Keynote Speakers


Julie Rattray, PhD
Opening keynote

Travels in a liminal space: The need for guardians and guides in SoTL

Julie Rattray is Professor in Higher Education at Durham University. Her research interests include the threshold concept framework, liminality, and affective dimensions of learning as well as other aspects of policy and pedagogy in Higher Education. In recent years Julie has been involved in research projects and conference organisation in the area of Higher Education. She was a member of the UK team of project IBAR, working with six European partners to explore the potential barriers to the implementation of pan-European standards and guidelines for Higher Education. Julie has been actively involved in the biennial Threshold Concepts conference since the 5th conference in Durham in 2014. During the subsequent conferences, she has contributed as a paper reviewer and member of the organizing committee, including giving the keynote address at the 8th conference in London in 2021. In 2016, she served as the chair of the Improving University Teaching (IUT) conference in Durham. She was also the UK lead for the DASCHE (Developing, Assessing and Validating Social Competences in Higher Education) project, which focuses on the identification of practice in relation to the development of social competence in Higher Education. With this project, five European partners were involved, along with the UK, and it was funded by Erasmus +.

Embarking on journeys of enquiry, in whatever form they take, represents a time of wonder, a time of exploration, a time of discovery – but it can also represent a time of uncertainty, a time of puzzlement, a time of struggle and indeed even a time of hopelessness. This is in no way surprising – any of us engaged in enquiry know that it is an effortful process that involves toil and an investment, not just of time, but of our emotional labour. Enquiry can take many forms and none of these are value-free or judgement-free. The academy is full of conversations about the ‘proper’ forms of enquiry and in these conversations Scholarship of Teaching and Learning is frequently characterised as representative of a form of enquiry that is less valued, less valid, and indeed, often just “less”! Against this backdrop, how do we ensure that we retain our commitment, energy and drive for our enquiries in SoTL? By framing our journeys in SoTL as representing movement in and out of liminal spaces that are frequently uncertain and mysterious, we can start to think about who and what might guide our enquiries and help to guard SoTL as a form of enquiry. Similarly, we can reflect on who the ‘tricksters’ might be and when guardians might actually become obstacles to enquiry.


Anna Santucci, PhD
Closing keynote

Growing Together: Liminal Presence, Emergent Dialogue, and Cultural Action Towards Transformative Co-creation in Our Teaching and Learning Journeys

Anna Santucci is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in the Centre for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL) at University College Cork (UCC, Ireland), where she directs the MA in Teaching and Learning for Higher Education and currently leads a nationally funded initiative to build sustainable capacity for academic growth and institutional transformation towards inclusive teaching and equitable learning through student partnerships, assessment reform, and intentional change agency. She sits in the EDIN committee, and supports UCC’s contributions to Teaching & Learning efforts for the UNIC European University alliance. She was previously a faculty developer at the University of Rhode Island (USA), facilitating equitable learning, Inclusive Excellence initiatives, and High Impact Teaching programs. Her story includes a BA in Modern Languages (Padova, Italy), MA in English (Nottingham, UK), and PhD combining Italian and Theatre & Performance (Brown University, USA - where she also served as Sheridan Center Head Graduate Teaching Consultant).

Anna grew up in Italy, developed her passion for educational development in the United States, and moved to Ireland in 2022. She cultivates her professional values as an active member of networks such as the “Yes, And…” Higher Ed Network, and organizations such as ISSOTL, ICED, and POD Network. She is currently Editor of POD Speaks and Chair Elect of POD’s Professional Development Committee.

Anna’s interest in how our positional, intersectional and liminal identities shape our Teaching & Learning journeys plays a key role in her commitment to promoting interculturality, equity and justice in higher education via co-creation, reflection, and dialogue. Her trans-disciplinary scholarly practice focuses on critical pedagogies informed by applied theatre, performance theory, and language & culture studies. Her international collaborations include her role as co-facilitator of the Deep Teaching Residency (a US-based NSF-funded STEM educational development program). Her published work appears in venues such as Research in Drama Education, the Scenario Journal for Performative Teaching, Learning and Research, the Journal of Excellence in College Teaching, the Journal of Faculty Development, and the International Journal for Academic Development.

Concluding a conference “expedition” is an opportunity to consider how we perform closing scenes along our Teaching & Learning chapters and stories: as we pack our bags and fold away new memories, we treasure insights gained and relationships forged… We thank our hosts and traveling companions, rejoice in the gift of joint presence, and reflect with gratitude: How did we get here, and where are we going? Who has and will come with us? What moments will continue to resonate? How are they now informing our past, how will they accompany us into our future? Whether liberatory in its transitory and ephemeral nature, or grounding in its long-lasting influence; whether meeting set expectations intended to achieve intended outcomes, or resulting from fortuitous and unexpected connections – each encounter is a precious addition to we are and who we are becoming.

In performing as our closing ritual, this keynote offers an invitation into dialogue about:
How Are We Growing Together In SoTL Expeditions?
How represents multiple paths of practice and inquiry –
Are harkens presence across diverse ways of being and knowing –
We reminds us to strive for positional awareness and critically engage with difference –
Grow invites us to radically embrace our constant states of emergence, development, liminality, and transformation –
-ing activates our agency, our potential for live mobilization, creative disruption, and embodied action –
Together signifies limitless meanings of human relatedness in shared experience, the multiple ways we seek, see, channel, amplify, and love each other by reciprocally extending our learning edges –
In reflects on belonging and mattering, pointing to the complexity, saliency, and permeability of inside/outside boundaries around our sense of self, our communities, our cultures, our languages, and our spheres of influence –
SoTL Expeditions evoke curiosity that never settles on certainties; they ignite our courage to imagine beyond, cross borders, dismantle barriers, translate at intersections, build confidence through exposure and vulnerability, and negotiate between patience and urgency to move forward… – as we joyfully explore the world we are co-creating, and discover the journey as we perform it into existence.