Video: From multispecies tangles and Anthropocene muddles: what can lichen teach us about precarity and indeterminacy in early childhood?

Professor Jayne Osgood

This event was hosted 12-12.45pm on Monday 22nd Feb. It was a free online event.

This paper pursues storytelling in the Anthropocene as a method of earthly survival and multispecies flourishing from capitalist ruins. Storytelling emerged from (an accidental method of) walking-with during a global pandemic; the figure of the modern-day flâneuse is mobilised as a feminist praxis to investigate infected, entangled and affective relationalities between the human, non-human and more-than-human as they unfold in the daily tangles to emerge from lock-down life in the city. It is through the art of noticing (Tsing, 2015) and the arts of living on a damage planet (Tsing et al., 2017) that a commitment to engaging with the ordinary, mundane and habitual muddle, that the world is viewed, sensed and encountered through a different set of optics. The stories that are told about lichen, a dead pigeon, and a deadly virus are curated from a specific geopolitical moment where the early childhood workforce, as a highly gendered and classed group of ‘essential’ frontline workers, suffer disproportionately. Storytelling provides a means to attune to life in Anthropocene that emphasises precarity, indeterminacy and hope. It is only by recognising that trans-corporeality demands an ethical response-ability to all life forms (Alaimo, 2016) that we might find a means of earthly survival.

Bio: Dr Jayne Osgood is Professor of Education (Early Years & Gender) based at the Centre for Education Research & Scholarship, Middlesex University. Her present methodologies and research practices are framed by feminist new materialism. Through her work she seeks to maintain a concern with issues of social justice and to critically engage with early childhood policy, curricular frameworks and pedagogical approaches. Through her work she seeks to extend understandings of the workforce, families, ‘the child’ and ‘childhood’ in early years contexts. She has published extensively within the postmodernist paradigm including Special Issues of the journal Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood (2006, 2016 and 2017) and Narratives from the Nursery: negotiating professional identities in Early Childhood (Routledge, 2012) and currently Feminist Thought in Childhood Research (Bloomsbury Series). She is a member of several editorial boards including Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, British Education Research Journal, and is Co-Editor of Gender & Education Journal and Co-Editor of Reconceptualising Education Research Methodology.