PhD Candidate Brigid Burke on education for sustainable development

Ph.D. Candidate Brigid Burke has co-authored and published an article in the Sustainability, entitled, “Reflecting on Education for Sustainable Development through Two Lenses: Ability Studies and Disability Studies.” The article explores the under-representation of disabled people in Education for Sustainable Development discourse (ESD) and the potential benefits of lessons from Disability and Ability Studies to the field of ESD.

Brigid Burke is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toronto in the Department of Sociology. Her research interests include equity, diversity, and accessibility studies.

We have posted the citation and abstract below. The full article is available here.

Wolbring, G.; Burke, B. Reflecting on Education for Sustainable Development through Two Lenses: Ability Studies and Disability Studies. Sustainability 2013, 5, 2327-2342.

The call for papers asked to cast ―a critical eye on the practice and purpose of sustainability-focused education, and its successes and failures, thus far‖. We approach this task in this paper through two lenses that have not yet been very visible in the education for sustainable development (ESD) discourse. One is the lens of disability studies which is the inquiry around the lived reality of disabled people; the other is the lens of ability studies which among others investigates (a) which abilities are seen as essential in a given context; (b) the dynamic of how an ability expectation consensus is reached, if it is reached and (c) the impact of ability expectations. We conclude that (a) no consensus has been reached within ESD discourses as to the process of how to identify essential abilities and as to a list of abilities seen as important and (b) that disabled people are invisible in the formal and informal ESD discourse. We expect the paper to be of interest to disabled people, ESD scholars, teachers of ESD in different educational settings, students of ESD training, NGOs involved in ESD as well as policy makers involved in ESD.