LLED Roundtable: Rethinking the Foundations of Resilience and System Change

When: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 | 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Where: Ponderosa Commons Oak House, Room 2012, 6445 University Boulevard

Dr. Paul Downes, Director, Educational Disadvantage Center, Dublin City University, will open the Roundtable with a presentation, following which participants will be provided an opportunity to respond.


The first part of this presentation will highlight key limitations to current understandings of resilience of marginalized groups, as well as to understanding of system change based on Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) concentric structured, nested systems. The second part of this presentation proposes a specific model of dynamic spatial systems of relation to underpin resilience, building on a reinterpretation of Lévi-Strauss’ cross-cultural observations of contrasts between concentric and diametric spatial systems. This spatial framework seeks to reinterpret the spatial assumptions of resilience as a ‘bouncing back’ into shape. It seeks a stronger focus on transition points in relational space, moving from diametric spaces of splitting to concentric spatial relations of assumed connection across different system levels. The third section develops this proposed shift from resilient systems to inclusive systems (as concentric spatial relations) with a particular focus on early school leaving and also school bullying prevention. Issues previously treated separately, such as early school leaving and bullying prevention, can be addressed through common system responses. The issues examined are relevant both to marginalized children and youth across all education levels. Building on recent reports the author has led for the European Commission, an innovative policy framework of structural indicators to address system blockages is proposed. This policy agenda for system change draws on marginalized children’s and parents’ voices, as well as international research, while seeking to make bridges between education and health policy.

DR. PAUL DOWNES is the Director of the Educational Disadvantage Centre, Dublin City University. He has been involved in various expert advisory roles for the European Commission in social inequalities, lifelong learning, second chance education and early school leaving, as well as being an advisor to the European Commission’s School Policy Working Groups. His books include The Primordial Dance: Diametric and Concentric Spaces in the Unconscious World (2012) and Access to Education in Europe: A Framework and Agenda for System Change (2014).

Please RSVP to: mahshidghaffartehrani@outlook.com