Developing a creative pedagogy to understand the 'university experience' of students with a criminal record


  • Helena Gosling Liverpool John Moores University, Faculty of Arts, Professional & Social Studies
  • Sarah Maclennan Liverpool John Moores University, Faculty of Arts, Professional & Social Studies



Despite the presence of a widening participation agenda, people with criminal convictions face a number of barriers accessing and participating in higher education (Office for Students, 2019). This may be due to unspent criminal convictions (Unlock, 2018), limited confidence and self-esteem (Champion and Noble, 2016), a lack of previous educational attainment (Prison Reform Trust, 2017) and/or presence of risk-adverse, bureaucratic, university admission processes (Bhattacharya et al., 2013). As a result, people with criminal convictions are not only under-represented throughout the sector (Unlock, 2018) but completely overlooked when it comes to understanding their university experience. To address this longstanding issue, Dr Helena Gosling, Professor Lol Burke and Sarah MacLennan have developed an educational opportunity for criminal justice academics, students, practitioners and service users to come together and learn from one another through lived experience, professional practice and Creative Pedagogy. Drawing upon our leadership of Learning Together: an introduction to Criminal Justice, the presentation will explore a series of questions that challenge the extent to which equality of opportunity extends to all members of society, and reflect on how research and creative practice captured an authentic student experience.