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Social Sciences

Young People on the Global Stage: their education and influence (YPOGS)

1 April 2016 - 30 September 2016

PI/s in Exeter: Dr Fran Martin

Research partners: Tide Global Learning with EU partners

Funding awarded: €56351

Sponsor(s): EuropeAid

About the research

Research Question: In what ways do intercultural factors affect how a group of teachers work together when looking at questions about global issues of hunger, poverty and sustainability?

Project description

The YPOGS project focuses on three global issues of hunger, poverty and sustainability.  This connects to the fields of development education, and global citizenship education. Recent research in these fields has raised a number of questions about pedagogies that are best suited to the development of knowledge, understanding & action relevant to various global issues, questions about ethical approaches to teaching and learning about global issues, and questions about perspectives on whose knowledge ‘counts’ and whose perspectives are drawn on when learning about these issues.

This research focuses on the question of how teachers might work together across different cultures to enhance knowledge and understanding of global issues and the ethical dilemmas inherent in their inclusion in school curricula / formal education settings.  A focus on intercultural interactions therefore connects to the fields of intercultural communication, intercultural learning, intercultural education and intercultural understanding.   For the purposes of this research, it is argued that the field of intercultural communication and the extent to which that enhances learning and leads to intercultural understanding is most relevant.

Martin's work (2014) brings the two together in the context of lived intercultural interactions that take place when individuals and groups come together in the context of international collaboration.   Due to the international nature of this project (involving two European and two African countries) it is also important to consider issues of power.    Martin & Pirbhai-Illich (2015) identify three concerns that they consider need addressing:

  • dispositions towards difference during intercultural interactions (see also Martin 2012);
  • the (individual, national, global) political and historical contexts that affect how individuals and groups interact across cultures in the present day;
  • and the practices and processes of engaging in intercultural conversations and how differences are negotiated in order to make meaning.

How culture and language are conceptualized is central to understanding the processes of intercultural communication and understanding and here our work is informed by Homi Bhabha (1994, the location of culture) and Hilary Janks (2009, Literacy and Power).


The methodology for the research is therefore one that is interpretive, and based on the principles of Participatory Action Research (Bergold & Thomas, 2012). The researcher stance is one that works with and alongside participants to create a design that is fit for purpose and does not create harm to project partners / organisations or the teachers they work with. The underlying principles of participatory research are that it:

  • Is democratic
  • Aims to create safe spaces for sharing of views / learning (safe in that participants’ utterances will not be used against them; that confidentiality will be assured; that research processes will not cause undue stress or harm)
  • Enables participants to determine their own levels of participation
  • Treats participants as knowing subjects, rather than objects to be studied
  • Recognizes the importance of reflection – and so aims to build in time for this and to capture the results of individual and group reflections

The research is being conducted between April 1 2016 to December 11 2016.  For further information please contact Fran Martin.

TIDE Global Learning is the lead organisation for the YPOGS project, which has been a three year project running from 2014 - 2016. Please see their website for further information. 

Other partner organisations are: