Ashley Visagie (Bottomup)

Ashley works to promote critical (anchored in critical social theories) awareness and action among high school students. He has completed an MA: Strategic Foresight (Regent) and an M.Ed (Policy, Leadership & Change) at UCT focusing on the transmission of symbolic violence in an urban township school and is presently pursuing further studies (PhD in education) at UCT. In 2007 he co-founded the organisation Bottomup, an organisation that uses critical youth participatory action research (YPAR) as a method for promoting school change. Ashley has a deep concern for youth in South Africa who suffer because of the inequitable and unjust system of education, and seeks to contest deficit narratives that require students to accept individual and total responsibility for failures that are socially produced. He is optimistic that a more fair and just world is possible but also believes that the kind of systemic changes required, call for engagements that are not trivial or easily accomplished.

Ashley feels strongly that more work needs to be in partnership with children and youth to encourage ethical and critical engagement with society. Ashley suggests that, in the past, such engagements might have been encouraged by radical educators who encouraged this inside the school classroom, today however, neoliberal reforms and a culture of performativity significantly constrain these possibilities.

Ashley is a partner on the Phase 2 Large Grant South Africa project ‘Imagining Otherwise: Transforming Spaces through Arts Education.’

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