Partnerships of Widening Participation: Students’ Unions


As part of our Fair Access Research we’ve been doing some filming with SUBU. Our video clips will form part of a resource we are developing to help others find ways to build and sustain partnerships with Students’ Unions for widening participation. Working with Educational Technologist Chris O’Reilly we’ve been compiling useful resources and tips.

We interviewed our new full-time officers – President, Daniel Asaya and VP for Welfare, Charlie Souter-Phillips to get their perspectives on why working with Students’ Unions should matter to anyone committed to transforming higher education.

We also spoke to colleagues from across SUBU and the university to explore issues relating to research development, knowledge exchange and co-creation.


During the filming the importance of trust and listening emerged from all the discussions. In order to work effectively with others you need to trust who work with, allow them to trust you, listen and trust that they hear you too.

The American educator and activist bell hooks writes in Teaching Community: a pedagogy of hope that “the willingness to change and be changed, to remain always open is a defining principle of intellectual life”. Partnership working is to work to change and be changed by others. As such, it is a cornerstone to an understanding of widening participation as that which aims to radically change what higher education looks and feels like for students, staff and society.

The resources that we’ve been collecting, the videos we’ve been making and the input that we’re getting from colleagues across the sector will help us help you to find ways to trust, listen and remain open to change.

We want to encourage partnerships and share knowledge about how to embed a culture of working and learning together for widening participation research, policy and practice. 

For more information about the Partnerships for Widening Participation resources get in touch with Alex on

To find out more about the Fair Access Research project email the Principal Investigators Dr Vanessa Heaslip ( and Dr Clive Hunt (

Leave a Reply

Your details
  • (Your email address will not be published in your comment)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>