C & S SIG SEMINAR ‘DIFFICULT DIALOGUES’ How do you challenge the Fences of colonialism in your early childhood setting?(Free, online, Monday 22nd May 2023, UK Time 12-1pm)

Abstract: this presentation will consider difficult dialogues that may happen with your students or young children through either provocations or natural, historic and authentic experiences. The examples reflect an International dialogue of difficulty, that draw on colonialism from the past, and aggression that is now happening currently in the Ukraine. It focuses on how as a practitioner, you can support either students or young children in coping with the tensions due to barriers ( in this case fences) that are erected either visibly or invisibly in children’s lives and the consequences of them. I will ask you to reflect on how fences are used to maintain a discourse of power and privilege and how using the Sustainable Development Goals (UNESCO 2015) can provide organic and supportive ways forward.  


Dr Diane Boyd’s experience is varied with over 40 years of education teaching a range of children from 3 – 11 years as an early years, infant and primary teacher. Additionally, for the last 18 years Diane has worked in HE  supporting students in understanding  early childhood on  a variety of programmes. The modules and research Diane  leads  have a strong underpinning on education for sustainability, challenging students to become climate activists and to empower young children’s agency. Diane’s passion to provoke ECEC sustainable practice has produced a variety of sustainable resource packs in Ireland, Australia and England to inspire and impact sustainable practice. 

C & S SIG SEMINAR Trans Necropolitics and the Need for More-Than-(Post)Human Approaches (Free, on Campus (BARN1), Thursday 4th May 2023, UK Time 2-4pm)

Dr And Pasley

University of Auckland/University of Oulu

Posthuman approaches to research seek to undo the sins of modern/colonial humanism: positivism, dualism, individualism, anthropocentrism, transcendentalism, temporal linearity, and the subsequent hierarchies that emerge from this order of things (Quijano, 2000; Jackson, 2016). However, critiques from Indigenous scholars (e.g., Todd, 2016; Hokowhitu, 2020) suggest that Western academia’s necromantic relationship with Indigenous thought reproduces humanism’s (white) supremacist logics in efforts to account for the relational and more-than-human. This talk asks what posthumanism would have to do to avoid perpetuating such dynamics. As a case in point, posthuman approaches to education are examined as a means of combatting the (re)production of trans necropolitics (Snorton & Haritaworn, 2013) in sexuality education. Is posthumanism enough?

Bio: And Pasley’s work entangles (trans)gender studies, temporality, coloniality, relational ontologies, and postqualitative approaches to research. Their doctoral research employed an agential realist lens to explore how trans secondary students mattered in Aotearoa New Zealand. These days, their ongoing research involves diving deeper into the coloniality of gender, exploring everyday sexisms in Australian universities, and working around rainbow young people’s wellbeing in Aotearoa New Zealand. Currently, And is reworking their thesis into a book, co-editing a book on gender and education with Profs. Jayne Osgood and Susanne Gannon, and is undertaking a fellowship at the University of Oulu.

C & S SIG SEMINAR ‘DIFFICULT DIALOGUES’ SANDRA LYNDON & DEBRA LAXTON: How does a co-produced mindfulness approach support young children to develop self-regulation skills? (Free, online, Monday 17th April 2023, UK Time 12-1pm)


This presentation will report on a small scale action research project with four maintained nursery schools about how a co-produced mindfulness approach can support young children to develop self regulation skills.  Research suggests that mindfulness is an effective strategy for adults, but little research has been conducted on its impact for young children. Evidence points to the importance of relational strategies in teaching children to self-regulate: those under 6 years cannot be expected to practice mindfulness alone, they need a guiding adult to co-regulate with them (Conkbayir, 2017).  This project aims to help address this gap in research. The project was qualitative and co-produced with four maintained nursery schools, using a ‘train the trainer’ model. A lead mindfulness expert (from one of the nursery schools) trained an educator in each of the four nursery schools to deliver a 10 week mindfulness intervention with a group of children. Mindfulness leads were interviewed at the beginning and end of the project. During the intervention they were asked to keep a journal of their experiences. Each mindfulness lead was observed once delivering a group time (including mindfulness activities) to a group of children. This presentation reports on initial findings from the project. 

Zoom link: https://mdx-ac-uk.zoom.us/j/91677302906?pwd=YUIrWXNYeThiS2Fadjk5VEFlVW5rdz09

Dr Sandra Lyndon is a reader in Childhood and Social Policy at the University of Chichester. She is the research champion for Childhood and programme coordinator for the BA Hons Early Childhood level 6 top up. Sandra has worked with children and young people for over 20 years as a qualified teacher and later as an educational psychologist. Sandra completed her doctoral studies at the University of Sussex and her research interests include poverty, mindfulness practices, homelessness, intergenerational practice, and narrative methodologies.   

Debra Laxton is Senior Lecturer in Education and Early Childhood Lead at the University of Chichester. She has spent her whole career focused on the care and education of young children. Debra currently teaches across Initial Teacher Training and Education provision, focusing on early years education in pre-school settings and primary schools. Debra’s research interests explore how translational research, the movement of research-informed knowledge into professional use, can impact on educator practice to enhance the lives and experiences of young children both in global crisis settings and in the United Kingdom.


by Bogdan Matei


ZOOM LINK: https://mdx-ac-uk.zoom.us/j/94828448603?pwd=QXBJeWx5NnhtYkFVQkMvejYreitFZz09

Meeting ID: 948 2844 8603

Passcode: 137509


Technology was intended to bring us together and human interactions with machines in AI are simmering up. This research on online/offline space aims to reopen our relationships with nature and environment by using the artificial intelligence and dialogical human to human/macchine approach. This seminar explores the broad process of encountering eco-technology and ecological space, and assumes the constructive task of building a new model of that process. The aim is to help researchers, educators and various professionals, but also the general public by providing a model which is transparent and easy to use to shape new images of an ideal space related to ecology issues such as biosphere and ecosystems at risk and also a new ecosociety using childhood memories. The seminar adopts an interdisciplinary method using art based research and dialogical art. Our model proposes chronological issues and thematic issues that are deep rooted in the specific culture of an area, and in our particular study, the area of Western Romania, the Banat Region. Because our climate is changing faster and faster there is a need to relate to this process with a divergent process and we hope that in this way we can raise awareness and responsibility. We would also like to shift away from addiction to technology towards a symbiotic relationship that helps people live a full life.

Bio: Smaranda Moldovan holds a bachelor degree in visual arts – painting and a Masters degree “Sources and Resources of imagery in contemporary painting” from West University, Faculty of Arts and Design. At the same institution she developed her Phd research “From painting to object. From object to painting”, which examines, from an artistic philosophical perspective, the visual experience and the disappearance of perimetres between painting and sculpture. Her research is focused on visual arts and she believes that by uniformization and objectification the sightedness experience goes unaltered. As an effect there is a blurring of borders between mediums. The layers and layers of information grasped and unseen bring us far more from the backgrounded habits of perception, as of spirituality, somewhere where elucidations and classifications are dissolved. She coordinates the Group T40, the young artists association, under the umbrella of the Artists Association from Timisoara. As an assistant professor at West University of Timisoara, Faculty of Arts and Design, Visual art department she is involved in education as well.

Bio: Cristina Daju is a graduate of Masters and Bachelor degree Painting study programs at West University of Timisoara, Faculty of Arts and Design. Her PhD studies in visual arts developed at the same university, concluding her research about Symbolic Imagery in Florentine Renaissance art. As a visual artist, her works evolve around the idea that the artistic act implies an active element having the power to communicate, interact and involve the public, transitioning through the different mediums of painting, installation art, video and performance. Her artworks are approaching subjects concerning community, ecology, questioning systems and personal experiences of everyday life. Thus, the process becomes more important than the final work, and the artistic action is found between the new space created between the static and performative object. Currently, she is a Lecturer at the Visual Arts Department of Faculty of Arts and Design, WUT where she is developing her art research with students.

Bio: Bogdan Matei is a Ph.D student at the Timișoara Doctoral School of Art, with a thesis on questioning the status of the art object in the age of artificial intelligence. His artistic practice is situated around new media as well as traditional media. Irony and institutional criticism are elements that are found in his artistic approach. Among his most important participations are in institutions such as Kunsthalle Bega Timișoara, Biennale of Contemporary Art in Mulhouse, Museum of Art Arad, The Wrong Biennale, ArtEncounters Foundation Timișoara, IOMO Gallery Bucharest, French Institute in Cluj. He received the prize for Young Romanian Artists from the Intact Cultural Foundation in 2021.

Photo _ work by Bogdan Matei

Struggle, resilience and making change: An in-depth analysis of the experiences of two UK nursery school head teachers from minoritized communities  (FREE, ONLINE, MONDAY 27TH MARCH, 2023 UK TIME 12-1PM)

ZOOM LINK: https://mdx-ac-uk.zoom.us/j/92836689032?pwd=dVNDU005ZTNzSEQraEpuQktoejg0dz09


Little or no dialogue takes place when we consider social justice-oriented leadership progression (Johnson and Campbell-Stephens, 2012) and while studying the discrepancies of why educators from minoritized communities face far more barriers to leadership than their white counterparts, Bush et al. (2006) reports difficulties of the early years leaders’ (EY) journey to headship along with reports of overt and covert racism, particularly when working in predominantly white settings. There is an urgent need for us to understand the lived experiences of EY leaders on their journey to leadership and more importantly, give those emerging identities a voice in the context of our participants’ narratives. We present the findings from our research as an in-depth analysis of the experiences of two UK nursery school head teachers from minoritized communities. The two interviews analysed in this research are a part of a sample totaling 14 semi-structured interviews with maintained nursery school head teachers across England as a part of our earlier quantitative research funded by British Educational Research Association (BERA) (Sakr et al., 2022). We zoom in on the lived experiences of EY leaders via Critical Race Theory’s tenet of ‘story-countertelling’ and further explore multiplicity of emerging encounters framed by intersectional feminism adding multiple layers of those narratives. The research demonstrates the never-ending struggles and affective fallouts with whiteness manifested in the day to day experiences; developing resilience despite the experience of systematic racism in the form of unfair additional scrutiny; and the EY leaders’ commitment to making change to improving cultural diversity and representation as a matter of urgency for children and families served by the EY sector. The findings presented in our research prompt us to look at the complexity of human nature, our diverse experiences and individual narratives, all which have personal and collective meanings. We are aware that dialogue of counter-storytelling and intersectional feminism in relation to the lived experiences of EY leaders may not warrant the dismantle of racism, difficult endeavours, prejudice and discrimination. We hope to instigate the importance of its significance that remains unaddressed.

Bio: Magdalena Dujczynski is a research assistant at Middlesex University and EYITT supervision tutor at IOE, UCL. Her research interests include multilingualism and culturally relevant leadership in the early years sector.

Bio: Celina Pinto is a seminar leader in Middlesex University. Her research interests include race in education, social justice, equality and diversity in the Early Years sector. 

Bio: Dr Mona Sakr is Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood at Middlesex University. Her research explores early years policy and practice, particularly in relation to leadership development across the sector.

Imagining Environmental Futures: Ecopedagogy of Treescapes (free, online, Monday 6th March, 12-1pm UK Time)


Our woods, forests and trees belong to our children. However, the current long-term harming of our Treescapes is leading to loss of animal and plant life and lower environmental quality. Young people in the UK will be deeply affected by this, and they will be tasked with fixing these problems. And yet their voices are rarely heard in policy and practice, even with growing youth activism. Within the UKRI Treescapes Programme, the project Voices of the Future (2021-2024) links young people’s hopes to ground-breaking science on how trees adapt to and limit climate change. In addition to this, researchers are exploring how we can change the present and reimagine the future of treescapes for the benefit of the whole UK. Voices of the Future is a co-created, participatory and radically interdisciplinary project, spanning life sciences, arts and humanities, social science and education that seeks to equip young people with the tools to plan better environments. In my talk I will present some of the field work done to date on imagining treescapes with primary school-age children and explore the use of the philosophy of hope as a platform on which to build interdisciplinary dialogues about the future.

Bio:   Johan Siebers is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Middlesex University, where he is also Theme Director for Sustainable Communities and the Environment. His main research areas are philosophy of language and communication, futurity and the utopian philosophy of Ernst Bloch. He is Co-I of the Voices of the Future project.

Difficult dialogues to critical multilogues: Posthuman encounters in bicultural teaching and learning in an early childhood setting in Aotearoa New Zealand. (Free, online, Monday 20th Feb 2023, 12:00-13:00 UK Time

Alison Warren – Bio

Alison Warren is an early childhood teacher educator with Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand. Her doctoral thesis used concepts from Deleuze and Guattari to investigate how emotions and ways of becoming are shaped in early childhood teaching. Her present research interests are in engaging with posthumanist theories in relation with early childhood teaching and learning and with Indigenous Māori concepts and values. This seminar draws on research into bicultural teaching and learning and draws on Rosi Braidotti’s framework of critical posthumanism.


This seminar will explore what might be produced in curious and creative relations within entanglements of human and nonhuman components in an early childhood setting in Aotearoa. Difficult dialogues can become critical multilogues within an expansive posthumanist view that understands ‘conversations’ in terms of diverse ways of affecting and being affected. In Aotearoa, ongoing conditions of colonisation continue to enmesh human and nonhuman ways of being and becoming. Macro and micro elements and tensions shape how bicultural teaching and learning is understood in wider society and lived in one early childhood setting. The bicultural early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki mandates teaching and learning that reflects Te Tiriti o Waitangi partnership between Māori and non-Maōri. This presentation will oscillate between ‘big ideas’ and micro-relations. Big ideas at a societal level include difficult negotiations between colonialist settlers and Māori, and navigations of visions of education incorporating Māori values and concepts within mainstream systems firmly entrenched within Westernised beliefs and practices. Micro-processes of everyday intra-actions within one early childhood setting are explored through stories and conversations that go beyond the spoken word, among children and their families, teachers, materials and resources, policies and process. Dispositions of curiosity and creativity combine with a concept of critical multilogues to reframe difficulty in hopeful ways.

C&S SIGN Seminar Series: Child/hood/s of the Anthropocene

Federico Farini: The environment: resource, context or both?

Mari Ystanes Fjeldstad: Missing stickers and bouncing bows: Material agency in music education (online, free, Monday 6th Feb 2023,London, UK)

Federico Farini: The environment: resource, context or both?

Since 2012,  the term enabling environment has been one of four themes of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). An enabling environment is described as a rich, stimulating, and safe space offering opportunities to play, to be, to learn and to explore both physically and mentally.

This seminar argues that EYFS meaning of enabling environment is underpinned by an adult-centric vision: adults are the demiurges who construct  ‘the  rich, stimulating and safe space where children find  opportunities to play, to be, to learn and to explore both physically and mentally that are offered to them’ (EYFS, 2014-2021). 

An alternative approach is introduced, developing from the concept of  environments that enable. Environments that enable position the environment, understood as the network of relationships and interactions, at the centre. It is that network that enables, with the active participation of children are authors of knowledges and responsible decision-makers, not the creative actions of adult demiurges.

Mari Ystanes Fjeldstad: Missing stickers and bouncing bows: Material agency in music education

This talk starts from an interest in the matter of violin lessons and how they take part in the learning, teaching, and playing done. What happens when the stickers used to mark where to put the fingers on the fingerboard of a violin go missing? Or when the student shows up without a violin? To explore these questions, I tell stories from a violin lesson held by three humans—an adult teacher and two 8-year-old students—and a myriad of more-than-human agencies. I then read the stories diffractively through agential realism to develop insight into how matter matters, and how matter is connected to social class. By exploring these connections, I aim to move music education toward being more responsible for the differences we produce.

Federico Farini is Professor of Sociology at the University of Northampton, where he leads the Centre for Psychological and Sociological Sciences, and Professor of Research Methods at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. Prof Farini’s research concerns the inclusion of migrant children and young people in education; youth subcultures and cultural studies; conflict management; client-centred interpreting in healthcare and education, the role of digital media in the diffusion of knowledge. Recently, he has worked in three large EU-funded projects: Child-UP supports hybrid integration in the education system; SPACEX aims to transform urban space in places of democratic participation through public art;  SHARMED promotes the inclusion of migrant-background children in the classroom. Find his profile here:  https://pure.northampton.ac.uk/en/persons/federico-farini 

Mari Ystanes Fjeldstad teaches violin and viola in Haugerud strykeorkester, one of the coolest and most diverse string orchestras of Oslo. She is also a PhD student at the Norwegian Academy of Music. Her research interests are feminist new materialist and posthuman theories, social justice, and the knowing and learning of music education. Both as a teacher and researcher, she tries to be playful and mindful while moving toward a more liveable world for humans and non-humans.

photo courtesy of Johannes L. F. Sunde

‘That’s enough!’ (But it wasn’t): The generative possibilities of attuning to what else a tantrum can do (12:00-12:45pm, London time, Monday 23 January 2023, free online)


Often used in the plural, tantrum denotes an uncontrolled outburst of anger and frustration, typically in a young child. In this paper we attempt to enact a feminist project of reclamation and reconfiguration of ‘the toddler tantrum’. Drawing on a range of theoretical traditions, this paper investigates the complex yet generative possibilities inherent within the tantrum to argue that it can be encountered as more-than-human, as a worldly-becoming, and as a form of resistance to Anthropocentrism and childism. We propose that the tantrum might be reappraised as a generative form of (child) activism. By mobilising the potential of arts-based approaches to the study of childhood we seek to reach other, opened out and speculative accounts of what tantruming is, what it makes possible, and what it might offer to stretch ideas about, and practices with very young children. We undertake a tentacular engagement with children’s literature to arrive at possibilities to resist smoothing out, extinguishing or demonising the uncomfortable affective ecologies that are agitated by child rage. This paper brings together a concern with affect, materialities and bodies as they coalesce in more-than-human relationalities captured within ‘the tantrum’. In doing so, the unthinkable, the unbearable, the uncomfortable and the unknowable are set in motion, in the hope of arriving at a (more) critically affirmative account of childhood in all its messy complexity.


Dr. Jayne Osgood is Professor of Childhood Studies at the Centre for Education Research & Scholarship, Middlesex University. Her work addresses issues of social justice through creative, affective methodologies. She has published extensively within the post- modernist paradigm with over 100 publications in the form of books, chapters and journal papers, her most recent books include Postdevelopmental Approaches to Childhood Research Observation Bloomsbury, 2023) Postdevelopmental Approaches to Childhood Art(Bloomsbury, 2019) and Feminists Researching Gendered Childhoods(Bloomsbury, 2019) She has served on the editorial boards of various journals and is a long-standing board member at Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood. She is currently editor for the journals: Gender & Education and Reconceptualising Education Research Methodology. She is also Book Series Editor for both Bloomsbury (Feminist Thought in Childhood Research) and Springer (Keythinkers in Education).

Dr. Victoria de Rijke is Professor of Arts & Education at Middlesex University and Co-Chief Editor of Children’s Literature in Education Journal. Her research and publication is transdisciplinary, across the fields of literature and the arts, children’s literature, play and animal studies, through the associations of metaphor.

C&S SIG Childhood/s of the Anthropocene Seminar

In this paper we explore what decentring the child in posthumanism does to our research practices, to our conceptualisations of and relationalities to the child. Crucially, we explore the imperative for other ways to encounter the child – that pursue a decolonising and de/recentralising agenda. We pursue tentacular lines of enquiry through a series of interwoven stories – some more familiar than others. It is by queering old narratives that new and unexpected stories concerning pedagogical documentation, sustainability and environmental education, and the child’s contaminated connection to ‘nature’ begin to emerge. This paper attempts to mobilise ‘the posthuman child’ as feral, an uncomfortable in-between that invites us to grapple with the disease of life on a damaged planet. Central to our storytelling is recycled, ‘natural’ materials found in a Reggio Emilia kindergarten in Norway. Specifically, cork has guided us; insisting that we take the noninnocence of matter to the heart of enquiries. We do this to illustrate the potential of feminist new materialism to respond with situated, embodied, affective insights and provocations that might offer ways to consume, cohabit and wrestle in more care-full ways with the Anthropocene ecologies that we are intricately and endlessly enmeshed in.

Jayne Osgood is Professor of Childhood Studies at the Centre for Education Research & Scholarship, Middlesex University.

Her work addresses issues of social justice through critical engagements with policy, curricular frameworks, and pedagogical approaches in ECEC. She has published extensively within the postmodernist paradigm with over 100 publications in the form of books, chapters and journal papers, her most recent books include Feminists Researching Gendered Childhoods (Bloomsbury, 2019) and Postdevelopmental Approaches to Childhood Art (Bloomsbury, 2019). She has served on the editorial boards of various journals and is a long-standing board member at Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood. She is currently editor at Gender & Education Journal and Reconceptualising Education Research Methodology Journal. She is also Book Series Editor for Bloomsbury (Feminist Thought in Childhood Research; and Postdevelopmental Approaches to Childhood) and Springer (Keythinkers in Education).

Image Credit: Gas Mask Boy, Banksy (2009)

Join via Zoom: https://mdx-ac-uk.zoom.us/j/91957317562?pwd=VGd5aWlDVTVTOVdTYlhmdU16ZmVBUT09

Meeting ID: 919 5731 7562

Passcode: 651249