EduWel Fellows

EduWel Fellows
[missing: Ana Sofia Ribeiro Santos]


Sara Bonfanti


University of Umea, Sweden



Sara Bonfanti received her master’s degree in Development Economics from the University of Florence (Italy) and her bachelor’s degree in Social sciences for Cooperation and Development from the University of Pavia (Italy).




In 2008 Ms Bonfanti worked as coordinator in the field of a workshop in New Delhi (India), promoted by two thematic groups (the group about children and the one about participatory methods) of the Human Development Capability Association. The workshop, which took place in the local NGO “Project Why”, mainly aimed at supporting its work by exploring its impact on the well-being of the children benefiting from its programs and, in particular, on the children with special needs.

In 2009-2010 Sara Bonfanti participated to a research promoted by the Department of Social Policy of Tuscany Region about the issue “Rethinking disability policies in Tuscany through the Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach”. Soon after she carried out a research, promoted by the Regional Health Agency of Tuscany Region, meant to apply the capability approach to people with traumatic brain injury and their families.




Research Project

Analysing young migrants' social exclusion in Sweden: a Capability Approach perspective
Ms Bonfanti’s research project aims at exploring the broad issue of young vulnerable people’s social exclusion/unfavourable inclusion during the transition phase from school to working life within the European advanced economies, by focusing on the case of young migrants living in Sweden and employing the Capability approach as main theoretical framework.From a theoretical point view, her work proposes a capability-based re-conceptualization of young migrants’ cross-border migration, social exclusion and second-chance education.From an empirical point of view, her analysis intends:
1.) to identify the dynamics underlying the process of inclusion/unfavourable inclusion in the host society over time, applying latent class and growth mixture modelling techniques
2.)to compare young migrants’ patterns of social exclusion with those characterizing their native peers, employing exploratory latent class analysis



Biggeri M., Bonfanti S. and Conradie I. (Eds) (2008), Children’s Capabilities and Project Why, Reports on the results of the International Workshop on Children Capabilities and Participatory Methods, Human Development and Capability Association (HDCA), New Delhi, India, September 4-9, 2008.pp. 1-40.

Bellanca N., Biggeri M., Bonfanti S. (2010), “L’approccio delle capability e alcune riflessioni sulle politiche per l’autodeterminazione delle persone con disabilità in Toscana”, Il Seme l’Albero, Rivista quadrimestrale di politiche della salute nella comunità, Fondazione Devoto, Anno XVIII, agosto.
Bonfanti S., Biggeri, M. (Ed.) (2010), Il percorso riabilitativo delle persone con Gravi Cerebrolesioni Acquisite (GCLA) e i loro familiari alla luce dell’approccio delle capability di Amartya Sen, Rapporto di studio per l’Azienda Regionale Sanitaria, Toscana.
Biggeri, M., Bellanca, N., Bonfanti, S., N., Tanzj, L. (2011), “Rethinking Policies for Disabled Persons through the CA: the Case of Tuscany Region”, ALTER. European Journal of Disability Research, Vol. 5(3), pp. 177-191.
· Biggeri, M., Bellanca, N., Bonfanti, S., N., Tanzj, L., (2011). “Un framework per le politiche sulle disabilità in Toscana: il progetto di vita e la strategia a mosaico”, in M. Biggeri, N. Bellanca, (ed.) (2010) L’approccio delle capability applicato alla disabilità: dalla teoria dello sviluppo umano alla pratica. Dossier progetto UMANAMENTE, sviluppo umano (EuropeAID).
Spoken languages Italian, English, French and Portuguese

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Annica Brännlund

  University of Florence, Italy


Degree of Master of Social Science, Umeå University, Sweden November 2008



  • Project assistant – The European Social Survey (ESS), Department of Sociology, Umeå University, Sweden
  • Student counselor - Department of Sociology, Umeå University, Sweden
  • Project coordinator - Umeå Municipality, Sweden


Research Project

Youth, Education and Work in a Swedish context - Extending Opportunities for Young Individuals

Annica is part of Working Group One which will investigate ‘Education and welfare in transition to adulthood: methodological and empirical issues’. Working Group One consists of four academic institutions, two based in Italy (University of Florence and Institute for Advanced Study, Pavia) and two in Sweden (Gothenburg and Umeå) and, in addition there is an associated partner ORSEU, an non-academic research institute from France (Lille). I am linked to the Faculty of Economics at Florence University.

Annica's research aims to reconsider the role of education in terms of individual well-being from a capability perspective focusing on three central dimensions and their interrelations; being able to autonomously choose and live a life one has reason to value, being able to work, and being able to participate in political and social life. Focus will be on identifying the clusters of objective and subjective living conditions among youth and the sets of individual and family resources that are most important to strengthen young people. The research will primarily be quantitative, working with Swedish longitudinal databases, in particular Longitudinal integration database for health insurance and labour market studies (LISA), Survey on Living Conditions (ULF), Survey on Children’s Living Conditions (Child-ULF) and the Luleå-cohort. Other databases such as the EU-SILC might also be utilized in the project.

Spoken languages:  




Agnese Dina Peruzzi

agni University of Gothenburg, Sweden


Agnese Peruzzi received a master’s degree in Development Economics in 2006 and a bachelor’s degree in Economic Development and International Cooperation in 2009 from the University of Florence, the latter with a thesis on “Risk Vulnerability and Child Labour”, supervised by prof. A. Cigno.




In 2006 she worked as secretary of University Society, AUCS, (Florence): she organized debates and seminars on sustainable development and cooperation for international conferences such as Terra Futura. She also developed training programmes and workshops for schools. In 2003 Agnese Peruzzi worked as Summer Camp Counsellor for “I Care” Association (Arezzo): she supported children with disabilities in the activities of the camp, ensuring them a safe environment. She also worked in a team with other staff members to organize daily events, aiming at the welfare of the camp and campers.


Research Project

Time dimension in education process trough the Capability Approach

Ms Peruzzi’s research project aims at formulating a comprehensive model of education, including not only its marketable outcomes, but also the non-marketable ones. This goal will be obtained through three steps: firstly, she will provide a theoretical framework for assessing the benefits of education in a longitudinal perspective, through an integration of the main approaches developed in the economic literature. Then, she will propose a dynamic model of education within the capability approach, conceptualizing the interaction between individuals and context during the educational process. Finally, she will use the 1970 British Cohort Study to test this theoretical model over a specific group of vulnerable youth in order to examine both the context, timing and duration of risk in determining individual development, and the role of education in affecting the outcomes of vulnerable youth over their life course. Identifying multidimensional capability sets and their impact on voice, autonomy, and work will be of central importance.


Spoken languages:Italian and English

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Alberta Maria Carlotta Spreafico

alberta1 IUSS Pavia, Italy


Ph.D Candidate in Economics, Law and Institutions at the Institute for Advanced Studies (Pavia, Italy).

Postgraduate degree in Economics, Politics and International Institutions at the University of Pavia (Italy) and Columbia University (New York, U.S.A.). Dissertation Title: “Applying the Capability Approach to Higher Education Policy and Quality Assessment: The case study of Barnard College”.

B.A. degree in International Relations, Political Science, at the University of Pavia (Italy).



2010-2012: Human Development Programs Coordinator at Henry Ford Health Systems (Detroit, U.S.A.) and Chair of Sustainable Development and Human Empowerment for the World Interactive Network Focused On Critical Ultrasound (WINFOCUS). Alberta worked on the design, on-field implementation, monitoring and coordination of development programs rooted in the human development approach and focused on enhancing sustainable access to quality healthcare worldwide. Programs build upon partnerships with national and international institutions, use of innovative technologies, interdisciplinary tailored education, social business strategies and integration of local and global policies.

2008 onwards: Research for the Human Development, Capability and Poverty International Research Centre (HDCP-IRC, Pavia, Italy). Alberta’s research focuses on applying the capability-human development approach to socio-economic analysis, the shaping of education policies and healthcare development programs.


Research Project

Ms. Alberta Spreafico’s research focuses on young people’s transition from post-compulsory education to ‘adulthood’ in Europe. Alberta first analyses this important transition using three different theoretical approaches – the Human Capital Approach, Equality of Opportunity and the Capability Approach – showing the strengths, limits and reach of each. Particular attention will be given to the value added (or limits) of each perspective in predicting, understanding, measuring, monitoring and advising policies regarding current empirical phenomena, such as: higher education access, drop-out rates and attainment, high youth unemployment, NEET ("Not in Education, Employment or Training"), over-education, modality and extent of youth’s social and political participation, inequality of opportunity for different social groups, segregation, etc. A critical analysis will reveal the extent to which the different frameworks allow to adequately identify and potentially target vulnerable youngsters. From the limits and strengths of each or form the combination of either or all, we will derive conclusions, policy implications and advice for choosing indicators, data, target groups and setting priorities. Alberta will proceed to utilize data from the British Cohort Study (BSC70) to empirically demonstrate and analyze differences between applying the Equality of Opportunity Theory and the Capability Approach to a study of inequality of opportunities in higher education. Last, Alberta will discuss, rethink and suggest holistic policies from a Capability Approach perspective, allowing for multidimensional targeting and responsiveness to complex social dynamics.

Spoken languages


English (mother tongue), Italian (mother tongue), Spanish (mid-level), French (mid-level).



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Stephan Dahmen


University of Applied Science Western Switzerland, Lausanne


Stephan Dahmen studied educational sciences at the universities of Bielefeld and Innsbruck and received his Master-degree in educational sciences at the Bielefeld University in August 2009 with a thesis on evidence-based policy in social and educational policy and practice settings


Stephan Dahmen, originally from Luxemburg, has worked in different fields. From 2007-2008, Stephan worked as a co-organizer of the The international Social Work and Society Academy, as a research assistant in different projects and as a coordinator of a practice-oriented project on academic teaching and learning at the University of Bielefeld. After his graduation, Stephan had a teaching appointment in Bielefeld and participated in a Research project on social and professional Integration of young people at Luxemburg University. Beyond this professional activities, Stephan is member of the language-editing Board of the Journal "Social Work and Society", and has done voluntary and professional work in different youth-education settings

Research Project

Learning to Labour in new Times: Activation, Agency and Capabilities of young unemployed in transition Schemes

The actual switch towards activating public policies has largely been comprehended by “transition schemes” for young unemployed and early school leavers trough the implementation of individualized action plans, a stronger focus on the responsibility of the users and a high emphasis on Job-oriented competences, behaviours and virtues. It is nevertheless not clear if these measures match the needs of especially those who are most destitute of resources. Some argue that a purely job-oriented policy may alter the sensibility for other necessary and more specific support, indicate that the implementation of the rather restrictive schemes may lead to a rise in “status zero” youth, or criticise the confinement to strictly work-related problems and lose sight of the link with other aspects of disadvantage. Others argue that the implementation of these new individualized forms of support may finally provide custom-tailored interventions which are adequately adressing the different life-situations and needs of the users.

This research project addresses the implementation level of social policies for vulnerable young School-leavers in two local contexts, with a special focus on the interplay between Social policy design and characteristics, needs and prospects of the Users. Data will be gathered trough participant observations, expert interviews with professionals and problem-centered interviews with users. This research strategy will allow to describe the “inner workings” of activating labour market policies for young Job-seekers and allow for the description of how and in what ways users can appropriate services as “conversion factors” and in what cases and for whom the institutional strategies result in dissafiliation and disengagement


Montagsforum-Kollektiv (2010): Mitgestaltung von Seminaren. Was braucht gutes Lehren und Lernen? Montagsforum-Guide 1

Dahmen, Stephan (2011): Evidenzbasierte Soziale Arbeit? Zur Rolle wissenschaftlichen Wissens für sozialarbeiterisches Handeln. Hohengehren

Dahmen Stephan (2011): Arbeitsmarktlage, Eingliederungs-barrieren und Ansätze „guter Praxis“ aus Sicht der Akteur der beruflichen Eingliederung, der Betroffenen sowie der Betriebe : Resultate der qualitativen Gruppendiskussionen. In: Haas, Claude (Hrsg): L’insertion professionnelle des jeunes et personnes âgées de 45 ans et plus : discours, pratiques et enjeux. Rapport du projet INPRO-APPEX

Conference Contributions

A Capability perspective on youth transitions under consideration of welfare and education Institutions. exploring the heuristic value of an Agency perspective. PreConference of the TiSSA PhD-Network August 22 to 24, 2010 in Tallinn, Estonia.



Spoken languages Luxemburgish, German, French and English


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Davina Gateley Saïd

Davina University of Bielefeld, Germany


Davina Gateley Saïd has a M.Sc. in Global Politics from Birkbeck College, University of London. She also holds a B.A. (Hons) degree in Combined Studies: History & Social Sciences from the University of Manchester, UK.


Davina Gateley Saïd, origionally from Switzerland, has worked in public- and third-sector institutions in London, including a non-Departmental government body and a refugee charity. Initially volunteering internationally with community based organisations working on refugee issues, she was also a consultant for various NGOs providing technical assistance, strategic planning, and worked on project development, communications and external relations support. She was also a researcher/editor in an applied social science research centre focusing on internally displaced persons.

Prior to Marie Curie, Ms. Gateley Saïd was Development Officer at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford, where she collaborated with researchers and high-level volunteers to secure philanthropic support for academic research projects. Ms. Gateley Saïd is a founding board member of Dalia Association, a community foundation whose mission is to mobilise resources for community-led social change and sustainable development. She has been active in student politics and was elected as Welfare and Women’s Officer of Birkbeck College Students’ Union Council, University of London. She was also President of the Combined Studies Society at the University of Manchester.

Research Project

Labour Market Integration of Refugee Youth: A Case Study of Third-Sector Interventions from a Capability Approach Perspective

This research study focuses on the employment integration of refugee young people participating in interventions operated by third-sector organisations in the UK. The Capability Approach is applied as a theoretical framework. The overall aim of the research study is to determine recommendations within the context of labour market integration of refugee youth, with the intention to illuminate whether a complimentary institutional focus on autonomy is a prerequisite for sustainable integration.


Spoken languages: English, (Swiss-) German & basic Arabic.

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Margherita Bussi

Margherita European Trade Union Institute, Brussels, Belgium



Margherita Bussi holds a Master of Arts –degree in International and Diplomatic Studies from the University of Bologna in Forlì. She wrote her Master’s thesis on ‘Autonomy and governance in Higher Education Institutions: A comparative analysis of France and Italy cases’. During her studies she undertook a 6 month Erasmus exchange at the Institute d’Etudes Politiques (IEP) of Paris. She has also acquired a B.A. degree in Translation and Interpreting in English and Spanish at the University of Venice.



Margherita Bussi carried out 3 internships. A 3 month internship at the Italian Cultural Institute in New York as assistant of the Visual Art Attaché; the second was a 4 month traineeship as Communication intern at the NGO ACTED in Paris as well as an 8-month research traineeship (Leonardo scholarship) at the European Social Observatory (OSE) in Brussels where she focused on European Education and Training policies and collaborated in the assessment of the Open method of Coordination (OMC) in the field of Social Protection and Social Inclusion.


Research Project

Straitjackets or stepping stones? Exploring Institutional ability to provide quality transitions to young migrants in Belgium and Switzerland


Statistics show that young people with a lower education level and with a lower socio-economic status are more exposed to unemployment spells and longer periods of inactivity. Socially disadvantaged young people in transition from school-to-work are even more at risk and highly dependent on (several) institutional systems. Institutions structuring education and training provisions, as well as social systems and labour markets, are mainly meant to prevent individuals from being poor and excluded; nevertheless decades of research show that inequalities and exclusion can often be found rooted in the education and training or labour market systems. In spite of the great attention received, some critical points still deserve a closer look: the quality of transitions from school-to-work and the impact of labour market programmes on socially disadvantaged young people. With the aim of exploring to what extent institutions are acting as 'straitjackets' or 'stepping stones' for young people in transition, the analysis will be developed in a two level analysis: at the macro level the Transitional Labour Market (TLM) theory will help in a first institutional analysis of transitions of disadvantaged groups, while at the micro level the Capability Approach (CA) will be used as an evaluative theoretical framework level to analyse active labour market policies for young people. The analysis will also benefit from a comparative perspective on two countries with different institutional settings, Belgium and Switzerland, which are expected to react differently and provide different solutions. As for the target population, young migrants in transition from school-to-work will be studied. Therefore in order to contribute to the debate about the quality of the transition for marginalised groups, the research questions are thus phrased:

To what extent are different institutions in Switzerland and Belgium able to “fill the capability gap” of youth at risk? To what extent will the capability-based analysis give a wider perspective on the institutional ability (or inability) to provide socially disadvantaged young people with quality transitions from school-to-work? To what extent can the relationship between active and passive empowerment contribute to understand the quality of their transitions?

Spoken languages Italian; French; English; Spanish; Dutch (basic)

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Pinar Burcu Güner

Burcu University of Bielefeld , Germany


University of Oulu, Finland Master of Arts (MA) in Education and Globalisation, 2009.


Burcu started her career as a trainee and involved in different youth and education projects in Turkey, Austria, Germany, Sweden, England and Finland. During these internship she had chance to work in socially deprived areas of Vienna and London with disadvantaged young people, immigrants in Marburg, Germany at a transcultural psychiatry and psycho-social centre in Frankfurt, special inclusive schooling in Sweden, diversity counselling in Finland. She did study visits to different youth and education projects across Europe. She co-ordinated a psycho-social support project for Turkish immigrant youth living in Germany in Istanbul for three years under a project initiated a German institute. Burcu also took part in two surveys in German and Finland. She took part in a project in Istanbul for developing teacher training curriculum for inclusive education.


Besides studying in Finland, Burcu worked as a counsellor for city of Oulu to innovate new projects for growing cultural diversity in Oulu to bring two sided integration. She also worked as a project co-ordinator in a welfare project for immigrant youth`s education in Oulu as well as project planner at the Finnish National Youth Information and Counselling Services. She participated in various volunteer projects concerning children and youth in different parts of the world since her youth years.


Research Project


Good Life Chances for Disadvantage Turkish Origin Girls in Germany

Preparing children and youth regardless of their socio-economic, ethnic and religious background are ethical responsibility of governments. Children should have equal education opportunities and justice which is also important for the development of the countries to prepare for competitive world where many skills and competencies are needed to cope for fast changing societal and economic demands. In education systems both “equity and equality” and “quality and excellence” should be ensured by the governments. The research in a broad sense answer “how could educational sciences response to challenges of the youth from disadvantaged Turkish migration origin to enhance their capabilities for good life capabilities (opportunities). Second central concept analysed in the research is school education well-being because data from Children in Germany 2007 survey reveals that children who did not feel so good in their families depended on special support in their school and non-school institutions. It was particularly children growing up in poverty who were extremely depended on this (Andresen & Fegter,2010).

Empirically this research gives voice to these youth to investigate “what is their everyday life, how they define good life and good school education (school education well-being domain) for their needs, related to current and future opportunities, how they see their limitations and what are their opportunities to overcome these limitations (agency). Starting point to conceptualize the research is the result of “Kinder in Deutchland 2010 and 2007 Shell Youth Study 2010, Kinderbarometor 2009, German Youth Survey (German Youth Institute, 2006), and PISA Results 2000 to 2009.

Main theoretical frame of the research is capability approach (Sen & Nussbaum) combined with literature on well-being on children and youth (Andresen, Bredshaw & Ben-Asher) as well as institutional discrimination (Gomolla & Radtke). Well-being theories on children and youth used because one of the dimension research focused is well-being phenomena. Institutional discrimination used because early selection in Germany, children and youth with a migration background are disproportionately affected by selection mechanisms. Social selection at the transition from primary to secondary school has been touched on above. However, children of foreign origin have fewer chances of being recommended for the Gymnasium than do “German” children, even when they share the same academic achievement level and social status (Bos et al. 2003). The rate of repeaters among children and youth from migrant families is just as high above the average as is their risk of being sent to a special school for the learning handicapped (Auernheimer, 2006).


Focus group conducted from 15-17 years old youth, each group had six young people considering gender balance. In-depth focus group interviews (approximately 2 hours) were collected from youth. After the interview socio-economic questionnaire was given to each student to answer individually. Through qualitative group interviews, research analysis these youth`s experiences in society, burdens, unequal and disadvantage situations, limitations, participation and agency. Socio-economic questionnaire analyzed conversion factors (social, environmental, demographic and economic), as well as to find how class, gender, family background play a role in deprivation, disadvantage situation to elaborate comprehensive and holistic analysis with focus group data.

Participatory method used to close language gap (Biggeri, 2011) which means these youth might not be able to express their opinions and feelings in both languages (Turkish and German languages). Also, Sen (1985) emphasis that “people should be able to visualize their functionings. Video method is used since it is more accurate and detailed in technical sense more reliable (Knoblauch et al., 2006).

As a result research aims to discuss “how to close the capabilities gap”, “how to map their needs” and “how school education could contribute to well-being” of the youth. At the end, index for measuring young persons` opportunities for a good life and school education well-being will be developed.



Several essays published in various Turkish magazines and journals related to youth, education and immigration.


Spoken languages:She speaks Turkish as a mother tongue, English, German some Finnish, Swedish and French.



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Virva Leppänen



University of Applied Science Western Switzerland, Lausanne



Erasmus exchange in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (2006)

Master’s degree in Sociology, University of Jyväskylä, Finland (2009)



In the early 2000 Virva gained some work experience as an assistant teacher in a primary school and worked as a trainee in a workshop for mentally handicapped. In spring 2009 she completed an internship for NGO called International Federation of University Women (IFUW) in Geneva, Switzerland.


Research Project

Activating the youth in transition - from discourses to implementation within the context of integration policies in Switzerland


Virva is part of the working group two: Welfare institutions as facilitators of educational processes. Her individual research project focuses on vulnerable youth and their participation in an integration program. The intention is to grasp the activation discourse in the national context of Switzerland and its influence on the implementation level in a local level in terms of categorisation and moral classification. Capability Approach will be used to describe the strenghts and limitations of policy design and the degree to which individual biography has been accounted for. Qualitative interviews will be made for the agents, frontline workers and participants.



Spoken languages Finnish, English, Italian and French

Maria Ron Balsera

Marias_photo_for_short_bio2 University of Bielefeld, Germany


Maria is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Human Development at the Education and Capabilities research School and Bielefeld University. She holds a LL.M in Human Rights from Carlos III de Madrid University and MSC Human Rights from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences. Maria took courses and did research at Socio Cultural Studies in Education at the Graduate School of Education at UC Berkeley. She graduated Humanities at Carlos III de Madrid University.


Maria has worked as project officer at the Right to Education Project, a partnership between Action Aid, Amnesty International and the Global Campaign for Education (2008-2010). She has professional experience in policy research and analysis, having worked as a consultant for the Global Campaign for Education. She produced four policy briefs with recommendations that were presented in the Durban Review Conference. She has also worked as a consultant for the Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education (CLADE) in Sao Paulo to produce a portal of justiciability of economic, social and cultural rights in Latin America. She was awarded the Berkeley-Tulane Fellowship to work as a researcher for the Great Lakes, African Division at Human Rights Watch. She also has experience working as an English-Spanish translator and interpreter at the Court of Justice in Madrid. She had previously worked as a Spanish teacher at two English high schools.

Research project

Young Ecuadorian second generation’ aspirations, expectation and their perspective of well-being in Spain. Narratives of educational journeys and career expectations.

This research adopts the capability approach together with the theoretical concept of intersectionality to shed light on the situation of young Ecuadorians in Spain. The capability approach, by highlighting the plurality of well-being and human diversity, presents an invaluable normative framework from which to study the personal and structural situation of young second generation Latin American immigrants in the Spanish society. This research will analyse the participants’ narratives studying the intersectionality of gender, race and class.

The relevance for this research lies on the increasing presence of immigrants in schools, in 2008/9 academic year immigrants represented 10.15 % of the total student population in Spain, compared to 6.64% in 2004/5 and only 2.06% in 2000/2001 (MEC, Spanish Ministry of Education statistics). However, there is a scarcity of studies delving into the context of second generation Latin American immigrants in Spain, particularly qualitative studies that take into account young people’s perspectives.

This research fills that gap adopting a qualitative approach in order to get a deeper understanding of the experiences and perceptions of race, class and gender, allowing for detailed descriptions of everyday practices. Seeking to explore participant’s perceptions of well-being, biographical narratives give voice to those who are often unheard, providing a useful tool to understand the participants’ subjective tensions and contradictions regarding their experiences. Thus, the aim of the research is to study how the interlocking of race, class and gender, can be articulated through the narratives of young Ecuadorians in Spain.

Spoken languages: Spanish, English, French and basic German and Portuguese

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Ana Sofia Ribeiro

sofia_tampere University of Poznan, Poland



Licenciatura degree in Educational Sciences- University of Coimbra 2002.

Master of Philosophy in Higher Education Erasmus Mundus – University of Oslo, University of Tampere, University of Aveiro 2010



From 2003 to 2005 Sofia was involved in several artistic and cultural projects. In 2006-2007 she worked at the Portuguese Unit of Eurydice Network, in the Portuguese Ministry of Education, where she gained closer contact with comparative and international studies in education. Later she joined the Hedda higher education master, during which she also spent a period at the University of Melbourne. Her research areas of interest include internationalisation and globalisation processes in education, governance and social justice.


Research Project

Mapping vulnerability through a capabilities approach: a biographical study of first generation students in Portuguese Higher Education

First generation students (students whose parents did not attend higher education) are an underrepresented group in European higher education, subject to vulnerabilities of economic, cultural and social order. Research upon first-generation students (henceforth, FGS) shows that their disadvantaged background often can hinder their higher education experiences, resulting in reduced participation, drop-out, deferred enrolment or course switch. Such atypical education paths are due to lack of familiarity with higher education, allied to fund scarcity and debt aversion, conditions that may result in inadequate enrolment or inappropriate course/institution choice, but also feelings of cultural mismatch, isolation and lack of self confidence. In Portugal only 10 out of 100 students whose parents have at most lower secondary education manage to graduate from higher education. Such data point to the need of researching higher education experience on a micro level, hearing the voices of FGS concerning their HE experience and identifying what impacts their motivation to proceed.

The research is theoretically informed by the concept of parity of participation of Nancy Fraser coupled with the capability approach developed by Sen and Nussbaum. In this perspective, I operationalise the approach by mapping the capability for autonomy (choice and motivation), the capability for voice (participation on academic activities), the capability for resilience (self-confidence and identity) and the capability to aspire (self-projection and expected outcomes of HE), approaching also emerging intersectionality aspects between class and gender.

Methodologically, the study follows a multiple case study approach using biographical methods, understood in the German interpretative/hermeneutical approach, followed under the variation of problem -centred interviews. The study aims to identify cultural dimensions of vulnerability within first generation students group and to contribute to the creation of policies, either on institutional or national level, that enhance empowerment of FGS, based on a capability perspective.



Spoken languages: Portuguese, English, Spanish, Italian, French and German (basic level).

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Aurora L. Fogues


University of Nottingham, United Kingdom


2010 – now ESR Marie Curie – Eduwel – Phd University of Nottingham

2006-2008 M.A. in Global Studies from an European Perspective (Erasmus Mundus). University of Leipzig (Germany), University of Vienna (Austria) and University of Stellenbosch (South Africa).

2000-2006 Licenciatura in Business and Management – Universidad Politecnica de Valencia (Spain) and one year exchange at the University of Montana (USA).



Aurora L. Fogues joined the School of Education of Nottingham in 2010 becoming an ESR- EduWel – Marie Curie fellowship holder. In 2005 she obtained the Licenciatura in Business and Management at the Polytechnic University of Valencia. She completed her MA in Global Studies in 2007, after having studied in Leipzig (Germany), Vienna (Austria) and Stellenbosch (South Africa). In the last University she also collaborated as an intern carrying a research about identity in South Africa. After finishing her studies she worked as a Regional Development and European Funding consultant for a multinational firma (IDOM SA) in Madrid (Spain). In 2009, she became a teacher in a Vocational Education Training college where she worked until she joined the School of Education. Her main areas at the college were in management and business education for people above 19 years old as well as coordinator of the Erasmus Mobility Program.

Aurora’s broad areas of research interest include:

  • Educational theories and policies
  • Pedagogy of education
  • Critical theory
  • Social justice


Research Project

The voices of Vocational Education and Training (VET); an analysis of disadvantage in a college in Spain within the Capability Approach


Educational reforms are at the centre of European debates. However, reference to Vocational Education (VET) is often made in terms of skills and employability. In contrast to this economic approach to VET, this proposal draws on Sen’s notion of capabilities and positions people at the forefront aiming to:


- gather the disparity of aspirations, experiences and practices among those involved inVET education and,

- broaden the current understanding of the least advantaged in VET including, learners’ ability to pursue valuable beings and doings.


This research proposes to build a grid of “valuable functionings” across the dimensions of autonomy, participation and work, bringing together the voices of those involved in VET in an analytical and empirical manner. By analyzing a Spanish post-sixteen college using the capability lenses, the research hopes to draw attention to the heterogeneity understanding of VET and to the multi dimensional aspect of disadvantage.

Spoken languages Catalan, Spanish, English, German (intermediate)

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Krystian Szadowski


Education International, Brussels




2010 – until now – PhD Student at Department of Philosophy, Adam Mickiewcz’s University of Poznan.

2005 – 2010 - MA Social philosophy at Adam Mickiewcz’s University of Poznan.



Krystian Szadkowski is editor-in-chief of Theoretical Practice philosophical review, member of the Political Critique and freelance translator (Hardt, Negri, Holloway, Federici, Newfield, Wallerstein, Wright, Pasquilnelli). Until now he is editor of Polish Edu-factory column devoted to radical theory in higher education studies.


Research Project

Structures of Injustice. Mapping Capabilities and Freedom of Doctoral Candidates in Humanities. Case Study - Poland.

As per the Bergen Communique, doctoral programme participants are concerned as both students and early-stage researchers. Despite this, there is still no Europe-wide framework for the common regulation of a doctoral student’s status. As stated in the Salzburg Principles, doctoral students should be recognised as professionals. It does not matter which formal status they have, it is just crucial that they are given commensurate rights. Yet this is not the case everywhere. In many places, doctoral students are treated as people with obligations of both worker and student, without being afforded the rights of both. The central focus of this research is on the status of doctoral candidates and the consequent implications for their working and living conditions described in terms of capabilities. The scope of the research is the European Higher Education Area with Poland as a main case study. As a result of analysis of European and national policy discourses on doctoral candidates the survey questionnaire will be created and distributed among the member unions of Education International. The data gathered from this survey will be used to contextualise the case study build up from semi-structured interviews conducted among doctoral candidates, applicants, faculty and policymakers in Poland.


Spoken language

Polish, English

Petya Ilieva-Trichkova

petya Adam Mickiewicz University Poznan, Poland



BA (2002-2006) and MA degree (2006-2008) on sociology, University of National and World Economy, Bulgaria

Professional qualification on Project Management (2007-2010), University of National and World Economy, Bulgaria

8th ESS Training course - 26th-27th April 2010 in Mannheim, Germany on "Paradata in Social Survey Research"



Between 2006 and 2010 was a sociologist in Survey Methodology Research Department at the Institute of Sociology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. As a member of the fieldwork organization’s team in the Institute she participated in the carrying out of a lot of social and sociological surveys. Her main activities were: organizing national, cross-sectional, longitudinal surveys and focus groups, monitoring and control of data collection process and data processing.


Research Project

Transformations of opportunity structures for diverse young people - higher education and labour market


The aims of the research project are to learn more about the diversity of the undergraduates on the exit of University and to find out what kind of opportunities these different groups have to find a job they have reason to choose and value after their graduation.

The opportunities diverse groups of undergraduates have for finding a good job after their graduation are the subject of the research while young people who have graduated University (23+ years) will be its object. It will be paid attention to the Bulgarian case of higher education graduates but in a broader Eastern European context.

One of the hypothesises of the research is that the widening access to higher education brings difficulties for graduates to find a job they have reason to choose and value . Exploring their diversity and whether it matters on the labour market or not, a feedback for higher education policy will be received. It will give us a base for formulating on recommendations how the risk of problems in finding a good job after their graduation may be reduced during their study.

It will be made a literature review on the role of higher education in knowledge driven economy and society, the transition between University and labour market and the social justice theory.

Secondary data analysis (on ESS, GGS, CHEERS and EU-SILC data) will be used as a research strategy. The main problem with this kind of data is that it is not collected for the aims of our research and different approaches and theories are used for their implementation. That’s why if an answer of our research question is found a survey on higher education graduates will be conducted using face-to-face interviews as a mode of data collection. Nonrandom sampling methods will be used. The sampling criteria will be a BA/MA degree received one year ago and age up to 27. The capability approach will be applied in it to help us to evaluate their opportunities. It is appropriate in this case because it provides a framework which is sensitive to diverse social settings and groups (Unterhalter, Vaughan and Walker: 2007) and a social justice framework for how education can contribute to the expansion and equality of capabilities in other spheres of life. In our case this other sphere is the work.




Ilieva, P. 2010. Fieldwork monitoring on the ESS-R4 in Bulgaria, Collective monograph: Welfare and trust: Bulgaria in Europe? Comparative analysis on the European social survey (ESS) 2006/2009, p. 409-429, Sofia: Iztok Zapad (In Bulgarian)


Ilieva, P. 2009. Cultural aspects of Euro integration and the role of mass media in the forming of cultural models, Collection of papers: Social and cultural aspects of the Eurointegration, p. 319-326, Prilep: Atzetoni (In Bulgarian)


Ilieva, P. 2008. Dynamics of traditional rural values in the transitional period, Collection of papers - Village in Transition, p. 230-256, Vlasotince: KUM (In Bulgarian)


Spoken languages
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Lukas Ertl

lukas Institute of Education in London, United Kingdom



Erasmus exchange in Nottingham, UK (2009/2010)

Magister degree in Political Science, University of Vienna, Austria (2008)



2009 PR management and content development for Vienna Tourist Board and Juland BarcelonaVienna in Vienna and Tokyo (

2008/2009 professional practical training in the PR and youth department of Caritas Austria in Vienna (

2005-2008 member of executive board, co-speaker and chief editor of FM5 in Vienna (


Research Project

Further education and the expansion of capabilities for diverse young men and women

My project looks at diverse identities and life biographies of young learners at a Further Education college in central London. The research aims to identify including factors for participation in Further Education as well as how the experience of Further Education challenges and confirms young learners’ identities. Furthermore, it tracks the young learners 12 to 24 months after their completion of a Further Education course to explore their progression and to identify its impact on their opportunities and forms of participation. The use of qualitative interviews and ethnographic methods should allow an inductive approach towards the broad categories of identity, inclusion, progression, opportunities, forms of participation and conformity. The Capability Approach and its notion of the freedom to choose a life one has reason to value as basis for the assessment of human well-being allows highlighting tensions of individual agency and social constraints that are classed, gendered and raced.

Spoken languages German, English, Spanish (intermediate)

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