Dr Oliver Belas

Lecturer in Education

Oliver Belas

I have been an educator – working in HE, secondary education, and HE again – since 2005.

After nearly a decade in secondary education, working as an SEND classroom assistant and teacher of English (Literature and Language), Creative Writing, and the EPQ, I returned to HE in January 2018, joining the University of Bedfordshire’s School of Education and English Language (SEEL).

My research interests are in philosophy and education (especially issues of identity and embodiment, aesthetics [particularly writing practices], democracy, justice, and morality [broadly construed]), English and Creative Writing. As the current Teaching and Learning Representative for SEEL, I have an active interest in pedagogical matters. I am also a keen hobbyist strength athlete, which interest is now finding its way into my research (my work on the body, embodiment, embodied knowledge...).

I am unit leader for Philosophy of Education (EDC163-3) and Developing Teaching Practice (EDC 063-2), and I coordinate the Foundation Year programme for SEEL. I am interested - generally but with respect particularly to that third role - in matters concerning student experience and widening participation in/access to HE.

I am a member of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain (PESGB), and I support Dr Neil Hopkins coordinating the Bedford branch of the PESGB. I convene the PESGB's Research and Writing Retreat, and am lead editor of the Society's blog (please feel free to contact me with submission ideas).

Qualifications

  • PhD: Royal Holloway , University of London (2008)
  • MA: Royal Holloway , University of London (2004)
  • BA Hons, English Literature: Royal Holloway , University of London (2003)
  • PGCert, Secondary English: Middlesex University/London North Consortium (2011)
  • Graduate Teacher Programme: Middlesex University/London North Consortium (2011)
  • Certificate in Skills of Teaching to Inspire Learning: Royal Holloway, University of London (2006)

Research Interests/Projects

  • Philosophy of Education (especially literature and language, knowledge, moral education, embodiment)
  • The work of Ernst of Cassirer
  • Secondary English studies
  • Creative Writing (practice, philosophy, and pedagogy)

Publications

Forthcoming/Under Review

  • "Aesthetic Education: Some Recent Thoughts on Some Old Problems." Forthcoming Nov./Dec. 2019, BERA Blog (BERA blog home page here)
  • "Experiment and Tradition in the Creative Writing Classroom."

Published

  • "Knowledge, the Curriculum, and Democratic Education: The Curious Case of School English." 2019. Research in Education 103(1). 49-67. DOI: Access here
  • [with Dr Neil Hopkins] "Subject English as Citizenship Education." 2019. BERJ 45(2). 320-339. DOI: Access here
  • "The Educational Implications of Lionel Shriver's Attack on Diversity 'Quotas'." 2018. BERA Blog. 12 July. Access here.
  • "Education, Knowledge, and Symbolic Form." 2017. Oxford Review of Education. DOI: Access here
  • "On Tacit Knowledge for Philosophy of Education," Studies in Philosophy of Education. 2017. DOI: Access here
  • "Creative Writing: Mapping the Subject." 2017. The Use of English 69(9).
  • "The Perfectionist Call of Intelligibility: Secondary English, Creative Writing, and Moral Education." 2016. Philosophical Inquiry in Education 24(1). Access here
  • "Practically Speaking: Doing English in a Knowledge Economy." 2016. The Use of English 68(1). 56-63.
  • "Popular Science, Pragmatism, and Conceptual Clarity." 2014. European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 6(1). Access here
  • "Genre." The Encyclopedia of Literary and Cultural Theory, vol. II, ed. Michael Ryan (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011)
  • "Performativity." Encyclopedia of Literary and Cultural Theory, vol. II, ed. Ryan (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011)
  • "Chester Himes’s The End of a Primitive: Exile, Exhaustion, Dissolution." 2010. Journal of American Studies 44(2). 377-390.

I have also published academic and literary reviews (here, here, and here), journalistic pieces, short fiction and literary non-fiction.

Conferences/Seminars/Presentations

  • "A Response to Hopkins's Democratic Socialism and Education," PESGB London, 30 October 2019
  • "Soma-Semiotics, Physical Literacy, and Education," Postgraduate Research Conference in Education and Applied Linguistics," University of Bedfordshire, 18 June 2019
  • [with Lewis Stockwell] "Bodies of Work," PESGB Bedford, 21 May 2019
  • "Looking for Buddy" [ficto-critical presentation], Tales of Terror, University of Warwick, 21 March 2019
  • [with Dr Neil Hopkins] "Subject English as Citizenship Education," Researching for Social Justice and Educational Improvement, BERA/IREd, University of Bedfordshire, 21 June 2018
  • "Experiment and Tradition in the Creative Writing Classroom," PESGB Annual Conference 2018
  • “A Writing to Come? Innovation between the Classroom and the Workshop,” Edge Poetics: A Symposium on Innovative and Speculative Creative Writing Practices in Higher Education, University of Bedfordshire, 4 November 2017
  • “Creative Writing, Knowledge, and Emancipatory Pedagogics,”English: Shared Futures, Newcastle, 6 July 2017 (panel: “What Kind of Knowledge is Creative Writing?”)
  • “The Bow and the Lyre: An Introduction to the Work of Ernst Cassirer.” Invited speaker, Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain, University of Bedfordshire, 9 March 2017
  • “On Tacit Knowledge for Philosophy of Education,” Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain Annual Conference, 3 April 2016
  • “Secondary English, Creative Writing, and Knowledge.” Invited speaker, Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain (Bedford), 20 January 2016
  • “Truth, Knowledge, and Secondary English,” British Education Research Association Annual Conference (Belfast), 17 September 2015
  • “Secondary English, Creative Writing, and Moral Education,” Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain Annual Conference, 29 March 2015
  • Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain Research and Writing Retreat, September 2014, July 2015
  • “If This Is Protest...: The End of a Primitive and Chester Himes’s Turn to Genre Fiction,” Rethinking Genre, Royal Holloway, 27 June 2008
  • “Octavia Butler’s Fledgling: Vampires, Race, and Writing in the Era of the ‘War on Terror,’” BAAS Annual Conference, University of Leicester, 21 April 2007
  • Respondent, Dramas and Trauma: Writers Responding to War, video conference, British Council Conversations programme, 3 October 2007
  • “Politics, Ambivalence, and Tolerance in the Work of Octavia Butler,” Cultural Fictions II, Goldsmiths College (University of London), 16 June 2006
  • “Science Fiction as Metaphor, and Metonymy in Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis,” Forensic Futures: Interrogating the Posthuman Subject, Birkbeck College (University of London), 18 March 2006
  • Coordinator, Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain Research and Writing Retreat, 26-28 June 2016
  • Mentor, PESGB Summer School (Roehampton, July 2015)
  • Co-Organizer, with Professor Tim Armstrong (Royal Holloway) and Dr. Elizabeth English (Cardiff Met.), of Rethinking Genre: The Politics of Cultural Form, 26-27 June 2008

Contact Details

T: +44 (0)1234 793403
E: oliver.belas@beds.ac.uk

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Photo credit: David Holbrook

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School of Education and English Language
University of Bedfordshire
Bedford campus
Polhill Avenue
Bedford
MK41 9EA
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