Dr Camilla Fitzsimons

Adult and Community Education

Associate Professor

Maynooth University School of Education
(01) 708 3951


Hello, my name is Camilla. I'm an Associate Professor in the Department of Adult and Community Education. I've been working in Adult Education since the 1990s. I have a particular interest in education within social movements and community spaces. I used to be a nurse but left the wards behind in the 1990s to set up a women's community education group in North Dublin. I stayed in community education for around 15 years (aside from taking some time out to care for my children when they were young). My PhD (and subsequent book) - Community Education and Neoliberalism (2017), the largest national study of community education in Ireland, focused on the co-option of much consciousness-raising education by neoliberal forces. In part because of this co-option much critical community education now happens in non-funded spaces including housing actions, reproductive rights activism and in trade union spaces. I continue to work with feminist-led civil society spaces that seek to advance equal rights for people of all genders. In these spaces, I have a particular interest in the role of critical feminist pedagogy. I have led out a number of education initiatives and have a strong record in collaborative, engaged, action research projects across feminist-groups, community education, and other spaces where equality and social justice agendas need to be advanced. With the support of hundreds of activists, I did significant research on the Irish Repeal Movement which has been published in the book Repealed: Ireland's Unfinished Fight for Reproductive Rights (2021). In 2022, Repealed was awarded the James S Donnelly Sr book award for contribution to History and Social Science by the American Conference for Irish Studies. In recent years, I have collaborated on anti-racism work within adult and community education (mostly focusing on my own whiteness). I have also looked inwards at the precarious nature of much work within Adult, Further and Community Education. I currently coordinate the Higher Diploma in Further Education - A Teaching Council accredited programme that enables successful graduates to register to teach in a range of adult education spaces including Further Education Colleges, community education, Youthreach centres, prisons and many more spaces that offer QQI awards. I also work across our Masters and Doctoral Programmes. Please feel free to contact me if I can be of assistance in any way. You can also find out more about my work at my website www.camillafitzsimons.com    

Research Interests

Consciousness-raising Education.  
Feminism, Gender Equality and Women's Rights.  
Critical Pedagogy. 
Groupwork and Facilitation. 
The impact of Neoliberalism on our world. 
Another world is possible - Education can play a part in making that a reality. 

I am currently working on an extensive research project that seeks to rethink feminism in a way that argues for a radical, inclusive, anti-neoliberal approach to activism. 

Research Projects

Title Role Description Start date End date Amount
Improving the educational outcomes of Traveller Children by exploring bespoke support possibilities and alternative approaches. Research advisor 01/05/2023 11/08/2024
Research and Develop a Strategy for Adult Community Education Provision in North East Inner City Dublin PI submitting a tender for the research brief attached. 01/06/2021 31/12/2021 19450.22
SMILE -Social Meaning Impact through LLL Universities in Europe PI General objective: • Disseminating and/or scaling up good practices on inclusive learning initiated in particular at local level. In the context of the present call, scaling up means replicating good practice on a wider scale/transferring it to a different context or implementing it at a higher/systemic level Specific objective: • Promoting inclusive education and training and fostering the education of disadvantaged learners, including through supporting educational staff 01/12/2020 30/11/2023 54207
Lilian Nwanze “The invisible b urden: The emotional dimensions of racialization on the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Learner in the Irish Further Education System.” PI LILIAN NGOZI NWANZE IRC GOI PG 2020 Scholarship. Camilla Fitzsimons is the supervisor for the PhD. 01/10/2020 30/09/2023 81624.78
Muslim women’s experience of pre and post natal care in Ireland; “A Mother is Born Too” PI Aim of the research: To explore Muslim women’s experience of maternity care in Ireland from a human rights perspective and to identify barriers to access so as to make informed recommendations that might improve outcomes for mothers, babies and their families. Objectives: - Outline a human rights perspective in the context of accessing maternity services including pre and post natal care. - Explore European and international best practice. - Uncover the experiences of Muslim women in Ireland. - Make recommendations that inform maternity services. Research methodology: The research will be mixed-methods in nature and will be underpinned by a feminist research approach. What this means to us is that the people at the centre of the experience are the experts. Our role as researchers is to create conditions where these experiences can be shared in a way that is safe for participants to do so, and that enhances our understanding of the phenomenon. We are allies not experts who bring particular expertise and skills. 01/06/2020 31/12/2020 6504
Closure of community education projects PI This short desk research assesses the closures of community education projects in Ireland since 2008. 09/11/2018 31/12/2018 8320.62
FinALE - funding community education in ireland Principal Investigator This research investigated dominant funding models across a number of European member states 03/04/2018 28/11/2018
precarious professionality co-researcher This mixed methods study probed into the occupational experiences of graduates from the Higher Diploma in Further Education at Maynooth University. 01/12/2017 31/07/2018
A Community Education response to anti-Muslim Racism (Islamophobia) in Ireland Coordinator and Researcher Through community education, this project principally seeks to design and pilot educational materials that address anti-Muslim racism in a way that acknowledges the complexity of emotion and experience surrounding this phenomenon. The project’s objectives are: - To gather qualitative and quantitative research on anti-Muslim racism in Ireland (November 2015-February 2016). - Based on these research findings, to design creative, participatory educational resources. - To create collaborative learning spaces where anti-Muslim racism can be supportively problematised at grass-roots level. These spaces will be co-facilitated by Muslim and non-Muslim facilitators. - To publish a report on the project that includes innovative educational resources and a philosophy of education that can be applied in a range of adult, community and further education contexts. Thus far, an intercultural advisory group has been convened and a funding application has been submitted to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. 01/11/2015 03/09/2017
Integrating cultural diversity into Higher Education (HE4u2) Researcher HE4u2 emphasises the importance of inclusive higher education curricula with particular emphasis on representation and support for migrant students and students of ethnic minority backgrounds. The project aims are: - To explore current policies and practices of cultural inclusion of ethnic minority students in European higher education and to improve the practice of higher education practitioners. - To develop an innovative integrated approach that: is relevant and pedagogically sensitive to the needs of migrants and ethnic minorities; promotes cultural and religious tolerance and understanding; respects the knowledge, experiences and perspectives of both educators and students; and creates intercultural dialogue to the benefit of all learners. - To adopt an adult education approach which integrates learning strategies, tools and inclusive pedagogies; respects the perspectives of educators and learners; mediates learning barriers for learners from culturally diverse backgrounds; and values the cultural understanding they bring. 07/06/2015 01/07/2017
Unlocking Freedom through Adult and Community Education Researcher Erasmus+ Unlocking Freedom through Adult and Community Education, (2015-2018) Unlocking Freedom emphasises the role of adult education in supporting the deinstitutionalisation of people with intellectual disabilities. The project has three key objectives, - To improve the life-long learning opportunities and social integration of people with disabilities through adult and community education; - To bring local adult education providers together with local community based services/facility operators with the aim of devising or adapting curriculum to support their new role in including people with disabilities in their activities; - To address the formal education needs of staff moving from institutional to community based provision in order to challenge the institutional culture of the organisation and to maximise their support to integrate people with disabilities fully into the community. 01/06/2015 02/06/2018


Year Publication
2021 Camilla Fitzsimons (2021) Repealed: Ireland's Unfinished Fight for Reproductive Rights. London: Pluto Press.
2017 Fitzsimons C. (2017) Community education and neoliberalism: Philosophies, practices and policies in Ireland. Switzerland: Palgrave/MacMillan. [Link] [DOI]

Edited Book

Year Publication
2023 Camilla Fitzsimons and Jerry O'Neill (Ed.). (2023) Critical Perspectives on Further Education and Training. London: Anthem Press,

Book Chapter

Year Publication
2020 Akinborewa, V., Fitzsimons, C. and Obasi, P (2020) 'Nothing about us without us Nigerian and Irish women working together' In: I am a man of peace, writings inspired by the Maynooth University Ken Saro-Wiwa Collective. Canada : Daraja Press.
2018 FINN, Josephine; FITZSIMONS, Camilla; GRUMMELL, Bernie and NOONE, Maggie (2018) 'Difference and Inclusion in Higher Education: Integrating cultural diversity in lifelong learning' In: Die Lifelong Learning Universität der Zukunft. Institutionelle Standpunkte aus der wissenschaftlichen Weiterbildung. Munster/ New York : Waxmann.
2014 Camilla Fitzsimons (2014) 'Worlds Apart? The disunity of FET policy directives and Community-based Education for social change' In: Further Education and Training, history politics and practice. Kildare, Ireland : MACE publications.

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2023 Camilla Fitzsimons and Lilian Nwanze (2023) 'Can Critical Education Help Address Racial Discrimination in Irish Maternity Settings?'. Journal of Critical Education Policy Studies, . [Link]
2022 Fitzsimons, Camilla (2022) 'Critical Education in the Irish Repeal Movement'. Studies in the Education of Adults, Special Edition 2022 . [DOI]
2022 Fitzsimons C.; Henry S.; O’Neill J. (2022) 'Precarity and the pandemic: an inquiry into the impact of Covid19 on the working lives of non-permanent educators in post-compulsory education in Ireland'. Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 27 (4):622-642. [DOI]
2022 Fitzsimons, Camilla and Nwanze, Lilian (2022) 'Towards, critical, engaged, antiracist learning environments'. The Adult Learner, . [Link]
2019 Magrath C.J.; Fitzsimons C. (2019) 'Funding community education in Ireland: Making the case for a needs-based approach'. Journal of Social Science Education, 18 (4):38-50. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2019 Fitzsimons C. (2019) 'Working as a white adult educator, using our own life stories to explore asymmetries of power and privilege'. Studies in the Education of Adults, . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2017 Fitzsmons, C. (2017) 'Rhetoric and reality: The Irish experience of Quality Assurance'. The Adult Learner, .
2017 Fitzsimons, C. (2017) 'Adult education responses to the ‘othering’ of Muslim identity: Perspectives from Ireland'. Journal of Adult and Continuing Education, 23 (2):263-280. [DOI]
2013 Fitzsimons, C. and Dorman, P. (2013) 'Swimming in the Swamp, inquiry into accreditation, community development, and social change'. The Adult Learner, . [Full-Text]
2012 Camilla Fitzsimons (2012) 'Social Change and Community Education – Where are we now?’'. The Irish Review of Community Economic Development Law and Policy, Volume 1 (4) . [Full-Text]
2010 Camilla Fitzsimons (2010) 'Professionalism in Community Work and its implications for Radical Community Education’'. The Adult Learner, :53-71.
2023 Camilla Fitzsimons (2023) 'Towards an Inclusive, Critical Feminist Pedagogy'. Concept: the journal of contemporary community education practice theory, 14 (1):1-10. [Link] [DOI]

Other Journal

Year Publication
2022 Camilla Fitzsimons (2022) 'Roe V. Wade, How did we get here? What should we do?' Irish Marxism Review, 11 (34) . [Link]
2021 Fitzsimons, Camilla (2021) 'Abortion Access and Reproductive Rights' Irish Marxist Review, (30) :21-27.
2018 HE4u2 consortium (in alphabetical order): José Pedro AMORIM, Amandine BERNAL, Sofia CASTANHEIRA PAIS, Françoise DE VIRON, Josephine FINN, Camilla FITZSIMONS, Bernie GRUMMELL, Timo HALTTUNEN, Beate HÖRR, Amelia LOPES, Kia LUNDQVIST, Isabel MENEZES, Tiago NEVES, Agnes RASCHAUER, Katharina RESCH, Carme ROYO, Alfredo SOEIRO, Iris THIMM, Francesca URAS, Leena VANHAKYLA, Georgios ZARIFIS (2018) 'Tools to promote Cultural Diversity in Higher Education – The HE4u2 project' eucen Studies: eJournal of University Lifelong Learning, 2 (1) . [Link] [Full-Text]

Conference Publication

Year Publication
2021 Fitzsimons, Camilla and Lilian Nwanze (2021) Diversity . In: Eva Baloch-Kaloianov eds. Let's talk about structural exclusion and racism in Adult Education [Link]

Conference Contribution

Year Publication
2022 Camilla Fitzsimons and Lilian Nwanze (2022) Erasmus+ Space for Connection and Sharing Stories for Adult Educators Erasmus+ Space for Connection and Sharing Stories for Adult Educators Leargas, Dublin, .
2021 Fitzsimons, Camilla (2021) Engaged Research - The Irish Repeal Movement Annual conference of the Sociology Association of Ireland Trinity College, .
2021 Camilla Fitzsimons (2021) Representation Matters EPALE annual seminar Online, 01/07/2021-.
2021 camilla fitzsimons (2021) Centenary of Paulo Freire Event to celebrate the impact of Paulo Freire on my practice as an adult educator Instituto Paulo Freire, Portugal, 01/11/2021-.
2021 Fitzsimons, Camilla and Shaw, Mae (2021) Reasserting the Politics of Community Education Webinar Series EPALE Community Education Webinar Series, 01/04/2021-01/09/2021.
2019 Fitzsimons, C. & O'Neill, J. (2019) EuroACS 2019 conference: curriculum origins, trajectories and practices Adult education and curriculum tensions Maynooth University, .
2017 Fitzsimons, C and Psych, Z. (2017) International Popular Education Network Conference A Community Education response to anti-Muslim Racism (Islamophobia) in Ireland Edinburgh, Scotland, .
2019 Fitzsimons, C and O'Neill, J. (2019) Standing Conference on University Teaching and Research on the Education of Adults Being an adult educator in our contemporary world Nottingham, UK, .
2016 Fitzsimons, C. & O'Neill, J. (2016) Creative explorations of adult educators’ values, challenges and hope ESREA 8th Triennial European Research Conference Maynooth University, .
2018 Camilla Fitzsimons (2018) Adult Education and White Privilege - Untangling Dilemma of Power and Privilege ESREA network on Interrogating Transformative Processes in Learning and Education Conference on “Contemporary Dilemmas and Learning for Transformation” Milan, Italy, University of Milano-Bicocca, .
2016 Camilla Fitzsimons and Jerry O'Neill (2016) Values Challenges and Hope for Adult Educators This workshop supported adult educators to explore the values and principles important to their work and to contextalise these within the challenges of neoliberal policy ESREA 8th Triennial European Research Conference, Imagining Diverse Futures for Adult Education, .
2016 Fitzsimons, C, Grummell, B and Finn, J. (2016) The Challenges of Researching Inclusive Learning in Higher Education across Europe: HE4u2 project Introductory analysis of the challenges of cross-European research to determine the experiences of migrants within Higher Education ESREA 8th Triennial European Research Conference, Imagining Diverse Futures for Adult Education, .

Published Report

Year Publication
2022 Camilla Fitzsimons (2022) Irish healthcare workers experiences of anti-abortion protesters and the case for safe access zones. Maynooth University (eprints), . [Link]
2021 Fitzsimons, C., Hassan, B., Nwanze, L, & Obasi, P. (2021) Researching the Needs of Muslim Women in Irish Maternity Settings: A mother is born too. Amal Women's Association, . [Link]
2021 Fitzsimons, C., Henry, S. & O'Neill, J. (2021) Precarity and the Pandemican inquiry into the impact of Covid19 on the working lives of non-permanent educators in, and across, higher and further education in Ireland:. eprints Maynooth University, . [Link]
2018 O'Neill, J. and Fitzsimons, C. (2018) Precarious professionality: A review of the experiences and employment status of graduates of the Higher Diploma in Further Education at Maynooth University’s Department of Adult and Community Education (2013-2017). Executive Briefing. Maynooth University, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland, . [Full-Text]
2017 Magrath, C and Fitzsimons, C (2017) Review of Maynooth University's Return to Learning Certificate 1992-2016. Maynooth University, . [Link]
2017 Fitzsimons, C. & O'Neill, J. (2017) The Foundation Certificates: a summary review of Maynooth University’s Foundation Certificate Programme from 2002-2014. Maynooth Access Programme, .
2017 Fitzsimons, C., Grummell, B. and Noone, M. (2017) HE4u2 survey findings – Integrating cultural diversity in higher education. EUCEN, . [Full-Text]
2010 Camilla Fitzsimons and Sarah Connors (2010) Supporting the Recreational Needs of Young Travellers in Bray and Surrounding Areas. Bray Traveller Action Group, .
2008 Camilla Fitzsimons (2008) Assessing the need for a Network of Educators in Ballymun and Surrounding Areas. Ballymun Partnership, .

Audiovisual material

Year Publication
2022 Camilla Fitzsimons and Eamonn McCann (2022) War and an Irish Town with Eamonn McCann and Camilla Fitzsimons. YouTube: [Audiovisual material] [Link]


Year Publication
2022 Camilla Fitzsimons (2022) Stick or Twist? The Love Island Dilemma. Online: [Blog] [Link]
2022 Camilla Fitzsimons (2022) 'Nun' of your business #MakeNHMOurs'. Online: [Blog] [Link]
2022 Camilla Fitzsimons (2022) Five reasons why I am not staying quiet about trans rights. online: [Blog] [Link]
2021 camilla fitzsimons (2021) The Fight for Repeal, An Activist's Story. [Blog] [Link]
2021 Camilla Fitzsimons (2021) Community Education: So Much More than a Course. Online: [Blog] [Link]
2021 Camilla Fitzsimons (2021) Book Launch: Dr Camilla Fitzsimons – Repealed: Ireland’s Unfinished Fight for Reproductive Rights. [Blog] [Link]

Book Review

Year Publication
2020 Fitzsimons, C (2020) Book review Community Work and Adult Education in Staveley. [Book Review]
2019 Camilla Fitzsimons (2019) Mapping out the research field of adult education and learning. UK: [Book Review] [Link] [DOI] [Full-Text]


Year Publication
2019 Caramelo J.; Fitzsimons C.; Menezes I. (2019) Participation in non-formal education and community education implications for civic and political capital. [Editorial] [DOI]

Policy Contribution

Year Publication
2021 Barter, G, Burns, G., Finnegan, F., Fitzsimons, C., Grummell, B., Kenny, M., Nugent, M., O’Neill, J. (2021) Equity of Access to Higher Education Submission to the National Access Plan 2022-2026 on behalf of Dept of Adult & Community Education. [Policy Contribution]


Year Publication
2022 Camilla Fitzsimons and Sinead Kennedy (2022) Repealed; Ireland's Unfinished Fight for Reproductive Rights. [Podcast] [Link]
2021 Camilla Fitzsimons and Sinead Kennedy (2021) The Tortoise Shack - Repealed. [Podcast] [Link]
2021 Camilla Fitzsimons, Sinead Kennedy and Ruth Coppinger (2021) Radicals in Conversation: Repealed, Ireland's Unfinished Fight for Reproductive Rights. [Podcast]
2020 Camilla Fitzsimons (2020) Education Outside the System (Part 1) : Dr. Camilla Fitzsimons on Community Education. [Podcast] [Link]


Year Publication
2018 Burke, L., Finn, J., Fitzsimons, C., Gannon, M., Grummell, B., O’Neill, J., Smith, M. (2018) Facilitating Inclusive Learning: A Continuous Professional Development Programme (CPD) for staff working with adults with diverse learning abilities in adult, further and community education. Maynooth University: [Report]

Curriculum design / Support materials

Year Publication
2022 Camilla Fitzsimons (2022) Reproduction and Rights a curriculum for Activists. [Curriculum design / Support materials]
2017 Fitzsimons, C, Grummell, B. and Finn, J. (2017) Creating Intercultural Environments: Guidelines for Staff within Higher Education Institutions. [Curriculum design / Support materials] [Link]
2015 Crowley, S., Fitzsimons, C. and O'Brien, T. (2015) The Irish Debt Crisis, what happened? Workshop template for Community Education Settings. [Curriculum design / Support materials] [Link]
2015 Fitzsimons, C and Connolly, B. (2015) Women's Reproduction and Rights. [Curriculum design / Support materials] [Link]
Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of Science (2023) of Clarivate. All rights reserved.

Professional Associations

Description Function From / To
Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) Trade Union Committee Member -

Honors and Awards

Date Title Awarding Body
01/01/2015 PhD Adult and Community Education Maynooth University
01/09/2022 MPhil Gender and Women's Studies Trinity College Dublin
01/11/2021 Irish Research Council Ally Prize The Irish Research Council


Committee Function From / To
Faculty of Social Science Research Ethics Committee Reviewer -
Maynooth University Sanctuary Committee member -


Employer Position From / To
Maynooth University Lecturer -
Various Nursing Positions General Nurse (RGN) 10/10/1991 - 10/10/1998
Respond Housing Association Community Education Lead 01/03/2008 - 01/08/2015
The Community and Family Training Agency Co-Ordinator (CEO) 01/08/2001 - 01/12/2005
The Star Project Co-Ordinator (CEO) 01/03/1998 - 01/01/2001


Client Description
Longford-Westmeath Education and Training Board Continuous professional development workshop for Community Education tutors working across Longford and Westmeath

Editorial / Academic Reviews

Amount Role From / To
Studies in the Education of Adults Member of the Editorial Board -
European Journal of Social Sciences Guest Editor -

Outreach Activities

Organisation Type Description
The Abortion Rights Campaign Civic Society The Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC) is the largest pro-choice campaign group in Ireland with a strong international reputation. I am a member of the Policy and Advocacy sub-committee. I also take a lead role in education initiatives within ARC [Link]
Partners Training for Transformation Civic Society Partners Training for Transformation is a civil society organisation interested in Freirean, critical pedagogy. I am a member of their Board of Directors. Partners is a community education. Our approach to education is participatory, experiential and hands-on. [Link]
Dublin 7/Dublin 15 Action Against Gender-Based Violence Civic Society Dublin 7/Dublin 15 is a local activist group was established in 2019 with the express intention of putting gender-based violence on the political agenda. We have organised a range of local initiatives, information evenings and campaigns [Link]

Teaching Interests

 I co-coordinate the Higher Diploma in Further Education.  This is a professional post-graduate programme that enables successful graduates to register via route 3 with The Teaching Council of Ireland. 
I also coordinate education programmes within campaign groups and community organisations. 
My teaching interests gender and feminism, critical pedagogy, group work, philosophies and practice of adult education.  

Current Students

Student Name Degree Supervision

Recent Students

Graduation date Name Degree
2020 Dr Gina Noonan
2020 Chanel Watson