Online Seminar – Managing Difficult Conversations in the Classroom

Friday 9 December 2022, 12:30 – 14:00 GMT, online (UK)


The BSC Learning and Teaching Network is delighted to host this free online seminar, that explores a series of pedagogically-informed approaches to managing difficult conversations in learning spaces.

The 90-minute seminar comprises two 30-minute presentations, followed by 30 minutes for questions and networking.

An overview of each presentation is provided below:

Cultivating trauma-informed pedagogies in criminology: Insights from student victim-survivors

Leigh Downes (The Open University)

Many people with lived experience of injustice and violence are drawn to criminology; however, criminology has traditionally kept lived experience and victimisation at its margins. Survivor criminology emphasises the importance of listening to lived experience (Cook et al., 2022), so how can educators hold space for classroom discussions of sensitive and controversial topics with students from different backgrounds and levels of lived experience? I will share findings from an educational research project on how students learn sensitive topics in criminology at The Open University (Downes, Wall & Alvaer 2022) and a digital toolkit co-produced with students and tutors as part of the Positive Digital Practices project. In attending to the experiences of student victim-survivors studying gender-based violence I emphasise how supporting the strengths, capacities, and skills of those of us with lived experience can transform the criminological classroom.

A recent THE Campus article related to the particulars of this presentation can be found at the following link:

An inclusive learning design approach to individual and socially sensitive topics in the classroom

Rachael Burns and Cynthia Meersohn Schmidt (University of York)

With a broad outlook on mental wellbeing in the classroom, we aim to introduce perspectives and strategies that can serve colleagues in Higher and Further Education to introduce and discuss difficult topics in the classroom. We will be drawing from cases from our teaching experience including on topics such as hate crime and debating social anxiety as a medical gaze.

Should you have any queries about this event, please contact Sean Butcher (


Find out more information and book your free place here:

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