Waiting for Bourdieu at AARE

Belinda at Menindee Lakes

Belinda at Menindee Lakes

My first attendance at this substantial conference on educational research was serendipitous. I noticed that it was co-located and timed with the ascilite conference in Hobart, and thought ‘why not go for both?’. I also noted that it included a ‘Higher and professional education (HEP)’ stream, so I submitted a refereed paper (it’s always good to get some peer review) and it was accepted.

My presentation was scheduled at 8.30am on the final day <sigh>. But this gave me the opportunity to see and hear some fascinating, stimulating and sometimes terrifying research prior to my own presentation. Terrifying because it was so highly engaged with theory, something that has been somewhat lacking in most previous conferences I have attended, and in my own academic writing.

“OMG, I need to get serious about theory … my presentation has NO references to Bourdieu =P … phew, fixed that” ;D

So – the interesting things:

  • Praxis-oriented research at a workshop led by participatory action research guru Stephen Kemmis. Slightly chaotic workshop (not enough time, the usual workshop complaint), but great to hear and meet the man, and learn more about praxis.
  • Reinforcement for my vague ideas about critical pedagogy, praxis-oriented research, and how critical theory may help develop my ideas on creativity in higher education.
  • ‘artography’ – integrating creative practice with educational research – eg  – Geraldine Burke at Monash.
  • HEP stream is new, and a related SIG is being established, led by Alison Lee, Sam Sellars and Catherine Manathunga. Several colleagues from UNSW in on this, it’s exciting to be ‘at the birth’!
  • Bourdieu really is relevant to my study (eg. ‘cultural production’) 🙂

As for my own presentation, it seemed to go well. Going first in a session populated by various Drs. and Profs., I presented myself as possibly an impostor, and certainly a novice, embarking on a maybe spurious but adventurous exploration. Found this a liberating space to inhabit – how long can I continue to be the ‘novice’, the ‘idiot’, the ‘naive’?

The premise of my piece – relating ideas about creativity in education to the idea of creativity as a ‘threshold’ disposition, and of creative learning and teaching as a ‘transformative’ space. (Abstract here, paper to be published shortly …). Critique of the presentation has suggested that it is certainly interesting territory, but that pursuing the relationship to ‘threshold concepts’ may be tangential, and not so productive … well, we shall see what comes out of my upcoming paper on liminality for the TC conference in 2012 …