Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research (CHEER)

Critical Perspectives on Transitions Into, Through and Beyond Higher Education

On Monday 15 October, CHEER co-hosted the 'Critical Perspectives on Transitions into, through and beyond Higher Education' conference with the Centre for Teaching and Learning Research (CTLR). The one-day conference, held at Brighton's Jubilee Public Library, was attended by a diverse audience of around 60 delegates, including from research, teaching, widening participation and wide practitioner backgrounds. Conference participants came from Sussex, across the UK, and internationally including from Spain, Chile and Australia.

The Conference included two keynote presentations from Dr Sarah O’Shea, Associate Professor in Adult, Vocational and Higher Education, University of Woolongong, Australia on ‘Older and First: Navigating the transitions of older students who are the first in their family to attend university’; and Dr Richard Waller, Associate Professor in Sociology and Education, from The University of the West of England, UK, on ‘Critical Perspectives on Transitions into, through and beyond Higher Education: Learning from the paired peers project’.

Key emergent themes from discussion throughout the day included the ways in which the capitals that different students bring to University are valued, the perception of deficit as lying with students rather than institutions themselves, and the persistence yet often unacknowledged significance of class.

Much of the thinking behind the day was done by doctoral researchers Wendy Ashall, Yasser Kosbar and Rosa Marvell who led a thought-provoking question/discussion session after lunch designed to raise some of the more challenging questions.

Rosa MarvellRosa Marvell:
"I felt part of a broader conversation about the more inclusive topography of Higher Education we would like to see which transcended the imposed boundaries between disciplines, sectors and geographies."

Yasser Kosbar




Yasser Kosbar:
"The idea of submitting an abstract and talking in public about my research at this early stage used to terrify me. This time, it was different. I felt confident to stand in public and share with others what I have learned so far."

Wendy Ashall


Wendy Ashall:
"The  opportunity it provided to learn from others working in similar areas, albeit in other sectors, made it clear to me that we would all benefit – in terms of research, policy and practice – from more regular cross-sector conversations."



The day received positive feedback from attendees, including the following submitted by Ruth Bowles, Academic Skills Consultant, Careers and Employability Centre, University of Sussex:

"I really enjoyed the event yesterday. Lots of ideas and stimulating discussions. I feel very inspired by all the interesting research that is being carried out."

'Transitions' Programme [PDF 460.16KB]