Thank you for your time in exploring and reading my research blog.

All my degrees have reflected an interdisciplinary journey and continuous study. I have for long crossed academic borders, national contexts and organisational cultures to understand cultural practices of social inclusion in contemporary practices of education, employment and citizenship. I have been qualified as a social worker in 1999, developed my professional practice and expertise in young people and the arts, and completed a second undergraduate degree in Culture and Arts Management (Panteion University in Athens) and a Master’s degree in Education: Culture, Language and Identity, graduated with distinction from Goldsmiths University of London.

A critical educational approach to social justice of young people has informed my collaborative research at the frontiers of social policy, arts education, museum and cultural studies. I started my career in 1998 co-writing and co-creating with young refugees a shadow theatre performance in a deprived estate, supported by Evgenios Spatharis (the most prominent shadow theatre artist in Greece) and his museum in North Attica (North Athens). In a professional journey of nearly nineteen years, I have used my foundational knowledge of social work and diverse art forms (visual arts, participatory theatre, documentary and oral history methodologies) to shape meaningful and emancipatory processes with marginalised young people (young offenders, ethnic minority, disabled, looked after) in schools, youth and children services, arts and third-sector organisations. In 2013, I learnt from young people in Barking and Dagenham the value of cultural heritage learning to decide to bring my long-term professional experience into academia.

Since 2015, I have been a doctoral researcher looking at the ways museums enact their programmes and practices in educating and developing young marginalised people deemed as being ‘at risk’,  funded jointly by the Research Centres of Social Justice in Education and Arts and Learning at Goldsmiths College, University of London. At times of drastic social changes, the aim of my study is to explore young people’s experiences of museums and open a reflective dialogue on safer and more inclusive cultural educational processes at the intersection of museum with educational studies.

Ioannis Athanasiou

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