Tom Avery’s OIV to University of Pennsylvania, USA

Education researcher, Tom Avery was awarded Overseas Institutional Visit funding to travel to the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) for two weeks in March 2022.


Purpose of the trip

Tom’s research investigates the experiences refugees have of school in the UK. He is investigating this from a language policy perspective, exploring the presence and effects of raciolinguistic and colonial ideologies in school curricula, school policy, and teacher practice. Effectively asking how refugees navigate a school system designed for white, British speakers of English.

The purpose of Tom’s OIV is to meet with Nelson Flores (an eminent scholar on raciolinguistics) and his PhD students at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) in order to develop long-term professional networks, engage in knowledge exchange, and take part in a doctoral symposium.

In the run up to his visit, Tom was also granted a Graduate Student Award by AAAL for his upcoming presentation at the AAAL 2022 conference. The award is merit-based award that supports the attendance of outstanding AAAL graduate student members at the conference.

Tom presenting at the AAAL conference

Do you think your visit made an impact to your PhD research?

“This trip was an excellent chance to meet and talk with some of the major voices in my field, which I would not have had a chance to do otherwise. I was able to participate in seven lectures at an Ivy League school (UPenn) and listen to over 40 speakers during the two conferences I attended.

I was also able to get some of their feedback on my work and present my work to groups of scholars who are working on the cutting edge of the field. Being in the USA in person also gave me a chance to engage in and grapple with current debates and controversies in my field, some of which will form a key part of my doctoral writing (e.g. is Academic English a tool of colonial domination or a requirement for emancipation).”


Would you recommend the OIV Scheme to other students?

Absolutely – and for all the reasons above! The process was quite simple and the SWDTP team were very helpful.

Photo of Tom Avery with the other GSA awardees and Patsy Duff, the AAAL president

About the OIV funding

The Overseas Institutional Visit (OIV) scheme is a funding opportunity available to ESRC funded students (more information on the scheme can be found here). The scheme aims to provide the opportunity for postgraduate researchers to study at an overseas research institution for up to 13 weeks, in order to network with academics and researchers by participating in departmental seminars, events, and training activities.