UCC UNIC Superdiversity Academy

The European University of Post-Industrial Cities (UNIC) is a three year (2020-2023) pilot European University initiative, funded by ERASMUS+ bringing together eight partner institutions across Europe, of which UCC is one. ISS21, working with AccessUCC and the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Unit, is managing UCC’s contribution to a key strand of the UNIC initiative focused on creating a Superdiversity Academy (Workpackage 4). The aim of this strand of work is to explore how we can make our higher education institutions responsive to, and inclusive of, the increasingly diverse nature of our student body and wider city and society – whether through our teaching and learning, the research we do or our EDI structures and practices.

UNIC WP4 Working Group 

Within ISS21, an interdisciplinary UNIC WP4 working group has been established to lead this work. This group includes:

Dr. Claire Edwards (Working group lead)

Olive Byrne (Director of Access, UCC)

Dr. Susan Calnan (Research Support Officer for UNIC WP4)

Dr. Claire Dorrity (School of Applied Social Studies)

Dr. Avril Hutch (Director, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Unit, UCC)

Dr. Piaras Mac Éinrí (Department of Geography)

Dr. Caitríona Ní Laoire (School of Applied Social Studies)

Dr. Steve O’Brien (School of Education)

Dr. Margaret Scanlon (ISS21 Research Coordinator)


The group has organised a series of seminars in UCC and most recently a ‘Superdiversity School’ for staff in UCC and other UNIC institutions exploring how we can use the concept of superdiversity to initiate critical change in higher education spaces. Details of these events and associated recordings are available below.


UNIC Superdiversity School, UCC, 17-19 MAY 2022
17th MAY

Seminar opening and welcome to the School

Dr Claire Edwards, Director, Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

Thinking through the ‘superdiverse classroom’: Teaching, learning and critical pedagogies

This session explored ways in which we can develop critical pedagogies and innovative and inclusive practices in teaching and learning to build the university as a superdiverse space.


Critical perspectives on internationalising the curriculum, Dr Céire Broderick, Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies.  Slides available at: C. Broderick

Critical pedagogies, Dr Anna Santucci, Senior Lecturer in Teaching and Learning Enhancement, CIRTL, UCC. Slides available at: Santucci

Creating a Community of Praxis: Integrating Critical Global Citizenship and Development Education into pedagogy, research and practice at University College Cork, Dr Gertrude Cotter, School of Education. Slides available at: G. Cotter

Chair: Dr Steve O’Brien, School of Education, UCC

Recording available here

Epistemic implications of living with difference

Guest speaker: Dr Julius Elster, Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Youth Studies, School of Social Sciences and Professions, London Metropolitan University

Chair: Dr Piaras MacÉinrí, Department of Geography, UCC.

The North London constituency of Tottenham is perhaps a paradigm example of a ‘super-diverse’ community, an area where no single ethnic group predominates. With more than 200 first languages spoken, few places in the world can boast of a more diverse environment than this corner of London. Drawing on recent research with young people in Tottenham, this seminar  highlighted the epistemological implications of recognising ‘difference’ as an everyday component of life. The talk explored diversity in relation to young people as co-creators of an environment that can facilitate a sense of belonging and a social space in which marginalised groups can claim their multiple identities without being subjected to othering processes.

Slides available at: J Elster

Recording available here 

18th MAY

Introduction to the day (Dr Claire Edwards, ISS21)

Access and the University: Key considerations for diverse societies 

Dr Gill Harold, School of Applied Social Studies. Slides at: G. Harold

Recording available here

Panel discussion: Accessing the university: Engaging diverse communities

This seminar explored the different ways in which UCC is seeking to open up the University to diverse groups in society, and promote access initiatives, as well as the challenges in doing so. It will address access initiatives as they relate to different student groups, including people with disabilities, asylum seekers and refugees, and the Traveller community.

Chair: Professor Máire Leane, School of Applied Social Studies

Panellists: Olive Byrne, Head of Access UCC; Dr Dug Cubie, School of Law/Chair of UCC University of Sanctuary Working Programme; Shay Nolan, Employability Programme for Students with Disabilities; Linda Doran, Autism Friendly University; James Bilson, Traveller Mentoring Programme

Slides available at: Access

Recording available here 

Digital Inclusion Workshop – How it benefits everyone

This online interactive workshop looked at how to get started with digital inclusion and accessibility, and at how everyone, staff and students, can benefit from more accessible content. Specifically, James discussed the context of the move towards digital inclusion at UCC and how it is empowering the student experience.

Facilitator: James Northridge, Project Manager at Inclusive UCC.

Recording available here

19th MAY

Introduction to the day (Dr Caitríona Ní Laoire, Deputy Director, ISS21/School of Applied Social Studies)

Panel discussion: What do we mean when we speak of equality, diversity and inclusion?

This seminar explored equality, diversity and inclusion issues from a number of perspectives, including stakeholders’ experiences of advocating for the different constituencies pertaining to these areas such as LGBT+ and race equality. Panellists included members of UCC’s Equality Committee and other staff with experience in this area.

Panellists: Shay Nolan, UCC Disability Support Service; Dr Laurence Davis, Department of Government and Politics, UCC LGBT+ Staff Liaison Officer; Dr Nita Mishra, Department of Food Business & Development

Chair: Nuala Finnegan, Professor, Department of Spanish, Portuguese & Latin American Studies, Chair of UCC Equality Committee

Slides available at: N Mishra

Recording available here 


 Previous Events
Date Event
Monday 28th February

Exploring superdiversity: A critical roundtable discussion

Speakers: Dr. Claire Dorrity, School of Applied Social Studies; Dr. Steve O’Brien, School of Education. 

Panellists: Dr. Naomi Masheti, Co-ordinator, Cork Migrant Centre, Dr Avril Hutch, Director, EDI Unit, Dr. Denis Linehan, Department of Geography. 

A recording of the seminar is available at: here

Monday 28th March The University as a Superdiverse Space? A Conversation

Conversation participants: Dr. Yanyu Guo, Department of Asian Studies; Parnika Gupta, UCC Indian Society; Dr Piaras Mac Éinrí, Department of Geography; Busie Mhlophe, UCC Sanctuary Scholar; Amano Miura, Fáilte Refugees; Dr Caitríona Ní Laoire, School of Applied Social Studies

Chair: Professor Nuala Finnegan, Dept. of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies.

Thursday 7th April

Exploring welfare bricolage in Europe’s superdiverse neighbourhoods: A new concept for an age of complexity

Speaker: Professor Jenny Phillimore, Professor of Migration & Superdiversity, Department of Social Policy, Sociology & Criminology, University of Birmingham


For more information about the project, please contact Dr. Susan Calnan, Research Support Officer for UNIC in ISS21, on susan.calnan@ucc.ie

Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

Top Floor, Carrigbawn/Safari Building, Donovan Road, Cork, T12 YE30