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Farah Ahmed


Senior Research Associate

E-mail Address


+ 44 (0)1223 767613


  • PhD Education (University of Cambridge)
  • MEd Educational Research (University of Cambridge)
  • PGCE Secondary English (Institute of Education, University of London)
  • BA (Hons) Philosophy (University of Bristol)

Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations

  • Research Fellow, Hughes Hall College, University of Cambridge
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
  • Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain (PESGB) - Member
  • British Educational Research Association (BERA) – Member
  • British Association of International and Comparative Education (BAICE) - Member
  • American Educational Research Association (AERA) - Member
  • Chartered College of Teaching – Founding Fellow (FCCT)

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My research interests lie in the intersections between: dialogic education, philosophies of Islamic education, 'Southern' theory, i.e. critical and indigenous research methodologies and identity/personhood/character education. I am particularly interested in ontological, epistemological and theoretical frameworks and how these influence classroom practice. My research is driven by a commitment to community-led educational initiatives generating innovative educational practice. As such, my research tends to be interwoven with sustainable teacher professional development (TPD).

My theoretical research involves uses Muslim thinkers’ extensive writing on human nature; psyche; personality; including cognitive, affective, social, emotional and spiritual dimensions; and dialogic personhood, which is yet to be applied in most contemporary educational contexts. My empirical research involves trialling dialogic halaqah (a traditional Islamic circle of learning) in a range of contemporary educational contexts.

I am on the steering committee of the CEDiR Research Group, a member of the T-SEDA team and the Camtree development advisory group where I am engaged in developing materials to support teacher-led professional inquiry and teacher research exchange. I lead the Rethinking Islamic Education - Theory into Practice research project. I have developed several open access online teacher professional development courses e.g. Fundamentals of Educational Dialogue. I have also set up an online platform supporting teacher inquiry and professional development for educators in Islamic contexts. I co-convene the ‘Cultural, religious and philosophical traditions in educational dialogue’ strand of the Cambridge Educational Dialogue Research group.

I have over twenty-five years of experience teaching in and leading Islamic schools in the UK. I have expertise in curriculum development, and have developed and taught teacher professional development courses on Islamic education: philosophies, pedagogies and practices.

Academic Areas/Links

  • Islamic education – Philosophies, Psychology, Pedagogies and Practices
  • Dialogic Education – Dialogical Self Theory; Classroom Dialogue; Intercultural Dialogue
  • Teacher Professional Development - Teacher-led inquiry and online asynchronous open access TPD
  • Philosophy of Education - 
  • Home-schooling / Un-schooling 
  • Religious Education
  • Critical Pedagogies
  • Indigenous Research - Theories and Methodologies

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Current Research Project(s)

I am jointly funded by the Leverhulme and Isaac Newton trusts to undertake a three-year research project titled: Rethinking Islamic education for British Muslim children: a philosophical investigation of dialogue in Islamic educational theory and an empirical study trialling dialogic halaqah (Islamic circle of learning) in UK madrasahs (supplementary schools). This project has led to three collaborative initiatives: a) early career network exploring theoretical paradigms; b) an online platform that houses an open-access MOOC which I am using to collect data and c) a collaboration between British Muslim women educators. 

My postdoc builds on my PhD research: Pedagogy as Dialogue between Cultures: Exploring Halaqah: an Islamic dialogic pedagogy that acts as a vehicle for developing Muslim children’s shakhsiyah (personhood, autonomy, identity) in a pluralist society.

It also builds on my Masters research: Tarbiyah for Shakhsiyah (Educating for Identity): Seeking out culturally coherent education for Muslim children in the 21st century.

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Course involvement / Teaching

  • Tripos Part 1A - Critical Debates in Education
  • Tripos Part 1B - Emergence of Educational Thinking and Systems; Formal and Informal Contexts of Learning
  • Practitioner Professional Development: Dialogue in Education

I co-supervise PhD/EdD students in partnership with another faculty member. Prospective students may wish to consider Daniel Moulin-Stozek, Rupert Wegerif or Hilary Cremin as potential co-supervisors.  

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Principal and Recent Publications

Please see the following: