Who's Who

Dr Aileen Ackland (Research director of CUSP)

I’m Aileen Ackland. I initially tried to escape a family tradition of teaching but soon realised that education was crucial to social change. Working in adult education in the voluntary sector, I experienced the power of participative enquiry to go beyond personal development to collective action. I joined the School of Education at the University of Aberdeen 13 years ago and am primarily involved with the professional development of Community Learning and Development practitioners. My research interests are critical, creative pedagogies, particularly those derived from Paulo Freire and Augusto Boal.  My hope is that CUSP is a mechanism for us to learn together how to transform our communities for the better.

My direct email address is: a.ackland@abdn.ac.uk

Chris Aldred

I’m Chris Aldred and have always ended up – happily – working in education. I’ve been lucky enough to work in voluntary organisations, a college, a local authority and now a University – and have even spent a little time in schools! I’m really interested in partnership and how different disciplines talk to each other and this has led me into a couple of my most recent roles – part time work on a Music and Communities degree programme and some multidisciplinary training on Getting it Right for Every Child. I’m still looking for the odd new challenge…

My direct email address is: c.aldred@abdn.ac.uk

Professor Karen McArdle

Professor (Emeritus) in Education

My name is Karen McArdle and my passion is reading and writing fiction. I have had my work broadcast, performed and published, which is always exciting. When not at work I live in a village called Marykirk in Aberdeenshire with my husband and my large and friendly German Shepherd dog. My other passion is for participatory action research about educational issues. I love finding out about new things and using the knowledge to make a difference.

My direct email address is: k.a.mcardle@abdn.ac.uk

Dr Rachel Shanks

I’m Rachel Shanks and I’ve had a number of different jobs over the last twenty years - office temp, law lecturer, trade union organiser and French tutor. I am now a researcher and lecturer in the University of Aberdeen’s School of Education. I am interested in how people learn to do their jobs, especially in remote and rural areas. I am researching how digital technologies and online learning can be used for people to learn about their work. Having lived in Ireland, France and England I now live in Stonehaven as I love to be beside the sea.

My direct email address is: r.k.shanks@abdn.ac.uk

Rachel Shanks at Katie Shore

Elaine May Smith

Elaine May Smith

I'm Elaine May Smith and my passion is for communicating information in an entertaining way. My background is in Social Sciences and Information Systems and I travelled extensively for business and pleasure before settling in Dundee - City of Discovery and UNESCO City of Design 2014. I put my career as Training & Development Consultant on hold when my daughter was born in 2003 and I developed my skills as a writer and radio presenter. I am now a PhD (Education) student researching MOOCs and Music to enhance Community Learning.

My direct email address is: elaine.may.smith@abdn.ac.uk

Clare Taylor-Brown

My name is Clare Taylor-Brown and I am a Community Learning & Development (CLD) practitioner with over 15 years of experience in both the the voluntary and statutory sectors. I am passionate about lifelong learning and giving those less heard a VOICE and supporting PEOPLE POWER. Through the Elphinstone scholarship programme introduced in 2014, I am delighted to have the opportunity to engage in a PhD research project/journey exploring the potential of digital technologies and online learning for the field of community learning. Being a member of CUSP provides us with opportunities to come together from all walks of life, to share, learn and collaborate in ways to promote greater insight into the issues facing communities across the North of Scotland. It also promotes and supports people to take action for positive change. Moving to Aberdeenshire in 2016, I look forward to supporting this initiative and meeting new people, groups and communities.