Invited Presentations on Relational Spaces and Postpandemic Impact, Professor Paul Downes
Professor Paul Downes, Director of the Educational Disadvantage Centre gave an invited presentation, Rethinking systems in human experience and schools as relational spaces, at the International Webinar, The Professions of the Systemic Approach, LACT University of Paris 8, March 23, 2023. LACT is a central teaching and research center in Île-de-France in the field of humanities.
Professor Downes highlighted the need for systems theory to take a ‘spatial turn’ to treat space itself as a system, contrary to traditions in Western thought that treat as empty. Building on his book, Downes, P. (2020) Reconstructing agency in developmental and educational psychology: Inclusive Systems as Concentric Space. New York/London/New Delhi: Routledge, https://www.routledge.com/Reconstructing-Agency-in-Developmental-and-Educational-Psychology-Inclusive/Downes/p/book/9781138158856 he emphasised the need to treat concepts as inclusion and exclusion in education as spatial systemic issues, beyond Bronfenbrenner’s concentric systems framework. In doing so, he related his own work to a range of French thinkers, including Descartes, Lévi-Strauss, Bachelard and Descola.
Professor Downes also gave an invited Presentation, Current Directions in Addressing the Postpandemic Impact on Young People in Schools Experiencing Poverty and Socio-Economic Exclusion: International and National Perspectives, for the JMB (Joint Managerial Body), DEIS Schools Seminar 2023, 23rd March 2023. He was interviewed by Ann Marie Leonard, Principal of Beneavin College, Finglas, after his presentation. A central issue in his presentation was the need for specialist emotional counsellors/therapists in both primary and secondary DEIS schools as part of a postpandemic response that addresses the needs of students experiencing trauma and adverse childhood experiences.