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£2.2 million funding secured for Decolonising Education for Peace in Africa (DEPA)


Announced as part of a £147m package of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding, The Open University, lead by Professor Parvarti Rhaguram has received £2.2million to fund the Decolonising Education for Peace in Africa (DEPA) project. Projected outcomes will include the development of training for educators using decolonised learning pedagogy and content.

Funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), DEPA is a multi-disciplinary, collaborative project, operating across Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe and the UK. The project will, over the course of four years, explore knowledges and values underpinning peace and consider how these can be connected and compared across countries. A key aspect will be the provision of new data based on Arts and Humanities methodologies on how peace is understood within displaced and marginalised communities.

The project aims to explore how African knowledges and beliefs can decolonise pedagogies around how peace is taught and incorporated into education in Africa. Taking a deliberate emancipatory approach; researchers, community workers and communities that have experienced conflict will connect to produce state of the art knowledge.

Professor Parvati Raghuram will lead from the School of Geography, working alongside partners from Coventry University, Durham University, Lancaster University, Midlands State University, Zimbabwe, Makerere University, Uganda, Pan African Development Education and Advocacy Programme, Nigeria, Uganda, UKA, University of Abuja, Nigeria, and University of South Africa, South Africa.

Professor Ian Fribbance, Executive Dean of FASS said: “I’m absolutely delighted to see Parvati building on an established track record of funding successes for FASS. Undertaking this kind of research, surrounded by prestigious international partners and emancipatory in its intentions is absolutely rooted in the OU mission.”

Key to the first phase of the project is connecting across the partner countries. Four proof of concept projects will run in Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe where local project teams will work in a diverse range of context and with a range of groups from Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps to refugee settlements, faith-based groups and communities in all four countries. All the research, networking and knowledge exchange across these proof of concept projects is to inform the second stage of the project, which will see the commissioning of 15 additional research projects.

Participatory Arts and Humanities research methods will be used to learn from local peace practices. Using co-design and co-production we will establish a network of researchers to refine a conceptual and methodological framework that explores the meanings and mechanisms of peace in different contexts.

November 2020

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