Re-Imagining Education for Democracy Summit
13- 15 November, 2017. University of Southern Queensland, Springfield, QLD.
When education for gender justice backfires: Tales from the crypt
One of the biggest challenges for critical pedagogues enacting social and cultural changes within and across communities can be the unintended consequences of their work. What are the material, discursive and affective implications of ‘doing good’ when things don’t quite go according to plan? What are the ethical considerations for researchers when others might be adversely affected by our good intentions? In this symposium we work to illuminate those unsettling moments when working for gender justice in educational settings backfires. The stories we divulge examine how critical pedagogues might, with the very best of intentions and through their own actions, become unstuck. The approach we are using keeps us from slipping into a version of intellectual hegemony that can position researchers as all-knowing experts setting out on a quest to do good. We believe that, if educational research is to be socially just, democratic and impactful, than it needs to start from a place of honesty that is as transparent about its failures as it is about its successes. This symposium is not intended to demonise or reify critical pedagogues or their practices. Nor is it intended to stop researchers/educators from pursuing social justice agendas. Instead, it functions to problematise notions of critical pedagogy and its potential for transformative thinking, social action and self-transcendence. By situating the stories that we would sometimes prefer to keep buried within a post-critical framework we encourage all knowledge and research to be seen as fluid, contestable, irreducible and evolving. This we believe is an approach that would support research to be more honest, authentic, informed and real. The ethical ramifications of this approach for educational research are significant.
My Symposium Presentation
Girls’ Unfreedoms: Just getting to school is our greatest educational issue
Education in Australia has been subject to much debate over the years. Yet compared to education in many developing countries, Australian education is remarkable. In many developing nations, just being able to walk in the door of a school is a major challenge for many students, especially girls. This presentation will provide compelling evidence and experiences where material, ethical and cultural challenges necessitate a ‘rethinking’ of approaches to educational problems. But what happens when these ‘reimaginings’ are not successful, or even possibly harmful? What do we do when things go wrong? Using as a starting point some of the cultural practices, politics and meanings drawn from student’s daily school travel and from work on other programs in developing contexts, this session will pose critical and possibly uncomfortable considerations for researchers and educators. By sharing examples and outcomes of working in challenging educational situations, Nina hopes this discussion will lead to further action on how similar issues are recognized and addressed in Australian educational settings.
Full RE4D Summit Program (pg 73-75).
Australian Walking and Cycling Conference
17-18th July, 2017. Flinders University, Tarndanyangga Campus, Adelaide (SA).
Bicycles Create Change – An innovative guide to creating memorable and meaningful engagement in community bike projects.
See my presentation here: Nina’s Australian Walking and Cycling Conference 2017 Presentation