Postdoctoral Fellow: April-Louise Pennant

Understanding to Overstand the education system: The educational journeys and experiences of Black British women graduates  

My PhD research critically explored the educational experiences and journeys of 25 diverse Black British women graduates. Grounded in Black Feminist Epistemology and building upon Mirza‚Äôs (1992) ground-breaking study, the graduates shared their experiential knowledge of navigating through the English education system ‚ÄĒfrom primary school until university. Using in-depth semi-structured interviewing and framed by Critical Race Theory and Bourdieu‚Äôs Theory of Practice, my research asked the following questions:

  • What are the educational journeys and experiences of Black British women graduates?
  • What roles do their families and extended networks play?
  • How do their ethnicities, cultural backgrounds and social class, along with their raced and gendered identities influence their educational experiences and journeys?
  • Should current understandings of educational ‚Äėsuccess‚Äô be redefined?

An ambition of this fellowship will be to answer these questions in a brand new book based on my doctoral thesis. In doing so this ensures the academic findings will reach a non-academic general audience. The main aim of this book will be to generate impact and engagement from a range of different audiences to assist in bettering the support within the educational experiences and journeys of Black girls and women. It will also make a significant contribution to the sociology of education, in particular, the field of educational inequalities in relation to race, ethnicity, class and gender.

As part of this fellowship, I will also be acquiring more advanced research methodological training, particularly in quantitative methods to support further research on Black women’s occupational success following on from my PhD research. I also plan to strengthen my teaching by contributing to substantive modules in education, sociology and research methods, to build my academic networks and to raise my research profile.

Twitter: @April_LouP