Dr April-Louise Pennant
Research Associate

Dr April-Louise Pennant is a Research Associate in the Chair for Critical Studies in Higher Education Transformation (CriSHET) at Nelson Mandela University. Dr April-Louise Pennant is a multiple award-winning scholar-activist and changemaker who completed her ESRC-funded Ph.D. in Education at the University of Birmingham, UK. Her doctoral research focused on the unequal underpinnings and structure of the English education system and the educational journeys and experiences of Black British women graduates within it. Framed by Critical Race Theory and Bourdieu’s theory of practice within the context of Black Feminist epistemology, her research highlights some of the unique challenges encountered by this group which she asserts is rooted in antiblack racism. Additionally, her research emphasises the diversity within the Black African diaspora, where she pays close attention to the graduates’ intersectional (race, ethnicity, cultural, gender and social class) identities, alongside the role of their families and networks throughout their educational trajectories. She concludes her research by critiquing the narrow understandings of educational ‘success’- reinforced by meritocracy and neoliberalism- positing that it fails to acknowledge or address the inherent inequalities in the education system which disproportionately disadvantages Black British women.

She is a firm believer in the importance of “lifting as you climb”, as well as the transformative power of education- but only if the education system is understood, navigated and utilised effectively. In this way, April-Louise has made it her aim to transform [educational] spaces and places and she passionately uses policy, research and consulting as her medium to do so. She also finds joy in mentoring others in how to ‘successfully’ navigate the education system.

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