Monday, 4 April 2016

New external examiner for MA CEESA

As part of rethinking and relaunching the MA in Community Education, Equality and Social Activism we are delighted to announce that Ian Manborde of Ruskin College Oxford has agreed to act as our new external examiner.

The extern has the role of reviewing how student dissertations and assignments are marked, to make sure not just that the marks are fair but in a wider sense that the assessment process, and ultimately the course itself, reflect the best practice in the field. For a practitioner-oriented MA for activists like our own, this means verifying that the process of the course is genuinely contributing to activists’ own learning, to movement processes and community education and that we are working well with the very wide range of life experiences and movement and community struggles that people bring to the course.

We are very happy that Ian has agreed to do this for us. Ian brings a long background both in social movements and in popular education to the role, having started out as a trade unionist  in the 1980s and then worked in workers’ and TU education for over twenty years. He directs Ruskin’s MA in Global Labour andSocial Change, one of a small number of sister courses of our own MA which have to work with the challenge of combining academic rigour in theory and research with a real practice-oriented bite for the problems that students are trying to think about. Ian has thus spent many years supporting radical education for social change, and we hope to learn a lot from working with him. More on Ian at

Since Ruskin’s course is ten years old and ours is five, it is by way of being a big sister; where Maynooth has had particularly strong relationships with community activism and environmental movements, Ruskin College has historically strong relationships with trade union movements across the UK, EU and internationally. Their course has recently undergone its own rethinking and reorientation process, and the CEESA course team have learned a lot from discussions with Ian and his colleagues at Ruskin around this. Some people may also have caught him at our recent Dublin event, “What education do union organisers and other activists need?” or during his previous visits to Dublin. His reflections on the event are at

We have also thanked our first external examiner, EurigScandrett, whose term is now up. Eurig’s courses in environmental, gender and social justice at Queen Margaret University in Scotland were an inspiration for founding CEESA and we are very grateful for all the work he has done supporting CEESA through our first five years. We have learned a lot through our many exchanges during this time and the connection will not be lost.

We look forward to working with Ian as we relaunch the course, and keeping on asking ourselves difficult questions about how best we can meet activists’ needs and support the development of popular education and social movements in Ireland and beyond.