Inclusivity: Support and Partnership for the post pandemic future

Children and Student Voice Conference 2020

 Logo REDI and Deakin

Date: Monday 7 – Wednesday 9 December 2020

Time: 7.30 am to 11.00 am AEST and 8.30 am to 12 noon AEDT

Conference overview and aim

As economies and schools emerge from the pandemic, it is time to take an opportunity to examine how schools effectively support the needs of students by including their voices in the reshaping and rebuilding activities that are taking place.  Building on our commitment to empower children and student voice, agency and participation, some questions we ask are:

  1. How can student voice become more inclusive? 
  2. What were school-system priorities in the age of coronavirus?
  3. How have schools addressed the increase in highly specialised support services required such as mental health? 
  4. How was the new classroom digital interface co-designed with children and students as partners? 
  5. How do school systems ensure the needs of the most vulnerable voices are (and will be) met? 

Although these questions were as pertinent pre- and during pandemic, coronavirus has brought the matters of inclusivity even more to the forefront.  As such, three key areas we will be exploring at this conference are:

  • Inclusive student voices
  • Student voice and support services
  • Student voice and co-design/partnerships during and post-pandemic

Key note speakers


Dana MitraDana Mitra is Professor of Education in the Education Policy Studies Department at Pennsylvania State University, USA. She has conducted research on voice and leadership for the past 15 years, and is founding editor of the International Journal of Student Voice and co-editor of The American Journal of Education. Dana has published over 30 papers and two books on the topics of student voice and civic engagement, including Civic Education in the Elementary Grades: Promoting Engagement in an Era of Accountability; Student Voice in School Reform: Building Youth-Adult Partnerships that Empower Youth; and Educational Change and the Political Process.


Marie BrennanMarie Brennan is an adjunct professor at the University of South Australia, having worked at five Australian universities and previously in the Education Department of Victoria. She is also an Extraordinary Professor at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Her work in curriculum focusses largely on the intertwined global challenges of inequalities/injustice, decoloniality and environment, enacted in the local. Through both policy and practice analyses, she is concerned with how curriculum - in schools and in teacher education and universities more broadly - can take up these challenges, with activist roles for students, teachers/academics and communities. She is active in researching, publishing, editing and refereeing in teacher education, curriculum studies and education policy studies.



Roger Holdsworth

Roger Holdsworth is a failed retiree. He has been an innovative secondary school teacher, curriculum consultant, youth sector policy worker, and university researcher and writer (Youth Research Centre, The University of Melbourne, where he is still an Honorary Associate) and continues to have an active commitment to active student participation in education (and elsewhere). He has edited and published Connect - an on-line practice journal supporting student participation - since 1979 (see: He is also a critical friend and advisor to the VicSRC, the peak body of school-aged students in Victoria. In another life, Roger presents the Global Village program on PBS 106.7 FM in Melbourne, every Sunday 5-7pm.





Lew Zipin

Lew Zipin is Senior Research Fellow at the University of South Australia and Extraordinary Professor at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. In a number of projects, Lew has supported development of curriculum that can engage public-school students from marginalised regions and social positions. These projects build curriculum activity around local-community problems that matter, which students identify, research, and work to address in collaboration with teachers, academics and, most importantly, community residents with rich funds of knowledge about the problems. The idea is for all these collaborators - with students at the centre - to learn from and teach each other in bringing diversely relevant knowledge to bear on the mattering problem. Through these projects, and as an author, Lew has contributed to both practice and scholarship for advancing social-educational justice and knowledgeable democracy.