Anna Pilson – “Participation to Transformation to Inclusion?”

In Students by Debbie Curtis

  • Durham University
  • Education

This empirical study explores the development of an innovative participatory research methodology, related to Kellett’s (2005a; 2005b, 2006) and Fielding’s (2001b, 2004) work on ‘Children-as-Researchers’, for conducting research with a cohort of pupils with a visual impairment. Its key aim is that following the development of research skills, pupil-participants will take ownership of a collaborative project. Participants will plan, create, deliver and evaluate a resource to promote inclusive practice amongst Initial Teacher Training (ITT) students, which could potentially result in their self-empowerment (Davis and Watson, 2000). The project also aims to provide a practical resource for the enhancement of SEND training provision within ITT, providing student teachers with the opportunity to learn directly from pupils, and thereby improve their knowledge and confidence in teaching pupils with SEND. A successful model could have wider national significance for inclusive education – its design could be adapted for other cohorts of children with SEND and also has potential for use in continuing professional development activities for teachers.


I am a Qualified Teacher of Children with a Visual Impairment working in an advisory capacity with children with a visual impairment aged from birth to 18 years old, their families and schools. I completed my MA on facilitating collaborative practitioner research to promote inclusive education at Durham School of Education in 2012. Research interests include inclusive education, disability studies, visual impairment and its educational impact, participatory action research, practitioner-led and school-based research, qualitative research methodology. I have a cross-institutional supervisory team, led by Dr Rosie Ridgway (Primary Supervisor) at Durham University, with Dr Pamela Woolner and Professor Liz Todd at Newcastle University. The project also benefits from the support of my collaborative partner RNIB’s research team.
Professional publications:
I have written several articles about inclusive education of children with visual impairment to for RNIB’s website, which can be found here: