As support to my continuing PhD bike research, this time last weekend I attended the Australian Association of Research in (AARE) Education Theory Workshop 2016. It was the first time I have participated in this event and I went because my supervisors recommended it Griffith HDR candidates who registered got free admission. I was not sure what to expect, but I went out of general interest – to get inspired, make some contacts and perhaps even get some ideas for my research.
It was a pretty impressive event for a number of reasons. It was a very challenging and stimulating environment, with lots of academic theories, conceptual frameworks and readings being thrown around. It was at times engaging and confusing – but I let it all wash over me. I took lots of notes, contributed to extending my own understanding and I got some worthwhile advice and follow ups from the sessions I attended and the conversations I had.
I got what I wanted out of the experience and would go again. Some session were more helpful than others and I am glad that I went with a clear sense of personal purpose – I felt comfortable and productive.
Lots of big words – AARE Theory Workshop 2016
There were a number of academics from all over Australia and quite a few HDRs at different stages of their research. At first, I found the theorising quite dense and overwhelming. I had to readjust my brain to the intensity and level of analysis. I made a conscious effort to relax and glean what I could. Of course, this meant that the connections and meaningfulness of some of the ideas presented became more accessible and easier to understand – hooray for relaxing and not being intimidated by big words!
It was pretty tiring making sense and engaging with such a high level of interpretive and rigorous dialogue about abstract debates, developments and applications. In many ways it was also quite refreshing as well. I found myself exploring connections and following up lines of questioning that, although not related to my topic, were good fun to explore just for the sake of applying critical thinking to derive some new understanding, reframing or link I could make to a previously unrelated idea.
A few gems
Without going into detail – here are a few gems that I’m still mulling over….
I have not heard this term before – the next evolution in the globalisation discourse which highlights the is a combination of “globalisation” and “localization” to describe the relationship of local/global service/products development and distribution – as taken from Glocalization: Time-Space and Homogeneity-Heterogeneity” sociologist Roland Robertson
• The ideas that academics ‘read themselves away from their friends.’
• The Critique Theory perspectives of Normadology/Hautology and Critique as ‘Exile/Contrapunctal’ (Edward Said).
• The idea that research is meant to upset your conceptual framework because this is where ‘learning’ occurs.
• That research is studying ‘spaces’ in between – What ‘space’ are you studying? What part of reality are you trying to study? What is the ‘space’ you are looking at in between?
• That there are stages and phases of (raw) data in research and that you need to develop that into a cohesive ‘story’ to write up
• Luis Moll’s notion of Funds of Knowledge that create ‘unsettling deficit views’ and how that relates to my teaching practice (working with students)
• Research is not about working towards equality in the future, but verifying our equality NOW in the present.
• Interesting to hear Naomi Barnes speak about the amount and type of reactions she received in relation to her article Why I’m choosing the local state school – even though it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles about the public school vs. private school debate that arose from here The Conversation Piece.er article
• I will read George Marcus – Ethnography Through Thick and Thin.
• In Faucault’s Discipline and Power he explores the idea of ‘the soul’ (presentation of subjectivity) and the internalised affect of power and how that impacts outcomes and intersects with matrices of knowledge and power.
• That research work should include an evolution of hybrid criticality as you and the content move through different paradigms (conceptual frameworks are not set but fluid).
• Exploring the difference between anthropology and ethnography
• From the anthropology session, I was moved when Liz (an Ethnomusicologist) said that the aboriginal group she worked with belived that ‘If you don’t have music on your tongue, you are not human’.
• Knowing (becoming) —-PARTICIPATION ———Learning (being)
…..all very interesting – but really, WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?? I’m not sure yet, but I’ll get back to you if I work it out.
I did find out that one of the head academics is a MTBer! He saw the biking t-shirt and came up for a chat about bikes on the second day – hooray for the community-creating bike t-shirts – I was not alone there and SOME senior academics are normal!!
Source: AARE Theory Workshop 2016