Sean Higgins came to the field of education and international development having worked as a secondary school teacher for twenty years in different contexts in England. He worked as a history teacher and assistant headteacher in charge of teacher professional development and citizenship/lifeskills education. Developing a partnership between a school in inner-city London with a charity school for war affected youngsters in Freetown catalysed his interest in the transformative potential of education, not only in so called peaceful societies but also in post-conflict contexts. This led to teacher training, curriculum development and teaching with several charities and NGOs in Sierra Leone.
Sean has worked for UNICEF and the International Rescue Committee on teacher education and curriculum development. He recently wrote the Sierra Leone conflict analysis report for UNICEF’s Education and Peacebuilding Programme and co-authored a literature review for the Department of International Development UK, The Political Economy of Education in Conflict-Affected Contexts. Sean has also recently contributed as a junior researcher to investigating the agency of teachers and youth as peacebuilders in Myanmar as part of IDS’s contribution to a Research Consortium on Education and Peacebuilding in conflict affected contexts. This is a partnership between UNICEF and the University of Amsterdam, the University of Sussex and Ulster University, and is part of the Peacebuilding, Education and Advocacy Programme (PBEA), which is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.Between 2014 and 2016 he has been a researcher for the Research Consortium on Education and Peacebuilding.
His earlier research focused on cultural politics addressing connections between painting, poetry and the contested space of the political – not entirely unrelated to field of education and development. He is now particularly interested in the agency of teachers as peacebuilders and in drawing on the inter-disciplinary frameworks and theoretical richness of various approaches within cultural political economy to locate and understand them in this complex role.
- Lopes Cardozo, M.T.A., Higgins, S. & Le Mat, M.L.J. (2016). Youth Agency and Peacebuilding: An Analysis of the Role of Formal and Non-Formal Education. Synthesis report on findings from Myanmar, Pakistan, South Africa and Uganda, Research Consortium on Education and Peacebuilding, University of Amsterdam.
- Novelli, M., Higgins, S. (2016) The violence of peace and the role of education: insights from Sierra Leone, Compare.
- Lopes Cardozo, M.T.A., Higgins, S., Maber, E., Brandt, C.O., Kusmallah, N., Le Mat, M.L.J (2015), Literature Review: Youth Agency, Peacebuilding and Education, University of Amsterdam.
- Novelli, M., Ugur, M., Higgins, S., and Valiente, V. (2014) The Political Economy of Education in Conflict-Affected Contexts, Department of International Development UK.
- Higgins, S. (2011) Conflict Analysis Report for UNICEF’s Education and Peacebuilding Programme in Sierra Leone (unpublished).