Conference Theme

Voicing and Valuing: Daring and Doing

We are holding this year’s conference in Friends Meeting House.  Built in 1828, it is the home of Manchester’s thriving Quaker community. The Meeting House is a base for all sorts of Quaker activity … a hub for action towards social and economic justice and peace building; a night shelter for asylum seekers over the winter months; a ceilidh as part of Manchester Pride … and many, many other things.  We believe it provides a fitting venue for our network, and for this year’s conference theme.

Our theme for conference 2018 is an articulation of the values of CARN, and a recognition of the work of those who strive for equity and social justice.  2018 marks the 100th anniversary of  The Representation of the People Act (in the UK), giving some women in Britain the right to vote.  This was part of a long struggle for social justice and gender equality that continues today.

Manchester was home to the Pankhurst family, arguably the original suffragettes, and part of strong support across the north-west for the expansion of the right to vote. Campaigners had a long struggle to convince lawmakers that their voices were worth hearing,  and comprised a wide body of women (and men): from religious groups to unions of women workers in local Lancashire mills. Thousands of women (and some men) signed petitions, marched, debated the issues and contributed to support suffrage causes. Women sold penny papers, attended discussion groups and learned public speaking to share the message that votes mattered. CARN’s commitment to democratic principles and Action Research fits well with this 2018 centenary theme. In the conference subtheme “Community action and activism”, we also find resonance with the Suffragette Slogan “Deeds Not Words”!

It is fitting too that Edge Hill University is hosting this conference.  Founded in (1885) as the first non-denominational teacher training college for women, it broke traditional barriers for women and promoted women’s rights. The coat of arms consists of a shield, a crest, a badge and a motto and contains images and symbols that represent Edge Hill’s history and values.


The colours green and heliotrope (purple) are those of the Suffragette movement, symbolising the University’s early commitment to the equality of women through its beginnings as a women-only college.

Conference Sub Themes include:

Action Research for:

  • Community action and activism
  • Knowledge ecologies and knowledge democratisation
  • Women’s voices
  • Voices of the unheard
  • Social Justice and  Equity
  • Educational and educative change
  • Critical pedagogies
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Social cohesion



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