About – Imagining the Future: Youth Transitions in Urban and Rural School Contexts

This blog is dedicated to an ongoing comparative study of transitions into early adulthood in the UK. Over the coming year, our research team will track the movements, imaginations and aspirations of young people as they complete compulsory secondary education and move on – whether to higher education, employment, un/under-employment, or elsewhere. The study begins with final year students in secondary schools in one urban (London) and one rural (Oxfordshire) setting. Through the summer and beyond, we will ethnographically pursue a range of these students’ geographical, institutional and experiential trajectories. Our aim is to grasp the potential role of space, place and schooling in shaping young people’s aspirations and to capture the changing social relations and cultural formations during this period of transition.This project is based at the School of Education, Oxford Brookes University, and is funded by the Oxford Brookes Central Research Fund. For more information about the project, please email palexander@brookes.ac.uk

Research Team:

Dr. Patrick Alexander (Principal Investigator) is a social anthropologist specialising in education, childhood and youth studies. He is a Senior Lecturer in Education (Anthropology and Sociology), having joined Oxford Brookes as an Early Career Research Fellow in 2013. In 2014 Patrick was awarded a Fulbright Peabody Scholarship to conduct research as a Visiting Scholar at New York University. This project comprises a two year comparative ethnographic study exploring aspiration and imagined futures in urban public/state schools in NYC and London. Find out more at the project blog.

Prof. Graham Butt  is a Professor in Education, Co DirGraham Picector of Research and Co Post Graduate Research Tutor at the School of Education, Oxford Brookes University. He is a founding member of the Geography Education Research Collective (GEReCo). Graham’s
research is predominantly in the field of geography education, although he has also published on assessment, teacher workload, and modernisation of the teaching workforce. Graham is a long established member of the Geographical Association and an invited member of the UK Committee of the International Geographical Union (IGU).

John Lo20160524_233432 (2)ewenthal is a doctoral candidate in the School of Education at Oxford Brookes University, under the supervision of Patrick and Graham. His doctoral research parallels this urban-rural study, exploring how university graduates in New York City and London relate to “the future” during the lifestyle changes that follow the completion of their degree. He previously studied Anthropology and Archaeology at St Hugh’s College, Oxford (BA: First) and Anthropology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University (MA: Dist).



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