2018 John Nisbet Fellow

Photograph of Pat SikesSince 2014 the British Educational Research Association (BERA) has awarded the John Nisbet Fellowship to those who are deemed to have made an outstanding contribution to educational research over their career. Named in honour of BERA’s first President, this award recognises individuals who exemplify BERA’s commitment to encouraging educational research and its application for the improvement of practice and public benefit

Pat Sikes is Professor of Qualitative Inquiry in the School of Education. She began her research career in 1978 at the University of East Anglia as a research assistant on Lawrence Stenhouse’s Nuffield/Gulbenkian project, The problems and effects of teaching about race relations. A PhD at the University of Leeds came next, followed by a period working at the Open University with Peter Woods and Linda Measor on the ESRC funded Teachers’ lives and careers study. Then there were a few years as a member of the OU TVEI evaluation team convened by Roger Dale, as well as a stint at the Counselling & Career Development Unit at the University of Leeds. From 1988 to 2000 Pat was at the University of Warwick, working closely with Barry Troyna in developing and practicing auto/biographical pedagogy. Four years after Barry’s untimely death in 1996 she went to Sheffield.

Throughout her career as a researcher the majority of Pat’s work has focused on various aspects of teachers’ lives and careers, narrative and auto/biographical methodologies and methods, and research ethics. Since 2014 Pat’s interest has been in using narrative auto/biographical approaches to investigate the perceptions and experiences of children and young people who have a parent with young onset dementia, receiving funding from the Alzheimer’s Society for this work.
Pat was an editor of the British Educational Research Journal from 2003 to 2007 and a member of BERA Council between 2010 and 2013. She was recently involved in editing the 2018 iteration of the BERA ethical guidelines.