Transforming Communities through Academic Activism: An Emancipatory, Praxis-led Approach

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4 Citations (Scopus)


This article tracks the engagement of university faculty in academic and community activism during thirty years in conflict-affected Northern Ireland. Over time, the team of three academics who wrote the article developed programs to help tackle educational disadvantage in a deeply divided society riven with violent conflict. Our pedagogical approach was driven by social justice principles in practice. In the process, students became what Ledwith & Springett (2010) describe as participative activists in the academy and in their own communities. The aim of this collective activism was to foster transformative change in a society that is now in transition from conflict. Key examples of critical practice are described. We use a case study approach to describe challenges faced by faculty and participants. We argue that academic activism and community partnership can play a positive role in community transformation in the most difficult circumstances.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-214
JournalStudies in Social Justice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2015


  • transformational education
  • emancipatory praxis
  • critical reflection
  • community-academy engagement


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