I am an ESRC DTP Wales PhD student at the Sustainable Places Research Institute and within the school of Geography and Planning. As a community organiser and scholar-activist, I root myself in traditions of critical pedagogy and participatory action research. As an educator and educational researcher working within the field of Geography, I research place-based and political learning practices with a focus on sustainability transitions and food systems.
My current project aims to support agroecological transitions in the UK through developing and sharing grassroots learning practices. It focuses on the various social movement learning and organising strategies employed by the agroecology movement to scale agroecological practice and political mobilisation. Exploring the place-based factors shaping these learning practice will help groups in different regions adapt models and strategies to suit their contexts and contribute to the body of knowledge on agroecological learning and farmer-to-farmer practices.
MSc International and Comparative Education with Distinction, Stockholm University, Sweden (2016-2018).
Thesis: “An Alternative Currency for Education: A Comparative Case Study of Learning Practices within Time Banks”
Erasmus Study Program, Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain (2017-2018).
Grade average 8.33 with honours in “Injustices and Inequalities”.
PGCE (Secondary Mathematics) with Merit, University of Warwick, UK (2014-2015).
Action Research: The Effect of Growth Mindset Interventions on the Participation and Confidence of Girls in ‘Top Set’"
MMaths (Masters of Mathematics) First Class, University of Warwick, UK (2009-2013).
Dissertation: “p-adic Hodge Theory”
EU Marie Curie International Fellow – Connected Learning Spaces, SUSPLACE programme (2018 – present).
NUS Wales Special Award - Environmental Hero, Cardiff University, UK (2018-2019).
Mathematics Teacher Training Scholarship, Institute for Mathematics and its Applications, UK (2014-2015).
Innovation and Engagement
Session organiser and co-chair, “Transforming Agricultural Learning: From Troubled Pasts to Pedagogies of Hope”, RGS-IBG Annual Conference (2019).
Event co-organiser, “Learning from the Grassroots”, ESRC Festival of Social Sciences (2019).
Project Co-ordinator, Tyfu i Ddysgu (Growing to Learn), Education for Sustainable Development volunteer programme (2018-2019).
Event co-organiser, “Sense of Place(s)”, ESRC Festival of Social Sciences (2018).
Session co-organiser, “Scholar Activism: Zine-Making as Reflective Practice”, SUSPLACE Final Event 2019, Luke University, Finland (2019).
Mehmood, A., Marsden, T., Taherzadeh, A., Axinte, L. F., & Rebelo, C. (2019). Transformative roles of people and places: learning, experiencing, and regenerative action through social innovation. Sustainability Science, 1-12.
Nicol, P., Taherzadeh, A. (2019). Working Co-operatively for a Sustainable and Just Food System in Wales. Wales Co-operative Party. Retrieved from https://party.coop/2019/11/05/working-co-operatively-for-sustainable-and-just-food-systems/
Past Research Projects
- Learning Pathways into Sustainable Agriculture (2019)
- Working Co-operatively for Sustainable and Just Food Systems in Wales (funded by Wales Co-operative Party)
- Connected Learning Spaces [SUSPLACE] (2018-2019)
- Agroecology and Food Sovereignty
- Sustainability Transitions
- Critical Pedagogy
- Social Movement Learning
- Social Movement Theory
- Place-based Learning
- How are social movement learning strategies employed in the UK agroecology movement in order to scale agroecology?
- How do place-based factors influence learning practices within the UK agroecology movement?
- What characteristics do successful learning practices for scaling agroecology have in the UK? And what are the barriers to their impact in different places?
If you are a farmer or food systems activist and would like to work together or contribute to the research design or outputs then drop me an email.
[Resisting, Learning, Growing] Investigating the Role of Place-Based Social Movement Learning in Scaling UK Agroecology
Transitions to agroecology require a radical rethinking of agricultural learning and training. Current top-down approaches to knowledge transfer - scientist to farmer - are inadequate for the social, economic and environmental challenges facing the food system and inappropriate for the place-embedded nature of agroecological knowledge and practice. Grassroots agroecology movements are setting a new agenda for farmer-led agricultural learning, inspired partly by farmer-to-farmer models developed in Latin America and promoted by the international peasant network La Via Campesina. These approaches are often influenced by critical pedagogy and aim to foster transformative learning by promoting horizontal practices and political education to scale agroecology. The UK agroecology movement is connected with other movements nationally and is situated within broader global food sovereignty and ecological justice movements. Learning models and practices - which involve consideration of facilitation, communication, group organisation and many other aspects - are therefore influenced by wider currents within UK and global social movements. In order to support the effective scaling of agroecology in the UK, this research aims to work alongside landworkers and food system activists to understand more about these practices and the importance of place in both design and impact so that a diverse range of informed practices can be developed. This is a participatory action research and activist research project.
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Wales Doctoral Training Partnership