Research Staff Interests

Dr Geoff  Bright


Geoff Bright is a Research Fellow at ESRI. A former steel worker and rail worker, he has a work background in trade union, adult and further education and an academic background in philosophy. His PhD study was an ethnography of the intergenerational intersection of class, place and gender as it impacts on education in deindustrialized coalmining communities, and his current work grows out of a lifelong relationship to mining communities and ideas of independent working class education. He is now leading his fourth AHRC Connected Communities funded project in that area, which uses arts-based methods and the idea of a 'social haunting' to co-produce possible futures for such communities. He is also currently involved in the EU funded Partispace project which is looking into "styles and forms of participation" among under 30s, and is a network convener for the ethnography network at the European Education Research Association (EERA). His 2016 article in Ethnography and Education: "The lady is not returning!: Educational precarity and a social haunting in the UK coalfields" won the WCSA international prize for best academic article.

Living something of a double life, he also works in critical cultural practice as an improvising musician, experimental vocalist and provocateur and is associated with the following projects and collectives: Oppositional Defiance Disorder; Alchemy/Schmalchemy; Dividual Machine and the anti-choir Juxtavoices. In one such guise he co-curated the large-scale (50+ instruments/voices) sonic occupation of a former steel works: Magna: Node/Flow/Mass.

He welcomes inquiries about doctoral supervision in overlapping studies of class, gender, community, affect and psychosocial aspects of deindustrialization; the interdisciplinary field of New Working Class Studies; and arts-based community co-production.

Research Interests

Education ethnography; methodological development in ethnography; improvisation and research; critical pedagogy in youth provision; class and affect in resistance and refusal in schooling.

Research Projects

2011-2013 Associate at iCEGS,
EU Leonardo Innovation Transfer Programme.

2009 Research Associate at the International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCEGS) at the University of Derby, Staffordshire
Year 12 Apprentices, Report and Evaluation

2009 Research Associate at iCEGS, HIEF Project
14-19 Policy

2009 Research Associate at the iCEGS, with Bill Law and David Davies – production of draft iCEGS Occasional Paper
Young People's Progression: a re-think piece


Bright, N. Geoffrey (forthcoming) Youth and Educational Disaffection in an English Coal-Mining Community: an intergenerational ethnography. London: Tufnell Press

Series: Ethnography and Education Series Editors, Dennis Beach, Bob Jeffrey, Geoff Troman, Geoffrey Walford

Refereed Journal Articles

Bright, N. Geoffrey (2012) A practice of concrete utopia? School disaffection, refusal and the possibility of 'redemptive remembering' in a UK coalfield. Power and Education 4(3) pp315-326 online here

Bright, N. Geoffrey (2012) 'Sticking together!' Policy activism from within a UK coal-mining community. Journal of Educational Administration and History Special Issue: Policy activism 44(3) pp 221-236 online here

Bright, N. Geoffrey (2011) "Non-servile virtuosi" in insubordinate spaces: School disaffection, refusal and resistance in a former English coalfield. European Education Research Journal Special issue on agency 10(4) pp502-515 online here

Bright, N. Geoffrey (2011) 'Off The Model': Resistant spaces, school disaffection and 'aspiration' in a UK coal-mining community. Children's Geographies 9(1) pp63-78 online here

Bright, N. Geoffrey (2010) "Just doing stuff"? Place, memory and youth educational disaffection in a UK Former coalfield. International Journal on School Disaffection 7(1) pp44-52

Bright, N. Geoffrey (2010) Writing in-bye and out-bye: doing autoethnography, in Garland, P., Larson, A., Lofstrom, E and Michalak, J. (eds) Perspectives on European Educational Policy and Practice: papers from the Erasmus Intensive Programme Summer School, Haapsalu, Estonia, August 2008 Sheffield Hallam University Papers in Education, Sheffield: SHU Press pp67-81

Book Chapters

Bright, N.G. (2012) "It's not a Factory!" Performative educational provision for marginalised and excluded youth in a former coal-mining community, in Jeffrey, B. & Troman, G. (eds) Performativity across UK Education: ethnographic cases of its effects, agency and reconstructions Painswick: E & E Publishing order here

Other Publications

Hughes, D., Davies, D., Bright, G. and Dyke, S. (2009) 'NEET Speaks - Report of LSC funded research project in Doncaster MBC', International Centre of Guidance Studies (iCEGS), University of Derby

Bright, G., Dyke, S., Davies, D. and Hughes D. (2010) 'NEET Speaks' in Careers Guidance Today 18, 2 April


link to eSpace publications

Journal & Book Series Editorships & Editorial Board Membership

Co-ordinator for Network 19 (Ethnography) of the European Education Research Association. Peer reviewer for the European Conference of education research (ECER) Peer reviewer for the international journal Ethnography and Education

Editorial Board: International; Journal of School Disaffection

Reviewer: Ethnography and Education and Power and Education

Keynote Addresses or Prestigious Public Lectures

School of Education Ethnography Colloqium, Deakin University March 2013

International Recognition

Visiting Research Fellowship., School of Education, University of Ballarat

Conference Papers

Rhetoric and Politics. University of Braga: Portugal, 2013

'Using affect theory to re-think school disaffection.' International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, May 2012

''What rough beast…?' Monstrous practices of dissent and the ends of conviviality.' Gary Anderson (Free University of Liverpool/Institute for Art and Dissent at Home, UK) Geoff Bright (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK) and Gillian Whiteley (Loughborough University, UK) "Contested Democracy": Contestation and Participation in the English-speaking World, at the Institut du Monde Anglophone, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris 3, September 2012

'Reclaiming 'resilience' as a site of critical resisitance/desisistance.' British Education Research Conference (with Alison Ronan, Richard McHugh and Ali Hanbury) University of Manchester, September 2012

'Reclaiming 'resilience' in European youth support practice.' (with Alison Ronan, Richard McHugh and Ali Hanbury)European Education Research Conference, University of Cadiz, September 2012

' 'You'd got to be a bit of a combatant': Education, aspiration and 'counter aspiration' in a UK coalfield.' Paper presented to Power, Discourse and Education conference. University of Plymouth, April 2011

'Seancing voices of the uncounted: a duet on affect, resistance and 'redemptive' remembering in a UK coal-mining area.' Paper presented at Spaces of alterity. University of Nottingham, 2011

''Ghosted bodily matter[s]': Affect and school 'disaffection' in a UK coal-mining area.' Paper presented at BERA, University of London, 2011

'A practice of concrete utopia? School disaffection, refusal and the possibility of 'redemptive remembering' in a UK coalfield.' Paper presented at ECER, University of Berlin, 2011

' "It's not a factory!": Performativity in education and support provision for marginalised and excluded youth in a former coal-mining community.' Paper presented at Oxford Ethnography Conference, University of Oxford, 2011

'On refusing to be plastic: Women, girls and school disaffection in a former UK coalfield' presented at the Oxford Ethnography Conference, New College, University of Oxford, September 2010

'"Non- Servile Virtuosi" in Insubordinate Spaces: School disaffection, refusal and resistance in a former English coalfield' presented in the symposium Bottom-up approaches to agency in Education, ECER, University of Helsinki, August 2010

'Off "The Model": Resistant Places, Unremembering and School Disaffection in a Former UK Coalfield' presented at Geographies of Education conference, University of Loughborough, September 2009

'"Not takin' no shit". Disaffected Masculinities: Resistance and Schooling in a former UK Coal Mining Community' presented at the Oxford Ethnography Conference, St Hilda's College, University of Oxford, September 2009

'Ghost Stories and Love Songs: Autoethnography as an "Affective" Space in Qualitative Educational Research' presented at European Conference on Education Research, University of Vienna, September 2009

'Refle[x]ions on the Margins: Researchers, Participants and the Affective Space of "Hearing and Being Heard", "Looking and Being Seen"' a joint authored paper with Sarah Dyke, Manchester Metropolitan University, presented at ECER University of Vienna, September 2009

'Ghost Stories and Love Songs: Autoethnography in a PhD' presented at PEEEP 2009 Intensive Programme, University of Tallin, Haapsalu College, Estonia, August 2009

'"Doin' Stuff" - Educational Resistance among Disaffected Young Men in a Former UK Coalfield' presented at the European Educational Research Association Conference, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, September 2008

Taught Courses

MRes Education and Society. From Sept 2013

Areas of Post-graduate Supervision


Postgraduate Students Supervised

PhD Cassie Earl – Joint supervision with John Schostak
EdD Paul Booth – joint supervision with Cathie Pierce


Position/Post: Research Fellow
Tel: 0161-247-2092
Location: Brooks 1.06
Mobile: 07825 669799