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CREATEC Lunchtime Seminar Series

Friday, 17 February 2012


The first seminar will be presented by visiting fellow Liesel Ebersohn: Associate Professor & Director: ERA Unit for Education Research in AIDS at the University of Pretoria.

Location: Mt Lawley ECU, Building 10, Room 308
Date: Wednesday 15 February
Time: 12.30pm to 1.20pm
Details: A light lunch and refreshments will be provided

Title: Innovative research projects in response to Aids in South Africa

Abstract: In the presentation I explain how solidarity can support resilience for positive adjustment in education settings (specifically schools) in the presence of significant risk. I propose that when individuals use relationships as a way to access and mobilize resources, positive adjustment is possible because of an enabling ecology. Incorporating thinking on resilience as transactional-ecological, the asset-based approach, social capital and relatedness theory, I propose Relationship-Resourced Resilience (RRR) as a generative theory to explain how resilience occurs. To do this, I draw on eight years of longitudinal case study data that were generated using a Participatory Reflection and Action (PRA) approach with partnership schools (n=12, primary=9, secondary=3; urban=9, rural=3) and teachers (n=74, female=63, male=11). I highlight the concepts and propositions behind the theory and the activities and competencies needed to implement the conceptual tool, arguing that such a framework will enable individuals to be supportive by initiating and sustaining support to vulnerable groups. I conclude that when individuals in scarce-resource environments with high risk use RRR (as teachers did) they are able to create a climate that can mitigate the risk factors to adjustment – enabling resilience.

Bio: Liesel Ebersöhn Heads the Unit for Education Research in AIDS, University of Pretoria, where she is also a full professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, Faculty of Education. This National Research Foundation-rated researcher incorporates academic service learning in her teaching of postgraduate students in career psychology. She has supervised close to 50 postgraduate studies to completion. She has been principal- as well as co-investigator in several international and national studies. Her scholarly contributions interrogate resilience within resource-scarce education environments. She uses combined positive psychology and indigenous knowledge paradigms to understand how individuals and systems address adversity to sustain wellbeing. She was appointed as associate professor and research fellow respectively in Yale University’s Department of Psychology and Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in AIDS. She is a Past President of the Education Association of South Africa and she serves on the council of the World Education Research Association (2010-2013). Her research is disseminated in numerous articles, books (editor, co-edited and co-authored) and invited conference presentations. Liesel is the Editor of the South African Journal of Education.


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