Higher education (HE) in England and other parts of the United Kingdom (UK), traditionally and historically, has been dominated by privileged and powerful social groups. In recent decades, universities have opened their doors and encouraged participation by a diversity of learners including women, working class, minority ethnic groups and many others that might be deemed historically under-represented in HE. This movement came to be known as ‘widening participation’. I consider myself to be a product of the widening participation movement having returned to learn in 1994 after a 10-year break in education. However, providing access to participate is only the first step. For many HE students from under-represented groups, like the working class, the journey through the academy, while earning their degree, can be fraught with profound and difficult experiences. This chapter charts my own journey into HE as a student, and back into HE as an academic, with some equally fraught and profound experiences.
Reilly, I.B. (2022), "One's Place and the Right to Belong", Reilly, I.B. (Ed.) The Lives of Working Class Academics, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 101-121. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80117-057-420221008
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