Building Inclusive Societies: Diversifying Knowledge and Tackling Discrimination through Civil Society Participation in Universities

  • Montenegro Martinez, Marisela (Principal Investigator)
  • Callen Moreu, Blanca (Investigator)
  • Planas Piedra, Francina (Investigator)
  • Ramirez March, Alvaro (Investigator)
  • Callen Moreu, Blanca (Project Manager)
  • Christina Phoebe (Investigator)
  • Deanna Dadusc (Investigator)
  • Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez (Investigator)
  • Karina Fulladosa (Investigator)
  • Liakis, Marina (Investigator)
  • Marina Faherty (Investigator)
  • Myrto Tsilimpounidi (Investigator)
  • Shareen Elnaschie (Investigator)
  • Tejada, Sandra Paola (Investigator)
  • Tejada, Sandra (Investigator)
  • Álvarez, Catalina (Investigator)

Project Details


Higher Education (HE) plays a fundamental role in shaping our subjectivities and social relationships. HE curricula and pedagogies can reproduce discrimination; but they also have the potential to promote social inclusion. BRIDGES addresses how Higher Education Institutions (HEI) can tackle discrimination and promote social inclusion by building relationships with marginalised groups in civil society. To achieve these objectives, BRIDGES constitutes a strategic partnership between HEI and CSO in 4 European countries (Spain, Germany, the UK, and Greece).
Affirming the role of the university as an institution that can promote social inclusion, BRIDGES seeks to strengthen its relationship to Civil Society Organisations (CSO). Specifically, by forging a strategic partnership between HEI and CSO for the transfer of innovative strategies and curricular
development based on the latter’s generally undervalued, yet invaluable experience. The growing consensus that educators lack the appropriate training to successfully integrate newly-arrived migrants in HEI and the broader society inspires BRIDGES to address the lack of attention paid to democratic citizenship and human rights in HEI curricula by innovating tools to strengthen the competencies of future and current HEI educators. Specifically, BRIDGES draws on Participatory Action Research (PAR) methodologies to develop a range of materials geared at making HEI inclusive of socially marginalised groups, in particular EU citizens and residents with migration backgrounds, who encounter barriers due to intersecting discriminations based on ‘race’, ethnicity,
language, religion, citizenship status, gender identity and expression, sexuality, class, age, and disability. In particular, BRIDGES uses the PAR methodology of Narrative Productions (NP), which consists in an horizontal co-production of knowledge involving researchers and research participants on an equitable basis. In practice, BRIDGES methodology will imply day to day collaboration of HEI and CSO in monthly Local Collaboration Sessions, as well as 4 Transnational Workshops in which the different nodes of the project will share their expertise and work in productive exchanges using the methodology of Narrative Productions. This in-presence work will be supported by a virtual interface (the BRIDGES Virtual Lab) that will support the project development and will facilitate the participation of those suffering from mobility restrictions.

As a result of the project, BRIDGES will produce 4 outcomes:
1. BRIDGES Virtual Lab (O1), the primary community engagement and project dissemination tool. The digital suite consists of two distinct elements: (1) Virtual meeting space and campus that takes advantage of existing ICT platforms and networks to support transnational collaboration of the partners and stakeholders. (2) Virtual repository that showcases project activities and outcomes, engages stakeholders to provide feedback and acts as a digital archive of the knowledge generated.
2. BRIDGES Toolkit (O2) on innovative strategies for dismantling structures of exclusion in HE curricula, which can be used by any instructor, in any field, at any EU higher education institution, but also cross-sectorally, by CSO and other institutions providing adult education programmes and staff trainings.
3. BRIDGES Course “Inclusion Without Discrimination” (O3), aimed at current and future HE instructors in the EU which, in turn, will benefit HEI future students. The course will be designed using participatory research methods adapted to curricular design and test-taught by HEI and CSO instructors during year 2 of the project (3 ECTS).
4.BRIDGES Monograph “Diversifying Knowledges, Building Inclusive Societies: Theories and Methods of Narrative Productions” (O3). An open access monograph of narrative productions coauthored by the researchers in partner HEI and CSO working at the intersections of multiple marginalisations across the research sites. The monograph will include a methodological guide to narrative productions and participatory curriculum design, systematising the project’s own research and teaching processes.

In sum, BRIDGES will train educators to make their curricula more diverse and representative of European societies by including perspectives that emphasise the historical processes underpinning contemporary social exclusions. The open access intellectual outcomes (BRIDGES Toolkit, Course, and Monograph) as well as learning activities of BRIDGES underscore the significance of HEI in transforming unequal societies into cohesive ones. The project will develop innovative strategies in order to tackle indirect and direct discrimination in HEI in the partner countries, with an emphasis on curricular development and pedagogical methodology, which can then be transferred to other contexts both within the EU and internationally.
Effective start/end date1/10/1931/07/22

Collaborative partners

  • United African Women Organization in Greece
  • University of Brighton
  • Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen (University of Giessen)
  • Sindihogar- Sindillar (Sindicat)
  • e.V
  • Feminist Autonomous Centre for Research
  • Prism the Gift Fund
  • Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) (lead)


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