Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research (CHEER)


To view the recordings of CHEER events that have taken place during the last academic year, see Events Archive: 2016/17. 

Details of all upcoming CHEER events for the 2017/18 academic year in CHEER Events: 2017/18 [PDF 79.69KB]



Date: 28 March 2018
Time: 3-4pm  
Venue: Room 243, Bramber House
Speaker: Yasser Kosbar, Doctoral researcher

Exploring the Impact of Transnational Academic Mobility through Narratives and Perspectives of Egyptian Female Academics


Dr Emily Henderson


Date: 30 April 2018
Time: 5-6.30pm  
Venue: Room 104, Fulton
Speaker: Dr Emily F. Henderson, Assistant Professor, Centre for Education Studies, University of Warwick

In Two Places at Once: Time, Subjectivity and the Academic Profession - Caring reponsibilities and conference participation

Traditional constructions of academic subjectivity were (and still are) dominated by an individualistic conception of care-free academics. Although higher education institutions have in some ways adapted to counter this limited notion of what it is to be an academic, certain defining practices of the academic profession are resistant to change.

Conferences are an example of one of these practices, because the expectation of sporadic, short-term travel to different locations implicitly suggests a lack of ongoing responsibilities. While it is commonly asserted that attending conferences is not essential to progressing in an academic career, parallel discourses exist about the benefits that conferences bring, such as accessing developments in the discipline, making international contacts and disseminating research. Conferences are an under-researched area in which inequalities of access remain largely unaddressed.

The ‘In Two Places at Once’ research project explored issues of access to and participation in national and international conferences; in addition to exploring obstacles and facilitating factors affecting access to conferences, the project investigated academics’ practices of managing the often conflicting roles of carer and conference delegate while at conferences. This seminar focuses on the theorisation of time, subjectivity and academia that underpins the project, and presents findings and analysis.

* Live, remote participation available at https://adobeconnect.sussex.ac.uk/henderson

Seminar Promo: CHEER Seminar Promo: 30april2018 [PDF 94.24KB]




Date: 21 March 2018
Time: 2-3pm  
Venue: Room 214, Fulton
Speaker: Rosa Marvel, Doctoral researcher

Socioeconomic Disadvantage and Postgraduate Taught Course Decision-making Trajectories

Sarah Aiston



Date: 5 February 2018
Time: 5-6.30pm  
Venue: Room 104, Fulton
Speaker: Dr Sarah Jane Aiston, Senior Lecturer, Department of Education and Social Justice, University of Birmingham and Hon. Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong

The Silence/ing of Academic Women

Seminar Promo
Seminar Recording - There were some technical difficulties during the recording of this event resulting in the video not being live until a few minutes in, and the slides not synchronising with the audio until approx 15 mins in. You may, therefore, want to view the presentation separately/additionally to the recording until both synchronise in the recording.

See also the following blog post by Sarah for a presentation she gave of the above for and on International Women's Day, Thursday 8 March 2018:

We would like to think that universities are at the forefront of demonstrating a commitment to social justice and inclusivity. But they remain ‘bastions of male power and prestige’ (Hansard Society Commission, 1990). The underrepresentation of women in the most senior ranks and leadership positions in higher education is a global phenomenon. How and why this academic gender gap remains is complex.

In the following presentation, I will put forward a new two-part conceptual framework to help us to understand this enduring issue: the silence and silencing of academic women.

Part A of the framework refers to what I call internal silencing – the inner voice. Here I will argue that socialisation and gender stereotyping has a silencing effect for women in the academy. This inner voice can manifest itself in a myriad of ways; an unease in saying no, a lack of confidence, a lack of assertiveness and a sense that as women we should remain quiet. I will also suggest another dimension to internal silencing - silence and conformity as a strategy. Gendered societal clues guide our behaviour and decisions on how to negotiate the academic ‘space’. Internal silencing relates to silence as an ‘inner’ strategy. Academic women are consciously making the decision to remain silent, even when subjected to discriminatory comments and behaviour, so as not to jeopardise future career prospects.

Part B refers to what I call external silencing - the consequences of speaking out. When academic women do not remain silent they are in turn silenced. Examples include women not being allowed to express their views, being interrupted, having their views ‘attacked’ and having their ideas attributed to male colleagues.  Women who are not silent are positioned as aggressive, ‘bitches’, which is why asking academic women to ‘lean in’ is problematic. When women exhibit those highly prized masculine characteristics they are demonised. A further dimension to external silencing is silence by exclusion: for example, a lack of women in the most senior ranks and leadership positions, and a lack of representation on key committees and panels, particularly those related to recruitment, promotion, research, and the allocation of resources.

Micro-inequities - that is small events which are hard-to-prove, covert and often unintentional - are central to our understanding of why academic women remain silent and how academic women are silenced. The study of micropolitics is relatedly important. Micropolitics focuses on the ways in which power is exhibited, and is otherwise pertinent, in daily practices.

I will conclude that the study of micro-inequities and micro-politics provides us with an insight into why legislation, policies and initiatives are not as successful as they might be. As Morley (2006) writes, there is an elusive sense that something is going on which cannot be satisfactorily named or described.

The conceptual framework of the silenc/ing of academic women is a move towards that which cannot be named. 


Date: 15 November 2017        
Time: 10.30am-5pm 
Venue: Conference Centre, Bramber House, University of Sussex   
Keynote Speakers: Professor Valerie Hey, formerly of the University of Sussex / Professor Diane Reay, University of Cambridge / Professor Meg Maguire, King's College, London

This one-day seminar celebrated CHEER's 10th Anniversary. 

November 2017 was not only the 10th Anniversary of the founding of the Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research (CHEER) at the University of Sussex, but also the 20th Anniversary of the publication of Pat Mahoney and Christine Zmroczek’s edited collection of essays ‘Class Matters: "Working Class" Women's Perspectives On Social Class’. Two of CHEER’s founding members contributed essays to this collection: Professors Valerie Hey and Louise Morley. This anniversary seminar drew together some of the original writers, and invited newer researchers to speak back to the papers ‘in conversation’. 

Seminar Promo


Date: 19 September 2017  
Time: 10am-4.30pm
Venue: Gardner Tower, Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts
Speakers: Confirmed Sussex speakers include Professor Andrea Cornwall (Anthropology/International Development), Dr Charlotte Morris (CHEER, Education/Law, Politics & Sociology) and Dr Liz Sage (ADQE). 

Teaching in Turbulent Times: Challenges and Responses

Sponsored by CHEER, Academic Development and Quality Enhancement (ADQE), Centre for Gender Studies and School of Global Studies

How do we teach in a climate shaped by polarised politics and seismic shifts in social and educational landscapes?

Over the past year, colleagues from across Sussex and Brighton universities have met to consider precisely this. Through seminars and discussions, we’ve considered what it is to teach in a context in which Brexit and Trump have become political realities, where our own practices as an academy are under scrutiny as never before, and what role education has to play in a world characterised by ‘fake news’, ‘post-truth’ and tangible human crises.

This one-day workshop was an opportunity to bring these varied discussions together and consider how we can respond - as individual teachers and as an HE community - to the challenges our students, colleagues and Higher Education at large faces. Through a combination of open forums, invited speakers and inventive workshops, experiences were shared of these challenges and how they have been negotiated. Also considered was what could be done differently in HE if we were given the chance to re-write the rules – ideas which will then contribute to a larger project in re-imaging a university education.

Themes covered included:

  • The increase of racism/xenophobia/Islamophobia and its impact on students and staff
  • Fostering critical thinking in students
  • Encouraging students to engage with a diverse community – locally and globally
  • The growing impact of poor mental health and well-being
  • Managing a politically diverse classroom
  • Supporting students and colleagues in a discriminatory climate
  • Decolonising the curriculum – what does this mean in practice?
  • What scope is there for promoting social justice, equity and diversity through the curriculum?
  • Working with power dynamics in the classroom
  • Feminist/post-colonial/ queer pedagogies
  • How do we put theory and good intentions into practice? 



Details of all ESW seminars - and links to their recordings - can be accessed via the School's ESW Seminars web page.

To be added to our mailing list and receive news and information about CHEER and its upcoming events, please contact Emily Danvers
E: E.Danvers@sussex.ac.uk