Dr Amber Fensham-Smith is a Lecturer in Childhood and Youth Studies at the Open University. Amber begun teaching in Higher Education in 2013 while undertaking her ESRC funded doctorate at the School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University. Prior to her appointment at the Open University, Amber was a lecturer in education at the University of Bedfordshire. She holds a BA in Sociology (First Class) from the University of Durham, an MSc in Social Science Research Methods (University of Bristol) and a PhD in Education from Cardiff University.
Amber’s research expertise lies in the field of alternative education and informal learning. Her doctorate explored the role of new technologies and learning communities and knowledge networks in UK home-education. This was a novel mixed method study that involved 242 families across England, Scotland and Wales (available here).
Prior to the completion of her PhD, Amber was commissioned by the Welsh Government and the ESRC to conduct a mixed-method research project on in engaging Gypsy and Traveller Families in education. Currently, she is working on a participatory project using Photovoice with a group of home educated learners in Sussex (funded by the University of Brighton).
In her previous academic post, Amber made a substantial contribution to teaching and learning on a diverse portfolio of undergraduate and postgraduate course in Childhood and Youth Studies and Education. She has designed, co-ordinated and contributed to new and existing modules, acted as an internal reviewer for course approval panels and championed faculty employability initiatives while acting as a graduate engagement lead and an employability tutor. She has supervised a range of undergraduate and taught-postgraduate research projects in the field of children and young people’s technology use. Her commitment to teaching excellence is recognised through Fellowship status of the Higher Education Authority.
Amber is passionate about evidence-based scholarship to inform the pedagogic design of new and existing learning activities. She is interested in fostering student voice, personalised curricular and innovative assessment within a distance learning context. Amber is looking to forward to working with module teams across E102, E232, EK313 and Y032 to contribute to new and existing presentation and production activities.