Current Projects

The Centre is currently engaged in research covering the following themes:

  • Race Equality and Higher Education
  • Minority and Migrant Women’s Activism against Austerity
  • Teacher Education, Equity and Anti-discrimination
  • Poverty and Ethnicity in Britain

‘Creating transformative partnerships: Making spaces for tackling childhood and youth inequalities’ (2015-16)

Funder: Carnegie Research Incentive Grant and a University of Edinburgh CHSS Challenge Investment Fund

Lead: Dr Marlies Kustatscher (Co-PI), Dr Kristina Konstantoni (Co-PI)
Co-Is and academic advisors: Dr Akwugo Emejulu, Prof John Davis, and Liam Cairns.

This interdisciplinary research project has been initiated by a group of ten young people (aged 10-18) and involves them as co-researchers in a small-scale participatory action research. The research seeks to examine a) young peoples’ views and experiences of intersectional discrimination in their schools and local communities and ways of tackling discriminatory practices, and b) the processes by which meaningful and transformative partnerships (between interdisciplinary researchers, young people, organisations and practitioners) can be established with the aim to effect change in the young people’s lives.

The project is located against the backdrop of an increased emphasis on questions of research impact and social change, and on children and young people’s participation in research, policy and practice, driven by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC, 1989). Participation is complex and the challenge is to ensure that it is meaningful, comprehensive and not tokenistic, and involves young people at all stages of a research project (from research design to analysis and dissemination). The project is particularly timely due to the multiple and intersecting experiences of discrimination that young people face in the current social and political climate of austerity, growing inequalities and rising anti-immigration sentiments.


Initial Teacher Education and EAL Learners

Lead: Dr Yvonne Foley (PI)

Funder: The Bell Foundation and Unbound Philanthropy

This project aims to explore provision for student teachers in England who are working with pupils learning EAL. It will explore to what extent teacher educators feel prepared to extend the knowledge base, skills and practices of student teachers as they seek to meet the needs of EAL learners. The project blends research and practice to develop modules for trainee teachers and teacher educators with the long-term aim of these professional learning materials being adopted by education providers. Data will be collected in the form of tutor interviews, student-teacher focus group interviews and online questionnaires.

The project will run from 2014 to 2017.


Audit of Complementary Schools in Scotland

Funder: CHSS Knowledge Exchange and Impact Grant

Lead: Dr Andy Hancock

This project is aiming to gather information about complementary schools and community language schools across Scotland, with a particular focus on the ways in which these schools help to support the Scottish Government’s 1+2 Language Strategy. Data will be gathered through an online questionnaire and follow-up interviews. The project seeks to develop a more complete picture of complementary language education provision in Scotland, including the type of languages taught and qualifications on offer. The study will update on findings reported by Joanna McPake (2006).


UNESCO Connecting Cultures (Oman) and Moray House School of Education Memorandum of Understanding – with CERES Co-Director Pete Allison

The University of Edinburgh has entered into a formal relationship with Connecting Cultures, a unique educational initiative that takes young European and Arab leaders into the Omani desert to facilitate Euro-Arab intercultural dialogue. The University recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Connecting Cultures, which styles itself as a ‘university of the desert’.

The initiative is led by Mark Evans MBE (founder of Connecting Cultures) and Pete Allison of The University of Edinburgh (Moray House School of Education) and Co-Director of CERES.

Connecting Cultures is recognised by the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC) as one of the world’s leading and most innovative civil society projects addressing the issue of intercultural dialogue between young people, and is a gift to UNESCO from the government of Oman.

Mark Evans MBE, founder of Connecting Cultures, and executive director of Outward Bound Oman stated that “working with one of the world’s leading academic institutions enables us to add yet more value to what is an already powerful initiative. The hardest question to answer when talking about Connecting Cultures is ‘does it make a difference’; we hope our partnership with Edinburgh will help us both quantify and demonstrate that it does. We look forward to working closely with Dr Allison”.

Dr Pete Allison, who is the leader of the work at the University said “this is a great opportunity for us to collaborate with a leading organisation doing progressive and creative work to make a difference in the long term of relations between European and middle eastern countries”.

Pete Allison will take a six week sabbatical in January to spend six weeks in Oman undertaking research with Connecting Cultures. At that time there will be a MoU signing in Muscat. Pete is researching Connecting Cultures and one PHD student in the USA (Indiana University) is currently researching Connecting Cultures (advised by Pete Allison). Research plans include conceptual work and empirical work on the theories and practices of the Connecting Cultures programme and contributions to cross cultural dialogue.

For more information see:

Connecting Cultures website

Dr Pete Allison personal profile page


‘Non-Muslim’ and Muslim youth: religious identities, Islmophobia and everyday geopolitics.

Lead: Professor Peter Hopkins (University of Newcastle), Dr Gurchathen Sanghera (University of St. Andrews)  and CERES Co-Director Dr Rowena Arshad

Funder: AHRC

This novel project has four interrelated aims:

  1. To explore the issue of Islamophobia in relation to the experiences of ‘non-Muslim’ and Muslim youths (aged 12-25) in Scotland who are targeted because they look Muslim (Alexander, 2004) and to explain how different religious, ethnic and minoritised youth experience and understand Islamophobia, the impact of this on community relations, social cohesion and integration.
  2. To analyse these experiences within a framework that takes cognisance of the intersectionality of ethnicity with other relevant positionalities such as religion, gender, social class and locality (e.g. Hopkins, 2009; Mohammad 2001; Sanghera and Thapar-Bjorkert 2007).
  3. To detail how young people understand and negotiate ‘everyday geopolitics’.
  4. To problematise polarised discourses which see young people as either politically disengaged and apathetic or politically radicalised and extreme.

The project will run from March 2013 until February 2016

You can find out more about project the by visiting the website here

Access the Executive Summary and Full Report below:

Executive Summary

Download (PDF, 4.18MB)

Full Report

Download (PDF, 1.82MB)


Minority Women’s Activism in Tough Times

Lead: CERES Co-Director Dr Akwugo Emejulu with Leah Bassel, University of Leicester

Funder: British Academy Small Grant Scheme

This project seeks to explore the challenges and opportunities of grassroots activism in times of austerity in the UK and France. Working with four non-governmental organisation networks in the UK and France, the project will explore how these organisations mobilise against the challenges facing minority women as well as how these women are organising within NGOs in the context of the economic crisis. Understanding the influence of austerity measures on activism for gender and racial justice will generate valuable insights into the ‘views from below’ in relation to austerity and fill an important knowledge gap in terms of understanding the political behaviour of minority women in public spaces in what are considered to be ‘opposite’ contexts in their treatment of diversity.

Visit the project website here.