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Widening Participation Conference 2012 - Discourses of Inclusion in Higher Education

23 April 2012 - 24 April 2012
Whittlebury Hall, Northamptonshire, UK

The Open University's Widening Participation Conference, 24-25 April 2012, UK

Cloudscape created by:

John Rose-Adams
9 January 2012

The Widening Participation Conference 2012 – Discourses of Inclusion in Higher Education builds on the success of the 2010 conference and will offer:

  • A full and varied programme of international peer-reviewed papers addressing key themes of Inclusive policy and practice and Student experiences and circumstances;
  • Workshops and collaborative sessions that bring together researchers and academics, policy makers and practitioners;
  • Keynote addresses from internationally renowned and influential speakers.
  • A range of opportunities which will facilitate the increased impact of research in inclusion, equity and widening participation.
  • An inclusive approach which supports and facilitates the presence of quality postgraduate and international research.


At a time when prevailing neo-liberal policy aims to position higher education as an economic venture and students as customers, discourses of inclusion are vital. Terms such as accesswidening participationequityequality and diversity, and lifelong learning commonly feature in discourses of inclusion related to higher education. The shifting meanings and fluid uses of these terms serve as an indication of the increasing tensions between neo-liberal economic forces and the role of higher education in modern society.

Researchers and theoristspolicy-makers and practitioners all have a voice in the diverse range of discourses of inclusion and much is still to be learned and understood from a sharing of their perspectives and experiences. As higher education systems across the world adapt to accommodate the needs of modern neoliberal society this international conference brings together these voices to consider the nature of inclusion.

The conference will examine and debate scholarly issues associated with inclusion and widening participation in higher education. It will map international perspectives on educational inclusion, report on important research findings, and develop new collaboration and joint working for the future.

Keynote speakers

Professor Trevor Gale, Professor Louise Morley and Professor Sir David Watson have been confirmed as guest speakers at the conference. Further details of these speakers can be found on this webpage.

Special Issue of Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning

A selection of peer reviewed papers from the conference will be published in a special issue of Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning in 2012.

Publishers and Editors Forum

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