

We invite papers, provocations and workshops that explore questions including:

  • How is discomfort handled within professional training?
  • What spaces remain for critical reflection, dialogue and compassionate challenge within youth services and related fields?
  • What are the ethical implications of critical pedagogic practice in University-based professional education and other training settings?
  • What role do compassion and care have in developing critical pedagogical approaches on thorny and sensitive issues?
  • How do we handle difficult ‘emotions’ in the classroom and beyond?
  • How do identities and investments play out in the training room and to what affect?

Papers, workshops and round table formats welcome.

  • Abstract Submission Deadline: Monday 2 May 2022
  • Registration Deadline: Friday 10 June 2022
Call for papers

Abstracts should be no more than 300 words for papers and alternative formats (workshops etc). Please save your abstract with the author’s name followed by the name of the conference, and send it to along with a brief bio and contact details.

Register for the event

Register for the event by completing this form.

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