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Building Bridges Through Performance and Decision-making: Schools, Research and Public Engagement



Abstract:  This paper uses the impact agenda in the UK to realign debate about the relationship between schools, universities and (human) geography. It positions this debate in systemic tendencies within UK higher education. It argues that, whilst impact can be seen as a further instance of neoliberalism, emphasising the gap between accountability and accounting allows an identification with communicative and reflexive knowledge and, more broadly, critical praxis. The paper draws on a year-long research-based collaboration with school teachers and their students involving performance work and the development of decision-making curriculum materials. It argues that working in these ways with schools can provide the basis for public engagement partnerships between schools and universities and a means to constitute diverse research publics. In these ways, it is argued, a wider sense of impact can be reappropriated, to reclaim the critical subject and to constitute academic value