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Institute of Criminology


Dr Ruth Armstrong & Dr Amy Ludow Impact prize









Drs Ruth Armstrong and Amy Ludlow

Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge

Dr Ruth Armstrong is a Senior Research Associate at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge. Previous publications include articles on the role of trust in desistance from crime, the role of fatalism in derailing desistance, and an edited collection exploring research on experiences of life after prison internationally. Dr Amy Ludlow is a Senior Research Associate at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge. Previous publications include a book describing her ethnography of the first privatisation of a public prison in England from a labour law perspective and she has since written widely on themes of privatisation and marketization, including most recently in the Oxford Handbook of Criminology. Together they have published the pilot findings from the Learning Together initiative in the Prison Service Journal in 2016 and have a forthcoming paper in the Journal of Prison Education and Re-entry.


‘It all happens in the interaction’: the power of the interpersonal in Learning Together

This talk is based on the findings of a four year action research initiative exploring the experiences of students who have taken part in Learning Together courses run by the University of Cambridge. Learning Together is an initiative that builds communities of learning between higher education institutions and criminal justice institutions. Learning Together began in 2014, drawing on a long British history of prison and university partnership work and contemporary empirical evidence about individually and socially transformative education more broadly and specifically in relation to movements away from criminal involvement. The University of Cambridge currently partners with three local prisons to deliver degree and post-graduate level courses from four different departments where students who are currently at University study alongside students who are currently in prison. The broader Learning Together network involves partnership working between over 20 higher education institutions and over 30 criminal justice institutions national and internationally. This talk will describe the historical and theoretical origins of Learning Together. We will discuss the action research methodology and how this has shaped our research interests and theoretical influences over the last four years. Drawing on qualitative and quantitative findings, we will discuss what students tell us has been transformative about their learning experiences and we consider the individual, institutional and broader social contours of these transformations. Finally, we consider the implications of these findings for our theoretical understandings of transformative learning, especially as this relates to penal contexts.


This seminar is open to all interested in attending, with no ticket required.

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Thursday, 18 October, 2018 - 17:30 to 19:00
Event location: 
B4, Institute of Criminology