Accepted Paper:

'The Movement': mature students, Access courses and anthropology  


Georgie Wemyss

Paper short abstract:

This paper discusses issues arising from the teaching and learning of anthropology as optional modules on a range of Access to HE courses in the context of current threats to the existence of Access in the further education sector.

Paper long abstract:

Further education teachers on early Access to Higher Education courses sometimes referred to Access programmes as 'The Movement', so revolutionary was the idea that mature students without any formal qualifications could gain access to university on the basis of nine months intensive study tailored to their specific needs and building on their life experiences. Drawing on 20 years of teaching anthropology to mature students who have progressed on to university to study social work, youth and community work, primary teaching and a range of social science and humanities degrees, this paper considers how anthropology 'fits' as an optional module, explores how students have engaged with anthropological knowledge and methods both during and when progressing from the Access course and raises issues facing Access students from 'non-traditional' backgrounds in applying to 'selective' and 'recruiting' universities. The paper contrasts the professional isolation of teaching anthropology in the further education sector with the creative learning opportunities of the diverse classroom.

Panel P30
Creative and engaging anthropology: teaching young people in schools and communities