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Interview with Professor David Gillborn

Photo: David Gillborn

Professor David Gillborn, Editor, Race Ethnicity and Education

This audio interview is the third in a series of interviews Routledge is conducting with the editors of some of its key Education journals.

The interview page has been split into sections which can be quickly accessed by selecting any of the links below:


These interviews are aimed at students, educational researchers, academics and visitors to the Education Arena website who are interested in particular journals and would like to find out more.

Each interview provides information about the editor in question and details about the creation of their journal and its purpose and scope within the wider sphere of educational research. Each editor is also asked to offer advice, hints and tips to prospective authors who may be hoping to submit papers to their journal.

This third interview is with Professor David Gillborn, recently described as Britain's 'most influential race theorist in education'. David is the founding editor of the Routledge journal Race Ethnicity and Education, an interdisciplinary journal which provides a focal point for international scholarship, research and debate on race and racism in education. It publishes original and challenging research which explores the dynamics of race, racism and ethnicity in education policy, theory and practice. The journal has quickly established itself as essential reading for those working in this field.

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Professor David Gillborn answers the questions

This interview took place at the Institute of Education, London, UK in January 2009.



Q1: In Racism and Education: Coincidence or Conspiracy you argue that the education system in the UK is not designed to promote equality in education but rather maintain the achievement gap that exists between white pupils and pupils from minority backgrounds. What, in your view, should be the next steps to address this inequality?

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Q2: How have recent educational reforms in the UK, particularly the publication of school league tables, affected the 'achievement gap'?

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Q3: How do cultural stereotypes and perceptions of minorities affect the educational expectations experienced by non-White pupils?

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Q4: In your 2000 report, Educational inequality: mapping race, class and gender you found that Black pupils often enter school better prepared and outperforming every other group but fall behind as they move through the system. How does the UK education system fail Black pupils and what are the major changes that need to be made?

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Q5: For researchers, students and professionals who have never encountered Race Ethnicity and Education, what is the journal about in a nutshell?

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Q6: What do you think are the most controversial issues in contemporary debate and research in education that your journal seeks to address and how contentious is Critical Race Theory?

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Q7: What do you look for when considering articles and submissions?

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Q8: What are the most common mistakes made by writers?

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Q9: Who do you feel are your readership, your core audience and how is your perception of this affected by online access?

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Q10: Can you tell us something more about your new book Racism and Education: Coincidence or Conspiracy?

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We also provide a transcription of this interview to overcome accessibility problems if you have hearing difficulties (or for those of you who may just prefer to read the interview).

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More about Professor David Gillborn

David Gillborn is Professor of Critical Race Studies in Education at the Institute of Education, University of London, UK. He leads the MA module 'Sociology of Race & Education' and the doctoral seminar in 'Critical Race Theory'. He also tutors on the course 'Understanding Education Research' and contributes lectures and seminars to a range of courses.

David is best known for his research into race and racism in education. His work includes: ethnographic research on racism in schools and classrooms; conceptual writing on the nature of racism in educational policy and practice; qualitative and quantitative evidence reviews; debate on – and analyses of - policy initiatives at local, national and international levels; and the application of Critical Race Theory to UK schools.

He has worked on a number of Research Projects in the UK. These include REACH: raising the aspirations and attainments of Black boys and young men co-ordinated by the Department for Communities & Local Government. The Educational Strategies of the Black Middle Class funded by the Economic & Social Research Council to explore how Black middle-class parents view the education of their children. And New Deal for Communities (NDC) which targeted the most economically disadvantaged areas of England and undertook a range of education projects designed to raise achievement levels and enhance inclusion.

In addition to academic research David is also active in anti-racist politics. He has worked with a number of advisory bodies, campaigns and advocacy groups seeking greater social justice and equity in education and has active links with:

David is the founding editor of the Routledge journal Race Ethnicity and Education, an international, refereed, scholarly journal that publishes critical research on race and ethnic inequities in education. Now in its twelfth year, and read in more than 120 countries, the journal has become one of the world's leading forums for research on race inequalities in education. David also works with colleagues on a number of other Routledge-published education journals.

In 2006 David was given a personal award for 'meritorious service promoting multicultural education' by the American Educational Research Association special interest group for the Critical Examination of Race, Ethnicity, Class and Gender in Education.

For more information on Race Ethnicity and Education please visit the journal homepage.

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