Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research (CHEER)

Knowledge Exchange

Experts' Meeting, University of Seville: 23 November 2017 (Intercambio de Personas Expertas Sobre la Equidad en la Educación Superior)

Dr Mayte Padilla-Carmona and Dr José González-Monteagudo organised a very successful meeting in which experts from the University of Seville, NGOs, ministries and civil society were briefed about the aims and findings from the HEIM project - with particular reference to the Spanish context. The meeting was attended by international HEIM team members Louise Morley, Paul Roberts, Daniel Leyton and Radoslav Kuzmanov.

The HEIM film, Gypsy Roma Traveller (GTR) Communities: Accessing Higher Education has been translated into Spanish by the HEIM team in Seville and was shown, followed by discussions and the identification of main points for future action. These included the need to forge stronger links between universities and Roma organisations, and to investigate what structured support could be provided to encourage and enable Roma students to enter and succeed in higher education in Spain, eg. affirmative action programmes.

Action points agreed on included:
  • Organising meetings with Roma students in the University to deepen trajectories and identify the difficulties or barriers they experience. This information could inform guidance plans in every school or faculty.
  • Promoting case studies of Roma students and graduates to raise aspirations for young people who might be considering attending higher education. This would entail involvement with Roma families and children from the nursey stage, and should have a particular focus on marginalised and disadvantaged communities.
  • Designing specific measures within guidance plans to target Roma students at university in collaboration with pro-Roma associations.
  • Integrating new actions carried out by NGOs targeting Roma students in already-existing programmes for the promotion of co-existence in secondary schools.
  • Developing joint projects between academics and pro-Roma associations, eg. under the current funding scheme for cooperative actions.
  • University of Seville to get involved in a programme for Roma women carried out in a secondary school in a disadvantaged area of Seville.
  • Requesting the establishment of a special quota from regional government for Roma students wanting to access higher education using HEIM findings for reference.

The HEIM team at the University of Seville will keep in touch with attendees and support the instigation of changes to promote access to and the achievement of Roma students in higher education.

Panellists Tanja Jovanovic (Sussex) & Kealey Sly (Leicestershire G.A.T.E.) reflect on studying in Higher EducationPanellists Tanja Jovanovic (Sussex) & Kealey Sly (Leicestershire Gypsy and Traveller Equality) reflect on studying in Higher Education Experts' Meeting
Including Gypsies Roma and Travellers in Higher Education

On 12 July 2017, CHEER held an Experts' Meeting to discuss the inclusion of Gypsy, Roma and Travellers (GRT) in UK Higher Education (HE). 23 people attended, including members of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in the UK and Europe, academics, policymakers eg. Universities UK, and colleagues who develop and implement Widening Participation policies in UK universities. 

HEIM Experts' Meeting participantsThe meeting began with the showing of a film, commissioned by the HEIM project, about Gypsy, Roma and Travellers (GRT) in Higher Education. This was  responded to by Kealey Sly from Leicestershire Gypsy and Traveller Equality, and Tanja Jovanovic, CHEER Doctoral Researcher at the University of Sussex, who shared their experiences of studying as Gypsy and Roma students, the exclusions they faced, and what they think universities need to do to better support GRT inclusion. 

Action points were then discussed to take back to the respective organisations and institutions. These included:

  • Listing GRT students more prominently as a target group for widening participation initiatives.
  • Setting up a local forum of key stakeholders in Sussex to discuss how schools, local authorities and universities can better work together on this issue.
  • Including knowledge and awareness training for colleagues working in widening participation and promoting GRT inclusion on relevant professional mailing lists.
  • Embedding GRT issues and knowledge within school and university curricula.
  • Creating case studies of GRT graduates as a form of awareness raising for young people who might be considering attending HE.
  • Working with diversity champions in our own institutions to ensure GRT is on their agenda.
  • Looking at how international study abroad opportunities could be better promoted to marginalised groups in higher education, including GRT.
  • Linking existing advocacy groups (e.g. the Advisory Council for the Education of Romany and other Travellers) with All Party Parliamentary Groups to instigate policy change.

The HEIM team at the University of Sussex plans to keep in touch with attendees and offer support to instigate changes to promote the access and achievement of GRT students in higher education.

Supporting International Staff at the University of Sussex

A workshop took place in July 2017 with the HEIM team (Morley, Morris and Roberts) and Human Resources (HR) professionals working across the University of Sussex. We presented the HEIM project’s findings on Internationalisation and the Training Module and discussed what measures were in place to support international staff at Sussex and how these could be strengthened. The Checklist in the Training Module provided information about what HR can to do differently. Human Resources will now use the Training Module as part of their support for the many international staff at Sussex.

Expert Meeting, King’s College, London

On 3 May 2017, Dr Emily Danvers attended an expert meeting at King's College, London as part of commissioned research into young Gypsy, Roma and Travellers in Higher Education. The project cited the influence of HEIM research in their initial scoping literature review. Colleagues from King’s College attended the HEIM Impact Seminar in May 2016 and were inspired to take action as a consequence. It is exciting to see further work that investigates how best to support Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities to access higher education opportunities in the UK, and to know that the HEIM Project is having an impact. This research is now available.

Cafe presenters Tanja Jovanovic, Dr Emily Danvers and Dr Tamsin Hinton-SmithCentre for International Education (CIE) Research Café
Presenters Tanja Jovanovic, Dr Emily Danvers and Dr Tamsin Hinton-Smith

On 23 February 2017, CHEER members, Dr Tamsin Hinton-Smith, Dr Emily Danvers and Tanja Jovanovic presented a Research Café seminar for the Sussex Centre for International Education (CIE). Roma Students' Experiences in European Higher Education: Exploring Gender, Identity and Marginalisation [PPTX 5.76MB] provided details of the presenters' research on Roma women for the HEIM Project to MA students and departmental colleagues. The research has been published in:

  • Hinton-Smith, T. & Danvers, E. (2017). Identity and Belonging: Researching Roma Women in Higher Education.’ In Morley, L. (Ed.) (2017) Europa World of Learning Special Edition on Gender and Access to and Participation in Higher Education. Routledge: London. 
  • Hinton-Smith, T, Danvers, E. & Jovanovic, T. (2017). Roma women’s higher education participation: whose responsibility? Gender and Education. DOI: 10.1080/09540253.2016.1274386.

Tanja Jovanovic presentsTanja Jovanovic presents at Roma and Traveller Identity Now Conference: 17 September 2016

CHEER Doctoral Researcher, Tanja Jovanovic, presented details of CHEER's research project 'Higher Education, Internationalisation and Mobility' and the HEIM film at the 'Roma and Traveller Identity Now Conference 2016' in London on Saturday 17 September, hosted by the Advisory Council for the Education of Romany and other Travellers (ACERT). Other presenters included members of the Romany Traveller Family History, members of Friends Family and Travellers, and individual Travellers talking about their experiences.

Including Roma Communities in European Higher Education

On May 19 2016, CHEER - along with its partners the Roma Education Fund and the Universities of Umeå (Sweden) and Seville (Spain) - hosted an impact event for the HEIM research project: Including Roma Communities in European Higher Education: Celebrating Successes and Identifying Challenges. Speakers included:

  • Professor Nafsika Alexiadou: Umeå University, Sweden
  • Dr Stela Garaz: Roma Education Fund, Budapest, Hungary
  • Dr Tamsin Hinton-Smith: CHEER, University of Sussex, UK
  • Ms Tanja Jovanovic: CHEER, University of Sussex, UK
  • Dr Andrzej Mirga: Chair of the Roma Education Fund, Budapest, Hungary
  • Professor Louise Morley: Director of CHEER, University of Sussex, UK
  • Dr Ciprian Necula: State Secretary, Ministry of European Funds, Romania
  • Dr Mayte Padilla-Carmona: Universidad de Sevilla, Spain
  • Professor John Pryor: CHEER, University of Sussex, UK
  • Mr Paul Roberts, Doctoral School, University of Sussex, UK

The major change intervention was that participants from Widening Participation Units in UK universities undertook to include Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Communities in their professional priorities.

Representatives from the Widening Participation Team, King’s College London, were inspired by this event to commission research on Gypsy, Roma and Travellers in UK Higher Education.

Including Roma Communities in European Higher Education: 19 May 2016

The Roma Community in the UK: 15 June 2015

CHEER hosted a panel discussion at the University of Sussex entitled 'Celebrations and Challenges: The Roma Community in the UK'. Speakers included Dr Annabel Tremlett from the University of Portsmouth,  Dr Aidan McGarry from the University of Brighton, and Lucie Fremlova also from the University of Brighton. The event was hosted by CHEER Doctoral Researcher, Tanja Jovanovic, and was attended by representatives from Roma NGOs, including the 'Friends, Families and Travellers' local group. Guests also included visitors from the Roma Education Fund.

II Jornada Educativa para la población gitana (II Educational Workshop for Roma people), Madrid: 15 June 2015

Dr Mayte Padilla-Carmona from the Universidad de Sevilla, Spain, was invited to participate in a conference on the 'Education of Roma People' organised by the Ministry of Social Affairs in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. Mayte's presentation focused on the WP4 report from the HEIM project.

European Researchers' Night 2015, Seville, Spain: 25 September 2015

The HEIM team from Seville was invited by the University of Seville to present results of the project in the Corner Europeo | ¿Qué sabes de la etnia gitana? Trayectorias científicas de gitanos y gitanas (European Corner: What do you know about Roma? Scientific trajectories of Roma men and women), 25 September 2015. FAKALI, a civil pro-Roma women association, participated in the organisation and exhibition. 

The Roma in European Higher Education: Internationalising Opportunity Structures

In December 2015, CHEER presented a symposium at the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE)'s Annual Research Conference: Converging Concepts in Global Higher Education Research: Local, National and International Perspectives, 9-11 December 2015, Celtic Manor, Newport, Wales. Under the overarching theme: The Roma in European Higher Education: Internationalising Opportunity Structures, CHEER members presented the following papers:

  • Internationalisation in Higher Education: Theorising Equity and Exclusions
    Professor Louise Morley and Professor John Pryor, CHEER, University of Sussex, UK
  • The Roma in Spanish Higher Education: A Case Study of Successful Trajectories 
    Teresa Padilla-Carmona, José González-Monteagudo and Alejandro Soria-Vílchez, University of Seville, Spain
  • The Link between Socio-Economic Background, Field of Studies, and Employability of Ethnic Roma Students in Europe 
    Dr Stela Garaz, Roma Education Fund, Budapest, Hungary
  • The Roma in Serbian Higher Education: Enablers and Barriers
    Tanja Jovanovic, CHEER, University of Sussex, UK
  • Roma Women and Higher Education: Gender, Identity, Belonging and Responsibility
    Dr Tamsin Hinton Smith, Emily Danvers and Tanja Jovanovic, CHEER, University of Sussex, UK 

Policy Briefings and Submissions

HEIM has provided a written submission to the UK House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee inquiry into ‘Tackling Inequalities faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Communities’. The submission included strategies for the inclusion of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Communities in Higher Education.

Following participation by Universities UK in the July Experts' Meeting held at Sussex, the UK HEIM team was invited to send a project briefing to the Office for Fair Access (OFFA). OFFA is very keen to learn more about how to enhance Gypsies, Roma and Traveller communities' access to higher education in the UK, and plans to invite HEIM to do an OFFA topic briefing.