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School ethos and the spatial turn: ‘capacious’ approaches to research and practice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)818-827
Number of pages11
JournalQualitative Inquiry
Issue number10
Early online date24 Oct 2013
DateE-pub ahead of print - 24 Oct 2013
DatePublished (current) - Dec 2013


This paper argues that specific spatial imaginaries are embedded in current debates about both school ethos and research methods. It takes the reader on a journey around an English multicultural primary school supported by the creative learning programme Creative Partnerships, exploring how creative arts practices (re)configured socio-spatial relations within the school community over a three-year period.
The paper proposes the metaphor of ‘capaciousness’ to illuminate aspects of research and practice in schools concerning space, learning and the significance of the connections of schools to other spaces, places and networks. Recognising these connections enables us to take account of issues of social justice particularly in relation to schools located in areas of socioeconomic deprivation. A spatial theorization of ethos also questions the concept of boundaries in case study research, and highlights the role of researcher interpretation in constituting what can be recognized as ‘creative’ school ethos.

    Research areas

  • school ethos, spatial turn, creative arts, capacious



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