Past Event

Sussex Development Lectures

Why embracing uncertainty means rethinking schooling pedagogies

7 April 2022 17:00–18:30

IDS Convening Space and Zoom

Children and young people are engaged with contradictions and tensions, and ethical and existential questions, in their everyday lives. They are already grappling with many uncertainties, including the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change. This Sussex Development Lecture will explore the power dynamics of supporting students to negotiate uncertainties in their lives through their schooling experiences.

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This lecture will discuss the imperative of engaging with uncertainty in schooling. It will locate contemporary global models of education within the modernist development discourse of the linear, colonial and technocratic. The discussion will focus on research which explores transformational possibilities for uncertainty in schools and informal education contexts in the Global South and North.  It will outline different models of education asserting the need for the inclusion of an alternative model that opens-up decolonial spaces for doing, knowing and being differently.

The speakers will suggest four key areas for educators to consider: 

  1. The use of creative-deliberative ‘uncertain pedagogies’ for opening spaces to register uncertainty in multiple ways. 
  2. The importance of verification of what might be known. 
  3. An emphasis on ‘hope-in-the-present’, rather than working with utopian futurity, that attends to what is loved and worth preserving, as well what might be transformed.
  4. A widening focus on ‘world-centred education’ (Biesta, 2021), in which desires are interrupted to draw attention beyond the immediacy of everyday individuated lives. 


  • Dr Rebecca Webb, Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth, University of Sussex
  • Dr Perpetua Kirby, Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth, University of Sussex


  • Dr Sean Higgins, Lecturer in International Education and Development, University of Sussex

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Covid-19 protocol

Anyone attending this event in person will be required to wear a facemask (unless medically exempt) during the event, and is encouraged to take a lateral flow test prior to coming in to the IDS Building. If your test is positive, or if you are feeling unwell or have any Covid-19 symptoms, please do not come in.

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