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Dr Dalene Swanson

Senior Lecturer

Education University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA

Dr Dalene Swanson

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About me



I am a senior international educator, researcher and academic committed to democracy and socio-ecological egalitarianism in education and society. I specialise in theory and praxis that addresses complex transdisciplinary global challenges associated with social and ecological stresses in 'glocal' context.

PI on UKRI GCRF (ESRC) under EQUITABLE RESILIENCE call. Project ( £1 million ) WATER AND FIRE: Enhancing capacity and reducing risk through 15 'best bets' for transformative adaptation with vulnerable residents on the Cape Flats.

My research interests and expertise span reconceptualist curriculum perspectives, mathematics education, cultural studies, critical theory, critical / ethical internationalisation in education, democracy in education, and social and ecological justice. I am interested broadly in critical, sociological and political perspectives in education and society. I mostly write from poststructural and de/post-colonial perspectives. In particular, I have expertise in critical global citizenship, democratic education, and indigeneity, especially the African onto-epistemology of Ubuntu. Philosophical and social concerns around poverty, marginalisation, (neo)colonialism, oppression, as well as my research into what I refer to as “the construction of disadvantage” frame much of my work. Research foci on economic development and globalisation in education reflect ongoing concerns around justice and democracy. I also have expertise in critical arts-based and narrative methodologies (especially the qualitative methodological approach I developed, 'critical rhizomatic narrative'), and other creative, post-foundational and counter-hegemonic research and writing methodologies and practices. I also bring arts-based approaches to bear on mathematics education as a decolonising practice. 


2016 / 2017 University of Stirling Excellence in Teaching Award, in the Faculty of Social Sciences

2015 / 2016 School of Education teaching award.

2014 / 2015 University of Stirling Postgraduate Supervisor of the Year Award.

2006 International Institute of Qualitative Inquiry Illinois Distinguished Qualitative Dissertation Award.

2006 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award (Division B: Curriculum Studies).

2005 Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award.

2005 University of British Columbia Prof. Ted T. Aoki Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Prize in Curriculum Studies.


Imaginative Education Postdoctoral Fellowship, Simon Fraser University, Canada: 2006 - 2007

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellowship, held at University of Alberta: 2007 – 2009


Moore Institute, National University of Ireland, Galway, June 2016


  1. The SoJo Journal: Educational Foundations and Social Justice Education (Editor-In-Chief: Bradley J. Porfilio, California State University, East Bay; Information Age Publishing)

  2. Comparative and International Education Journal. (Editor: Marianne A. Larsen, published by the Comparative and International Education Society of Canada)

  3. Book series: Cultural Pluralism, democracy, Socio-environmental Justice and Education. (Editors: Paul R. Carr & Gina Théseé; Sense Publishers)

  4. European Journal of Curriculum Studies.


UNESCO Chair in Democracy, Cultural Pluralism and Transformative Education


Bridge 47 European Network (EADI, Bonn)


  1. Ethical Internationalisation in Higher Education in times of Global Crisis:

  2. Global Doing Democracy Research Project:


Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research Affiliation - Centre for Gender and Feminist Studies– University of Stirling


Trustee: SCOTDEC Global Learning Centre / Edinburgh External Examiner - Faculty of Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal


I am an international educationalist and researcher with diverse, transcultural and transnational experience in education. I have twenty-five years of educational experience in teaching and researching in elementary and secondary schools and universities, with experience in both minority and majority world contexts on four continents. In particular, I have worked with students and communities from diverse cultural, ethnic, socio-economic and linguistic backgrounds, and have engaged in research in these contexts. My research interests and experience include mathematics education, STEM education, curriculum studies, social justice education, democracy in education, critical pedagogy, critical global citizenship, critical intercultural education, and critical educational inclusion. I have taught in multicultural contexts in Canada and in South Africa in highly multi-lingual and multi-cultural and indigenous contexts as well as contexts of socio-economic disadvantage. My work and contributions in the Middle East were also within diverse communities.

In the Faculty of Social Sciences, I am Director of Access to Degree Studies, and lecture on the Initial Teacher Education programme. I currently supervise seven PhD students.

Event / Presentation

Alternative Understanding of Equity and Their Relationship to Ethics. 13th International Congress on Mathematical Education

Power and Poverty – Whose, Where, and Why?: School mathematics, context and the social construction of "disadvantage". 30th Annual Meeting of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education

Power and Poverty - Whose, Where, and Why?: School Mathematics, Context and the Social Construction of "Disadvantage". 30th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education

Re-imagining social justice in mathematics education through 'imaginative relevance'. 4th International Conference on Imagination and Education: Opening Doors to Imaginative Education: connecting theory to practice
Simon Fraser University

Voices in the Silence. The Canadian Mathematics Education Study Group Annual Conference
University of Calgary

Anti-oppressive Education and Imagination: Living in the 'place of the impossible'. 3rd International Conference on Imagination and Education, Imaginative Education Research Group
Simon Fraser University

"Disadvantage" and School Mathematics: The Politics of Context. Ninth International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning…/2002/index.html

“Disadvantage” and School Mathematics: The Politics of Context. Ninth International Learning Conference

Situated Meaning-Making: Teacher-Researchers as Bricoleurs. 2006 Annual Conference of the Western Canadian Association for Student Teaching

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