Research-Creation as Methodology in the arts, humanities & social sciences

A Seminar with Dr Sarah E. Truman Thursday 29th  September, 2pm-4pm, Hendon Campus, C133

Originally coined in Canada, the concept research-creation has been mobilized as a term that acknowledges research projects at the intersection of arts practices, theory, and research. In this seminar, Sarah discusses how the theories she draws on to conduct research-creation projects are aligned with what has been dubbed the feminist materialisms. Specifically, a feminist orientation of conducting research that is embedded in anti-colonial, anti-racist, and queer politics. Sarah gives a brief overview of research-creation, poses some questions around queer-feminist approaches to research methods that draws on her new book Feminist Speculations and the practice of Research-Creation followed by a few examples from her past and current research. Following this overview, seminar participants will engage in a series of thinking-creating activities and group discussions focused on their own areas of research.  

Sarah E. Truman is Senior Lecturer at The University of Melbourne and co-convenor of the Literary Education Lab. From 2022-2025 Dr. Truman is an ARC DECRA Fellow whose project focuses on youth creative writing of science fiction in mining and metropolitan communities in three commonwealth countries (Australia, Canada, and Wales). In addition to conducting research into literary education, Dr. Truman co-directs the international research-creation project WalkingLab, and composes music with Oblique Curiosities. Dr. Truman’s most recent book is Feminist Speculations and the Practice of Research-Creation (Routledge). 2022). www.sarahetruman.com 

Supporting Early Years leaders to develop through digital professional learning

In the Nuffield-funded project, Dr Mona Sakr and colleagues are investigating what we know about professional learning for Early Years leaders and how we can use digital technologies to advance and improve what’s available. The project has just published results from the first strand of the research – a systematic review of global research on leadership development and digitally mediated professional learning in Early Years Education. 

Key findings from the review are: 

• Digitally Mediated Professional Learning (DMPL) can be used to improve access to leadership development in EY, but its effective use depends on careful design including: 

o Multiple delivery modes 

o Opportunities for dialogue and connection 

o Authentic reflection experiences 

• Research suggests that DMPL without these elements can impact negatively on motivation among EY staff. 

• DMPL for leadership development must meet the practical requirements and constraints of EY educators and their day to day work, which research shows to be sector-specific. This means supporting EY educators through learning technologies that integrate well into their everyday teaching environments and are easy to learn. Support is essential to enable a positive and useful experience.

Read the report in full here: Systematic Review (developingearlyyearsleaders.co.uk)

CHILDHOOD AND SOCIETY SEMINAR: BEYOND MALE RECRUITMENT  

DECOLONISING GENDER DIVERSIFICATION EFFORTS IN THE EARLY YEARS BY ATTENDING TO PASTPRESENT MATERIAL-DISCURSIVE-AFFECTIVE ENTANGLEMENTS WITH SID MOHANDAS

Abstract In the past few decades important work has been undertaken to unsettle essentialist conceptualisations of gender/sex in the early years workforce (Xu et al. 2020). Through an auto/ethnographic diffractive engagement that thinks with feminist ‘new’ materialist and postcolonial scholarships, this paper uncovers the need to move beyond an exclusive focus on diversifying the workforce by simply increasing the number of men. Moving beyond the narrow focus enables a richer and more expansive understanding of gender/sex that exposes colonialism and reveals everyday practices of early childhood educators to be shaped by place, space and matter. By attending to how matter matters in early years, child-sized chairs are used as a point of entry into this research inquiry to explore how gender/sex is produced through pastpresent, material-discursive-affective and more-than-human entanglements. The paper proposes that complicating understandings of gender/sex is important to decolonise early childhood spaces, and so hold space for the emergence of difference that is unmodulated by whiteness. Recognising the agentic potential of matter further opens up possibilities for that which is not-yet, but available to us, to make life more think-able in cis white heteropatriarchy.

Bio: Sid Mohandas is a former Montessori educator and teacher trainer. He is also the founder of The Male Montessorian. Sid is currently doing his doctorate at Middlesex University investigating how gender materialises in Montessori spaces using feminist ’new’ materialist and decolonial theories.

Video: Portal-time and wander lines – What does virusing-with make possible in childhood research? (Professor Jayne Osgood, Childhood and Society Seminar)

This paper emerged from the forces of a global pandemic that has invited us to wrestle with what ‘virusing-with’, as an everyday, bodily and affective practice, makes possible in educational research. We feel the Coronavirus perform its agency in ways that are imperceptible but palpably sensed – in our everyday lives as early childhood scholars, teachers, grand/mothers, aunties – we encounter childhood in the Capitalocene in new, troubling, and yet hopeful ways. We ask, what does virusing-with make possible? What is its potential to disrupt and reformulate how wander lines take shape? Might it be creative of ‘a knowing that must always remain out of bounds’? (Manning, 2019, p. 3). We wonder how ‘normal’ has been displaced, where ‘factories of knowledge’ (Manning, 2020, p. 4) (i.e. kindergartens and universities) are forced to produce other ways of becoming? In order to wrestle with these questions we work in the speculative mode by presenting a series of extraordinary events. We turn to extraordinarily ordinary everyday events – events that are felt from our positions of white privilege; that are agitated from encounters at kindergarten; and from the forces generated from images of animals caught up in the virus. We take these moments as invitations to reformulate and renew ways of thinking-doing qualitative research that push ideas and practices about childhood in the Capitalocene in more generative directions, that celebrate the agentic relationalities between the human, non-human and more-than-human.

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.

Dr Mona Sakr & Polly Crowther make the case for urgently developing leadership in the Early Years

In the journal of the Chartered College of Teaching, Impact, Polly Crowther and Mona Sakr have published a case for leadership development in the Early Years.

Financially precarious, under-valued and staffed by a workforce in crisis, the Early Years sector in the UK is fraught with complex challenges. It faces the intense post-pandemic needs of children and families and new statutory frameworks. International research shows that high-quality leadership can enable Early Years settings to meet these challenges… Read more.

Childhood and Society Seminar with Professor Jayne Osgood: Portal-time and wander lines: What does virusing-with make possible in childhood research? (12pm London Time, 20th Sep, free, online)

This paper emerged from the forces of a global pandemic that has invited us to wrestle with what ‘virusing-with’, as an everyday, bodily and affective practice, makes possible in educational research. We feel the Coronavirus perform its agency in ways that are imperceptible but palpably sensed – in our everyday lives as early childhood scholars, teachers, grand/mothers, aunties – we encounter childhood in the Capitalocene in new, troubling, and yet hopeful ways. We ask, what does virusing-with make possible? What is its potential to disrupt and reformulate how wander lines take shape? Might it be creative of ‘a knowing that must always remain out of bounds’? (Manning, 2019, p. 3). We wonder how ‘normal’ has been displaced, where ‘factories of knowledge’ (Manning, 2020, p. 4) (i.e. kindergartens and universities) are forced to produce other ways of becoming? In order to wrestle with these questions we work in the speculative mode by presenting a series of extraordinary events. We turn to extraordinarily ordinary everyday events – events that are felt from our positions of white privilege; that are agitated from encounters at kindergarten; and from the forces generated from images of animals caught up in the virus. We take these moments as invitations to reformulate and renew ways of thinking-doing qualitative research that push ideas and practices about childhood in the Capitalocene in more generative directions, that celebrate the agentic relationalities between the human, non-human and more-than-human.

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.

Video: Challenging Negative Perceptions around the ‘African Child’ (Childhood and Society Seminar Series)

This free online event was hosted on Monday 12th July 2021.

Dr Evelyn Corrado, Roehampton University & Dr Leena Robertson, Middlesex University

Contemporary childhood studies have portrayed the ‘African child’ as one who is vulnerable and disadvantaged. The developing world construct is a ‘western’ preconceived label, which shapes a universal deprived position for Africans. Nonetheless, this dichotomy is not representative of most African childhoods, which are comfortable and remain unveiled.

The chapter argues that there is need to restructure the African childhood outlook, drawing from their perspectives. A critical analysis will concern the discourses of the ‘African child’ produced by the universal childhood theories, the African childhood accounts and also the current economic and social positions of Africa. The conclusion contends that the African childhood constructions should be re-assessed through ethnography and robust education, for emancipation. This supports the UN Convention rights of the Child’s recognition of children’s right of self-determination.

Dr Evelyn Wandia Corrado Bio 

Dr Evelyn Corrado is a Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies at Froebel College in the University of Roehampton. She is a Fellow of Higher Education Academy (FHEA). Evelyn study background is Psychology (MSc and BSc) and Sociology of Education. Her Ph.D. research explored dialogic pedagogies in Kenya. Evelyn grew up in Kenya and has a tremendous social-cultural understanding of the African context, which informs her work. Previously, Evelyn worked in UK Mental Health Sector for 9 years and later as an academic tutor at Middlesex University for four years (in the BA Education program).

 

Professor Jayne Osgood presents on the ‘mutated modest witness’ at SERA’s Early Years Network (video online)

Following an invitation, on 2nd June 2021, Professor Jayne Osgood presented her current research to the Scottish Education Research Association (SERA) Early Years Network. Her paper explored the  promise of Haraway’s ‘mutated modest witness’ to undertaking early childhood research on play and pedagogy, differently, as a means to consider the worldly connections and ethical responsibilities that researchers have when researching with young children.

You can watch the video online via the Early Years Network Video youtube channel (third video down).