Keri Facer

My academic work is broadly concerned with understanding (and sometimes creating)  relationships between universities, schools and wider society. My research practice focuses on interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral research, with my roots in cultural studies. In recent years I’ve been particularly concerned with understanding the implications of potential future economic, environmental and technological change for the relationship between schools and communities, which is the subject of my book, Learning Futures. These days I’m mainly concerned with exploring how we can best create new research cultures to ensure that all of our communities can build what Appadurai calls the strategic knowledge they need to thrive despite potential significant environmental, economic and technological disruptions. This means understanding both how we might think about the future, and the anticipatory assumptions we are working with (see for example the emerging Discipline of Anticipation) as well as understanding what a new landscape of public knowledge production might look like. Last year we ran the first international conference on Anticipation at Trento, and here at Bristol we have just established the Anticipation Research Group, which draws together researchers across a wide range of disciplines – from philosophy to climate science to engineering and literature. My primary research project at the moment involves my role as AHRC Leadership Fellow, with George McKay at Salford, for the Connected Communities Research Programme. This involves working across the UK with the hundreds of researchers and community partners in this programme who are beginning to build new relationships between universities, independent research organisations and communities. I am also working to better explore and develop the relationship between the University of Bristol and the City of Bristol, in particular to mobilise the resources of the City and University to support education and young people. One way this has developed is in the 80by18 project, another is the support we’ve been offering to the development of the Child Friendly Cities Initiative here.