Franziska Lessky, member of the Department for Higher Education Research, was invited as plenary speaker at the international conference “(Re)connecting, (Re)building: Higher Education in Transformative Times” of the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE) (Dec 6th – 10th 2021).
The plenary “Centring Students in Higher Education: Access, Equality, and Making Change” grasped students’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. The session invited reflections from three speakers who work to create space for student voices and experiences—especially those most marginalised within the student body. The plenary speakers discussed ways in which social, political, and economic developments – including the COVID-19 pandemic – have impacted students’ experience of and access to higher education, as well as considered possible opportunities for positive change which have been presented during and since the pandemic. Harriet Moore (Student Union President and Student Governor at Plymouth College of Art), Dr. Chantelle Jessica Lewis (University of Oxford) and Franziska Lessky reflected on educational equity and equal access, including how students can be involved as interlocutors in their own education.