‌‌Education Culture and Society PNG

This research cluster is concerned with issues of inequity and social justice at school, higher education, and initial teacher education levels, relating to social class, ethnicity, gender, sexualities, language, and disability.

We engage in critical interrogation of key concepts, debates, and issues in educational policy, practice, and theory.  Such concepts include diversity, performativity, creativity, educational disadvantage and privilege, widening participation, and inclusion.  Our work in this area draws on the foundational disciplines of sociology, psychology, history and philosophy and is informed by current research.

Research in this cluster continues to impact national and international policy, practice and research.  Our cluster is engaged in research supported by national and international funding bodies.



Dr. Kevin Davison 
Dr. Manuela Heinz  
Dr. Elaine Keane  
Dr. Cliona Murray  
Dr. Ian Munday
Dr. Niamh Flynn   

Postgraduate Students

Seun Abebayo
Patience Adiikanbasi
Sandra Hayden
Michelle Mitchell (Norton)
Mary Nagle
Aoife O'Brien
Seán ÓGrádaigh
Jaimie Smith
Kate Arkley
Rachael Comer

Research Projects:

Access to Post-primary Teaching (APT)   

Principle Investigator(s): Dr Manuela Heinz, Dr. Elaine Keane
Project Partners: School of Education, NUI Galway and St. Angela’s College Sligo.  Project website
Funded by: HEA

Activating Social Empathy 

Activating Social Empathy is an interactive, student-focused, social and emotional learning programme, which was developed by Dr Ciara Boylan and Professor Pat Dolan in 2017 as a resource tool for post-primary schools, forming part of the Junior Cycle Wellbeing Programme.  The programme is currently being evaluated formally through a large-scale randomised control trial in Irish post-primary schools. The evalation is a joint initiative between the Child and Family Research Centre and the School of Education. Project Website

Principle Investigator(s): Dr. Niamh Flynn, Emer Davitt
Project Partners: School of Education and UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway   

Big Ideas for Better Schools: Leading 'big issue' transformation in schools - Diversity, Democracy and Equity

This project aims to co-design and develop school leaders and school staff knowledge and understanding of three core themes - democracy, diversity and equity. 

Principle Investigator(s): Prof. Gerry MacRuaircDr Manuela Heinz, Dr. Cornelia Connolly
Project Partners: School of Education, NUI Galway (Project lead); Claregalway Community College and schools and universities from Oslo, Krakow, Murcia
Funded by: Erasmus+ (2019-2021)

Bridging Worlds - New Learning Spaces for New Times

This project aims bridge the gap between formal and non-formal learning context and space. While the focus is on all learners, the project has a core objective of enhancing and reimagining the educational infrastructure around learning spaces for marginalised and disadvantaged learners who typically struggle. 

Principle Investigator(s): Dr. Cornelia Connolly, Dr. Cliona MurrayProf. Gerry MacRuairc, Dr Bernadine Brady and Prof. Pat Dolan
Project Partners: School of Education; UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre; Access Centre NUI Galway; Insight Centre for Data Analystics and Foróige 
Funded by: Reinvent Ireland (2020)

Life Two

Principle Investigator(s): Dr Manuela Heinz, Dr. Elaine Keane, Prof. Gerry MacRuairc
Project Partners: Centro Studi Villa Montesca, Italy; EGCED Turkey;  Universidad San Jorge, Spain;  Centre For Educational Initiatives, Bulgaria;  EDRA Greece; NUIG, Ireland; EDEX Cyprus; Stichting Reflexion, Netherlands.
Funded by: Erasmus+ (2019-2021)

Schooling at Home

This project captured the perspectives and experiences of Primary and Second-level students and their parents 'schooling at home'. Project Website

Principle Investigator(s): Dr. Niamh Flynn, Emer DavittDr Manuela Heinz, Dr. Elaine KeaneProf. Gerry MacRuairc

Other 'Education, Culture and Society' projects: 

Attract, Transition, Succeed (ATS)

‘Attract-Transition-Succeed’: a €1 million PATH3 project aimed at supporting students from underrepresented backgrounds to progress to third level study. 

Principle Investigator(s): Dr Paul Flynn
Project Partners: 
NUI Galway, GMIT, LYIT, IT Sligo
Funded by: 

Diversity in Initial Teacher Educaiton (DiTE)  Project website

Principle Investigator(s): Dr Manuela Heinz, Dr. Elaine Keane
Funded by: 

EERA philosophy of education summer school

EERA are funding a philosophy of education season school in Galway for 2 years

Principle Investigator(s): Dr Ian Munday
Funded by: 

Book series of short form books

Principle Investigator(s): Dr Ian Munday
Funded by: 
Bloomsbury Press

Ecologies of Knowledge in the European Education Space

Principle Investigator(s): Dr. Cliona Murray
Project Partners: NUI Galway, University of Nottingham, University of Naples

Minority language education in a newly diverse Ireland: a (missed) opportunity to connect communities?  

This project takes the role of the Irish language in the school curriculum as a lens through which to explore the relationship between minority language and identity. The data stemmed from a public consultation on a proposed change in the policy on exemption from the compulsory study of Irish carried out by the research team in 2018/19.

Principle Investigator(s): Dr Naimh Flynn, Dr. Cliona MurrayMs. Emer Davitt
Project Partners: NUI Galway, Marino Institute of Education.
Funded by: DES


In this project staff and students from the MGO create classroom activities and resources for junior cycle Irish based on material from Bailiúchán na Scol in the National Folklore Collection. 

Principle Investigator(s): Ms. Emer Davitt, Breandán MacGearailt
Project Partners: COGG, Tuairisc.ie
Funded by: COGG

Filíocht na Sraithe Sóisearaí 

In this project staff and students from the MGO create classroom activities and resources for junior cycle Irish based on poems that are on the Irish specification for junior cycle.  

Principle Investigator(s): Ms. Emer DavittBreandán MacGearailt
Project Partners: COGG, Tuairisc.ie
Funded by: COGG