Valentina Migliarini


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I accept doctoral students whose research interests focus on educational equity and justice, centering the lived experiences of marginalised communities living at the intersection of multiple forms of oppressions.


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

I am an Assistant Professor in Education Studies in the Department of Education and Social Justice. My work sits at the crossroads of inclusive education, bilingual special education, justice and equity studies, culturally sustaining and trauma-informed pedagogies for disabled, migrant and refugee children, and teacher education.

My research focuses on increasing access to equitable education for students identified with disabilities and from migrant and forced migrant backgrounds in secondary education. I have developed significant research and teaching expertise in Italy, England, Lebanon and the United States. 

I use the Disability Critical Race Theory in Education (DisCrit) framework as an intersectional lens to examine inclusive policies and practices in education systems in Europe and the United States. This work provides a window to explore how neoliberal reforms in education, combined with increasing immigration, are influencing education for those children who face exclusionary practices. 

The nucleus of my research agenda is problematizing, both in policy and practice, mainstream conceptualizations of inclusive education, which reproduce micro-exclusions of multiply-marginalized children in ‘Western’ nations, and new forms of colonization in ‘non-Western’ countries. 

My first line of research includes (1) exploring how intersections of race, disability, migratory status, and language determine educational and social pathways of inclusion for asylum-seeking and refugee students.

My second line of research focuses on analyzing how DisCrit can contribute to understanding the outcomes of UK and US inclusive education policies and practice, with particular attention to the enabling and disabling processes that target multiply marginalized children. 

My third line of research aims to shift teachers’ paradigms of inclusive education, through reframing classroom and behavior management, curriculum and instructions through DisCrit. 

What ties these three lines of inquiry together is my commitment to educational equity and justice through an interdisciplinary research design and methodology.

In research and teaching I commit to creating a meaningful, equitable, and inclusive learning experience for diverse communities. My stance towards teaching, research and service activities is liberatory.  


In 2017, I completed the Ph.D (magna cum laude) in Theory and Research in Education at Roma Tre University. In the doctoral dissertation, I illustrated the increasing overrepresentation of asylum-seeking and refugee students in the macro-category of Special Educational Needs (SEN). I then connected these racial disproportionality trends in Special Educational Needs to the specific SEN policies and laws, introduced by the Italian government in 2012 in response to the increasing number of migrant students in mainstream classrooms.

From August 2017 until May 2018, I was a Fulbright Schuman Visiting Scholar in the Department of Special Education, at the University of Kansas. Under the supervision of Dr. Annamma, first author of DisCrit, I have worked as a PI on a qualitative research project exploring the benefits of applying the Dis/ability Critical Race Studies (DisCrit) in Education framework to inclusive policies and practices, to avoid macro- and micro- exclusions of students situated at the intersection of multiple differences. During my time at the University of Kansas, I taught an undergraduate course on classroom and behavior management for pre-service teachers, titled Motivating and Managing Learners in the Middle and Secondary Classrooms. 

In September 2018,  I joined the Department of Education at the University of Bologna as a post-doctoral researcher. I worked on an an Erasmus Plus-funded project, using video-analysis as tool to support Early Childhood practitioners in the co-construction of inclusive practices.

From October 2019 until October 2021 I was a Lecturer in Education and Sociology at the University of Portsmouth. 

On October 15th 2021, I have joined the department of Education and Social Justice at the University of Birmingham as a Lecturer in Education Studies.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Theory and Research in Education , Univ Roma Tre

Award Date: 5 Jun 2017

Master in Science, Educational and Social Research , INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION

Award Date: 10 Nov 2010

Master of Arts, Social Justice and Education , Institute of Education

Award Date: 10 Apr 2009

Bachelor of Education, The Role of Community Educators in Italian Detention Centres for Undocumented Migrants , Univ Roma Tre

Award Date: 7 Dec 2007


  • L Education (General)
  • Inclusive Education
  • Intersectionality in Education
  • Disability Studies in Education


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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