Kathryn Spicksley


PhD Student

Institute of Education

Research Degree Students

Contact Details

email: spik1_16@uni.worc.ac.uk

Kathryn is full-time PhD student in the School of Education at the University of Worcester.  

Kathryn’s main research interest is the impact of language on constructing teacher identities. Her research is theoretically centred on the work of the philosophers Michel Foucault and Judith Butler, and their interaction with Speech Act theory. She uses a wide range of methods derived from discourse analysis, including critical discourse analysis, conversation analysis and corpus linguistics, in order to explore the relationship between discourse about teachers and how teachers present themselves and their pedagogies to others. She is also interested in innovative research methods in education, most notably walking interviews, as a way of challenging traditional divisions between the researcher and the researched. Her PhD research concerns discourses around academisation and how these impact on the identities of new teachers.  

Kathryn is a member of the Social Psychology of Education Research Interest Group

Kathryn supervisors are Professor Alison Kington and Dr Karen Blackmore  

Kathryn is very grateful to The University of Worcester for funding her PhD. 

Prior to commencing her PhD, Kathryn worked as an early years teacher in a number of maintained and academy primary schools around the UK, and an outreach officer in the University of Oxford’s Widening Access team. 

Kathryn is an Associate Lecturer in the Department for Children and Families at the University of Worcester. 


BA (Hons) Theology, 2007, University of Oxford
MA Jewish Studies, 2008, University of Oxford 
PGCE Early Years, 2012, University of Cambridge 
MA Early Years Education, 2015, UCL Institute of Education
HEA Associate Fellow, 2019. 



Kathryn takes an interdisciplinary approach to education research, using theorists located across the disciplines of philosophy, social psychology and cultural studies. She is particularly interested in how language has an impact on the developing identity of teachers, drawing on the theoretical work of Michel Foucault, J. L. Austin and Rom Harré.

Kathryn has an interest in participatory research methods, aiming to employ research tools that trouble the hierarchy between researcher/researched. Her PhD research uses go-along (walking) interviews and innovative focus groups as research tools.

Current Projects

PhD in Education
New Faces and Changing Places: The Professional Identity of Early Career Primary Teachers in Multi-Academy Trusts

30 Years of Education Reform
Exhibition and Postgraduate Conference (The Hive, Worcester, October 2018)


Conference Presentations

Spicksley, K. (23 October 2017) New Faces and Changing Places: Exploring Academy Places with Early Career Primary Teachers. BERA Postgraduate Symposium, Bath Spa University

Spicksley, K. (25 November 2017) New Faces and Changing Places: Repositioning the Role of Early Career Primary Teachers. 16th Annual School of Education Research Conference, University of Birmingham

Spicksley, K. (16 February 2018) Glass Palaces for our Elite Young Teachers: Rethinking my PhD Thesis Along Spatial Lines. Without End: Documents of Research, The University of Northampton

Spicksley, K. (13 April 2018) Get into Teaching: Digital Technologies and Technologies of the Self in the Production of a New Teacher Identity. STORIES 2018 Conference, The University of Oxford


Spicksley, K. (2018) Walking interviews: A participatory research tool with legs? BERA Blog. Available online at: https://www.bera.ac.uk/blog/walking-interviews-a-participatory-research-tool-with-legs

Spicksley, K. (Autumn 2018) The Value of Inexperience. FORUM for 3-19 Comprehensive Education. (Forthcoming)

Teaching Interests

Kathryn is a module tutor on the MA Education Research Methods module (by distance learning). She also delivers occasional lectures/seminars on qualitative methodologies, and has a particular interest in the use of Critical Discourse Analysis and Corpus Analysis in education research.