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María Barba Núñez

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I am a lecturer and researcher at the Faculty of Education of the University of A Coruña.

My earlier career combined research and teaching, with work as a social educator in the associative sector, as well as group participation and activism - always centered around three lines of interest:

  • environmental education and global citizenship education, based on critical and transformative pedagogies that address the major challenges of our time, in terms of social and environmental justice;

  • social pedagogy, particularly work with vulnerable groups, from an educational standpoint aimed at guaranteeing rights and empowering citizens in the transformation of their realities;

  • and participation, sociocultural animation and community development, axes that I consider crucial to the construction of societies that are more just and oriented toward caring for the life, people and nature.

I am currently researching with the ECIGAL group, extending and contributing to the promotion of critical and transformative pedagogies.

About me

I am a social educator and pedagogue with a PhD in Education from the University of Santiago de Compostela. I presented my doctoral thesis in the field of environmental education, a socio-biographical study that explored the trajectory of environmental education in Galicia, using a sociological approach based on Bourdieu's theories.

My research career started out with the USPA SEPA-Interea Research Group, with which I continue to actively collaborate. I have linked my research work to the theme of climate change, within the Resclima project, and to sustainability culture and education for development and global citizenship in transnational projects with the Dominican Republic. I have trained primary and secondary teachers in these areas, through the NGDO InteRed Galicia, with which I also collaborated for years in the development and implementation of DE initiatives and as a volunteer coordinator. I was a member of the Education Commission of the Galician Coordinator of Education for Development from 2012 to 1015 and president of the Galician Society of Environmental Education from 2016 to 2019.


I worked for 6 years as a social educator in the association Aliad Ultreia, of which I am currently president. This brought me closer to educational work in prison contexts, with people with drug addiction problems, and with women who are victims of gender violence, especially trafficking and sexual exploitation, an issue which I also address through group activism. My professional work in this association has focused mainly on the penitentiary field and the promotion of social participation and volunteering. Aliad Ultreia, together with the USC SEPA-Interea Research Group, have been conducting an ongoing participatory action research project at the Monterroso penitentiary, which has led to a socio-cultural animation plan that is now in its tenth year. The innovative nature of this initiative was recognized by the Obra Social La Caixa’s social innovation award, and also resulted in the publication of the book Animación Sociocultural en prisión. Una experiencia en el centro penitenciario de Monterroso (Barba, Morán and Cruz, 2017).


Since 2018 I have been a professor at the Faculty of Education of the University of A Coruña, in the Department of Pedagogy and Teaching, area of Theory and History of Education. I was an adjust professor for the first two year, and currently serve as interim professor.

In the Social Education undergraduate program I became involved as a teacher for the subjects Social Pedagogy, Free Time and Environmental Education, and in supervising practicum and final degree projects. In the Early Childhood Education program I teach the subject Theory of Education. I am currently the coordinator of the Social Education program.


In the research sphere, I am currently a member of the ECIGAL (Global Citizenship Education) Research Group, exploring issues of global citizenship education and other critical and participatory pedagogies. I also maintain my links as an external collaborator with the USC SEPA-Interea Group, especially in the field of climate change and sustainability culture, and I am a member of the research team of the interuniversity project “Childhood and participation. Diagnosis and proposals for an active and inclusive citizenship in the community, institutions and governance.”


Faculty of Education

Office P0 A7

University of A Coruña 

Elviña Campus

15071  A Coruña 


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