Projects per year
I joined UEA's School of Education and Lifelong Learning in 2013 in order to lead its expanding postgraduate studies suite and develop research in the area of sociology of educational and youth studies. Before coming to UEA, I held positions at Middlesex University (Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer), Birmingham City University (Visiting Lecturer), University of East London (research associate and then research fellow) and led two modules at UCL Institute of Education.
My academic background is inter-disciplinary and diverse. I hold a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy, Education and Psychology (University of Ioannina, Greece), a Master's in Sociology (University of Bristol), a Master's in social and educational research (UCL Institute of Education), a PhD in Sociology of Education (UCL Institute of Education) and a PGCert in Higher Education (Middlesex University).
Before joining academia, I interned at the Ministry of Justice, London, taught at various independent primary and secondary schools in London and worked as a consultant for a German-based company offering evaluation, assessment and advice to multinational enterprises in the UK.
I have won a number of competitive awards of national (e.g. 1+3 ESRC-funded scholarship), international (e.g. Marie Curie fellowship, jointly funded by the EU and the Central European University) and cross-national distinction (e.g. fellowship sponsored by the Universities of Lecce, Italy, and Ioannina, Greece). I have designed and delivered workshops, developed resources and participated in international projects and events aiming to explore the role of critical education in educational and social change. I am an editor (former deputy chief editor) of the Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies (JCEPS), editorial board member of the SoJo Journal: Educational Foundations and Social Justice Education, a regular reviewer for the Czech Science Foundation, a fellow of the Center for Contemporary Immigration Studies, University of California, San Diego, USA, and a fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK.
Some of my publications include a monograph, namely Social Change and Education in Greece: A Study in Class Struggle Dynamics (2013, New York: Palgrave Macmillan) and a high-profile UNESCO-commissioned report on The Education for Roma: the potential of inclusive, curriculum-based innovation to improve learning outcomes (published as part of the UNESCO 2013/14 Education for All: Global Monitoring report).
I have published in various international journals, such as the British Journal of Sociology of Education, Ethnicities, Journal of Youth Studies, Research in Comparative and International Education Journal, Romani Studies, Educação e Realidade. Some of my work has been translated into other languages and my publications appear in English, Greek, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.
My current research interests span different fields and my research focuses on educational and social issues in the UK, Greece, Brazil and Chile (for more see 'Research').
Co-convenor of the Activism in Sociology interest group, British Sociological Association.
External examiner of the Erasmus Mundus MA/Mgr. Special and Inclusive Education, University of Roehampton.
External Examiner of the MA in Education and Human Rights, UCL Institute of Education.
Editor and former deputy chief of the Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies (JCEPS).
MA Degrees Director (Director of studies for 3 MA programmes)
Course Director of the MA in Education:Learning, Pedagogy and Assessment
Enterprise and Engagement Coordinator (EDU)
Member of the Social Sciences Faculty Executive Committee for Enterprise
Plagiarism Officer (former)
I teach on the BA Education, MA Education and EdD programmes.
More specifically, I am the module leader of ‘Pedagogies in Educational Contexts: Perspectives and Practices', core module for the MA in Education: Learning, Pedagogy and Assessment, module tutor of 'Digital and Global Perspectives in Education', core BA Education module and I contribute to the Doctorate in Education (EdD).
I supervise students on the MA Education: Learning, Pedagogy and Assessment.
I also supervise EdD and PhD students.
Preferred areas of supervision are:
- educational and socio-economic inequalities
- social mobility, social stratification, aspirations, lifechances and education
- minority education
- critical education/critical pedagogy
- social theory
- higher education and labour market transition
- social movements and youth cultures
Key Research Interests
My research focuses on topics that fall under various disciplinary fields, such as sociology, education and their intersection (e..g sociology of education), international development, studies in political economy, social movements and social theory.
More specifically, I have followed threads that have explored the following issues:
- the role of education in social mobility and lifechances of diverse groups (see below)
- educational disparities across the social class, ethnic, gender and age divides
- the education of minority groups and minorities in education (especially in Europe)
- Gypsy/Roma/Travellers and issues of educational and social inclusion
- inclusion, inequalities and social and educational policy
More recently, I have been researching various social movements in Europe and Latin America. I am interested in the following issues:
- Knowledge generation, epistemology and social justice
- Learning with and through social movements
- Higher Education, policy change and student protests
- Academic activism and resistance
I have received funding for several individual or group research projects.
In 2016 I led a project that aimed to develop the professional development portfolio of the School of Education and Lifelong Learning, UEA. Dean for Enterprise, UEA. £2,641.
In the same year, I led another project aimed to develop consultancy services offered by the School of Education and Lifelong Learning, UEA. Dean for Enterprise, UEA. £2,483.
In 2015, the Earlham Institute (former Genome Analysis Centre) funded a project on food poverty in higher education (funds covered salary and research expenses for a research fellow for 4 months).
In 2015, I was a member of an international team that received funding from the Brazilian Ministry of Education to conduct research in new pedagogies and innovative methodologies. This project is ongoing and findings were disseminated in May 2016 at UEA and in September 2015 in Fortaleza, Brazil.
In 2014, I received a travel grant to conduct a research visit to Chile (Santiago and Valparaiso) in order to explore the Chilean education movement. Universities Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET). £1,500.
In 2014, I was a member of a team that bidded successfully to the British Association for International and Comparative Education (BAICE) for a project that involved the dissemination of research and organisation of seminars on challenging deficit discourses in international education and development (co-organised by the Literacy and Development Group, UEA, and the University of Leeds). £1,500.
In 2014, I received a research grant to conduct research on the student movements in Greece and the UK. School of Education and Lifelong Learning, UEA. £1,000.
In 2013, I was commissioned a high-profile report on curriculum-based innovations to improve learning outcomes for Roma children (part of UNESCO’s high-profile 2013/14 report ‘Education for All Global Monitoring: Teaching and learning: Achieving quality for all’). UNESCO (lead researcher). €4,000.
In 2012, I won a research grant that allowed me to conduct a research visit to Utrecht University and complete a monograph published in 2013.Middlesex University. £5,400.
Key Research Interests
KEYNOTE or INVITED TALKS/LECTURES/SEMINARS (selected and strictly after 2014)
– 07/04/2016: Panel member “Activist, Radical, Public: Sociology’s Alternative Futures?”. British Sociological Association Annual Conference. Aston University, Birmingham, 6-8 April 2016.
– 15/01/2016: Keynote speaker “Learning from and with the education movements in Greece and Brazil: resistance, hope and pedagogy”. International seminar 'Can we learn together? Researching the ‘everyday’ in education', UCL Institute of Education, London.
– 07/09/2015: Keynote speaker “Educação, resistencia y alternativas na Grécia, Inglaterra e Chile”. 'IX Semana de Educação', Fundação Universidade Estadual do Ceará, Limoeiro, Brazil.
– 04/09/2015: Keynote speaker “A Partir Política Convencional para Movimentos Sociais: Grécia entre Austeridade e Esperança”. International seminar at Fundação Universidade Estadual do Ceará, FUNECE, Fortaleza, Brazil.
– 31/08/2015: Keynote speaker “Movimentos sociais e pedagogia crítica na Grécia: resistência e alternativas”. International seminar 'Movimento docente, resistência política, educação popular',Faculdade de Educação, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Brazil.
– 28/08/2015: Keynote speaker “Movimentos Sociais e resistência politica na Europa: articulações e diálogos com a America Latina”. Organised by the Encontro de educação popular (Coletivo Ação Direta em Educação Popular/ Mangueira-UERJ, Brazil.
– 2204/2105: Keynote speaker ‘Challenging deficit discourses in international education and development’. University of Leeds (event funded by the British Association for International and Comparative Education, BAICE).
– 28/11/2014: Keynote talk ‘Education, resistance and social change in the European periphery: the case of Greece’. Seminar presentation, School of International Development, UEA.
– 04/11/2014: Keynote talk ‘El movimiento estudiantil Griego y el movimiento Ingles. Resistencia y alternativas’. Universidad de Valparaiso, Valparaiso, Chile.
- 11/04/2013: Panel discussion on social change and education. Peloponnese University, Corinth, Greece.
– 09/04/2014: Keynote talk ‘Εκπαίδευση και εκσυγχρονισμόs’ ('Education and modernisation'). University of Central Greece, Lamia, Greece.
– 22/01/2014: Keynote talk ‘Between neo-fascism and poverty: education and hope in Greece in times of debtocracy’. MERD seminar series, University of East London.
Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals
In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):
Doctor of Philosophy, University of London
Award Date: 1 Jan 2009
Master of Research, University of London
Award Date: 1 Jan 2005
Master of Science, University of Bristol
Award Date: 1 Jan 2002
Bachelor of Science, University of Ioannina
Award Date: 1 Jan 1999
- L Education (General)
- critical education
- critical pedagogy
- sociology of education
- HM Sociology
- social class
- H Social Sciences (General)
- youth movements
- social movements
- LB2300 Higher Education
- comparative education
- international education
Dive into details
Select a country/territory to view shared publications and projects
- 2 Finished
1/08/14 → 31/12/14
Democratizing politics and politicizing education: Critical pedagogy for active citizenship in the Taiwanese Sunflower MovementThemelis, S. & Hsu, T-C., Jul 2021, In: Education, Citizenship and Social Justice. 16, 2, p. 180-194 15 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile1 Citation (SciVal)15 Downloads (Pure)
Mendes, E., Costa, E. R., Themelis, S. & de Carvalho, S. M. G., 2021, In: Beijing International Review of Education. 2, 4, p. 571-589 19 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile1 Downloads (Pure)
Rodríguez-Fernández, J. R. & Themelis, S., 30 Apr 2021, In: Australian Journal of Adult Learning. 61, 1, p. 63-85 23 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-review
Critical Reflections on the Language of Neoliberalism in Education: Dangerous Words and Discourses of PossibilityThemelis, S., 30 Dec 2020, Routledge.
Research output: Book/Report › Book
Spyros Themelis (Keynote/plenary speaker), Iulius Rostas (Invited speaker), Gargi Bhattacharyya (Keynote/plenary speaker), Mariângela Graciano (Keynote/plenary speaker) & Susan Halford (Chair)22 Apr 2022
Activity: Participating in or organising an event › Invited talk
1 Feb 2022 → 30 Jun 2022
Activity: Consultancy › Consultancy (in kind)
Spyros Themelis (Presenter)Jan 2022 → Dec 2023
Activity: Other activity types › Other
Homage to Paolo Freire’s centennial/em homenagem aos 100 de Paulo Freire, International expert seminar
Spyros Themelis (Keynote/plenary speaker)16 Dec 2021 → …
Activity: Participating in or organising an event › Participation in conference