Date: 20th May, 2024 (Monday)
Time: 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. (GMT+8)
Mode: Online (via ZOOM)
Speaker: Dr. Karen Gravett (University of Surrey)
Chair: Professor Juuso Nieminen (The University of Hong Kong)


Relational pedagogies involve thinking about relationships, connections and care in higher education. Thinking about connections is not a new idea. But what is new are the pressures upon forging connections in universities. There is a plentiful literature on the difficulties of academic life where institutions have been described as environments that are both uncaring and unhealthy. Educators are also still grappling with the impacts of the Covid pandemic, with increasing workloads, as well as engaging with new questions regarding how artificial intelligence will reorientate engagement. This session explores how we engage in meaningful connections with others. In this seminar I engage theoretical approaches, for example posthumanism, affect theory and sociomaterial concepts, to think about relational connections in new ways. I explore how thinking with theory offers us different starting points for education that positions the teacher or student as entangled within a web of relations, that includes nonhuman others, spaces and things. I suggest that thinking in new ways about relationality and connection enables us to ask different questions, and to notice our students, institutions and learning spaces anew.

About the Speaker

Dr. Karen Gravett is Associate Professor and Director of Research at the Surrey Institute of Education at the University of Surrey, UK, where her research focuses on the theory-practice of higher education, and explores the areas of student engagement, belonging, and relational pedagogies. She is Director of the Language, Literacies and Learning research group, a member of the SRHE Governing Council, and a member of the editorial board for Teaching in Higher Education, and Learning, Media and Technology. She is also a a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA) and an Honorary Associate Professor for the Centre for Assessment and Digital Learning (CRADLE) at Deakin Unversity. Karen’s work has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the Society for Research in Higher Education, the Association for Learning Development in Higher Education, the British Association for Applied Linguistics, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Her latest books are: Gravett, K. (2023). Relational Pedagogies: Connections and Mattering in Higher Education, and Kinchin, I. M. and Gravett, K. (2022). Dominant Discourses in Higher Education.

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