PUBLICATIONS

BOOKS

Latham, G., Malone, K. Faulkner, J., Dole, S. & Blaise, M. (2020). Learning to teach: 3nd Rev. ed. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Learning to Teach, third edition, offers a unique perspective by positioning the reader as a pre-service teacher embarking on their new career. The reader is introduced to three fictional pre-service teachers whose narratives flow throughout the text. These characters share how their personal and professional life experiences have exposed them to new ways of thinking about young people, teaching, and learning. Using a fictional university teacher education program and primary school, this book explores how educators are working to transform their practices in like-minded communities for radically changing times. It examines current government initiatives and regulations while developing the reader’s ability to analyse scenarios, critically reflect on their own assumptions, and develop best teaching practices.

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Pollitt, J. (2020). The dancer in your hands <>. UWA Publishing

The dancer in your hands <> is a superb and compellingly sustained poetic work. It mobilises striking innovations in notation, such as punctuation marks making visible the energetic, choreographic, and imaginative aspects of dance. As a book The dancer in your hands <> enacts the virtual, temporalized tremor, becoming a seismograph of latent bodily event. Refusing gendered binaries Pollitt engages in an erotics of the interstices, celebrating both the elongation of the moment and the exhilaration of the fugitive, or what the dancer-poet calls the radical impermanence of dance. [Marion Mary Campbell]

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JOURNAL ARTICLES

Gray, E. M., Pollitt, J. & Blaise, M. (2021). Between activism and academia: Zine-making as a feminist response to COVID-19. Gender and Education.

This paper gives an account of a series of three Zoom zine-making workshops run between March and July 2020 that were themed the political, the personal and the practical. A micro-reading of the zines is offered as data that mirror the aims of the workshops, to queer time by slowing down and creating a pause. The process of zine-making as feminist praxis is examined, and the zines themselves are discussed as data that reflect specific moments in time during the early phases of the pandemic. By inviting everyday feminist academic workers, from PhD candidates to professors to participate in a collective act of zine-making, this paper argues that a type of feminist work exists between academia and activism that subverts institutional definitions of productivity, collaboration and output.

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Pollitt, J. & Blaise, M., Rooney, T. (2021). Weather bodies: Experimenting with dance improvisation in environmental education in the early years. Environmental Education Research.

This paper reports on insights gained from incorporating dance improvisation into a broader early years environmental education ethnographic research project. Findings are reported from a two-day workshop where a dancer was invited to work with young children to attune to the weather through their bodies. In these workshops, the practice of dance improvisation was used as a deliberate interference to disrupt the disconnected and disembodied ways in which weather is often taught to young children. The paper argues that when children attune with weather through the embodied and relational practice of dance improvisation, this challenges the common practice of learning about weather as a separate phenomenon happening outside the classroom. Dance, as an intervention, helps to de-stabilise binary human-nature relations and reveals how children might come to understand their (human) selves as also weather bodies. New ways to understand humans’ entanglements with current weather events are also articulated, offering educators and researchers strategies for considering how the practice of dance improvisation might be integrated into early years education as an innovative approach to environmental learning

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Pacini-Ketchabaw, V. & Blaise, M. (2021). Feminist ethicality in child-animal research: worlding through complex stories. Children’s Geographies.

Thinking with feminist scholarship on ethicality, this article draws from two ethnographies with animal and young children to outline new questions for doing research in children’s geographies. Specifically, the article discusses how feminist ethicality within multispecies research challenges the masculinist idea that ethical research should focus on children’s story-making and ability to make meaning of the world. Instead, the authors call for an ethical focus on worlding processes or the making of worlds, and to seek possibilities for recuperation in the midst of children and more-than-human relations. The article concludes by reconfiguring the relations between ethics and research with young children, asking for a focus on what might be possible in the shaping of the present and future.

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Giamminuti, S., Merewether, J., & Blaise, M. (2020). Aesthetic-ethico-political movements in professional learning: Encounters with feminist new materialisms and Reggio Emilia in early childhood research. Professional Development in Education

Professional learning is considered essential for early childhood teachers, and is frequently associated with childhood outcomes and dominant constructs of quality which perpetuate neoliberal ideals and position early childhood teachers within a framework of rationality, privileging discourses of masculinity and power. By engaging with feminist new materialist perspectives, with the concept of ‘movement’, and with the theory-practice of the educational project of the city of Reggio Emilia, Italy, this paper extends understandings of professional learning to include nonhuman others as worthy interlocutors, and puts forth an invitation to welcome unease and an aesthetic-ethical-political stance in early childhood education. To complicate normative conceptions of professional learning, fragments from a project that used pedagogical documentation and dialogue to transform children’s relations with waste are presented. These fragments elucidate how professional learning in early childhood education might be aesthetically-ethically-politically conceptually grounded and practiced. The conclusions presented are neither simple nor linear; rather invitations are offered to problematise, to avoid being satisfied with overt, dominant and linear constructs, and to welcome uncertainty in worldly relations.

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Gobby, B., Merewether, J., & Nykiel, A. (2021). Extinction, education and the curious practice of visiting thrombolites. Environmental Education Research, 27(2), 217-233. 

The Earth is in the midst of a recent acceleration in the rate of species extinction and the unravelling of ecological communities. The authors think with the emerging field of Extinction Studies to explore educational approaches to ecological endangerment and extinction. Using a notion of visiting as ‘curious practice’, we story encounters between the authors, young children and the endangered Noorook Yalgorup-Lake Clifton thrombolites and their ecological community in south-western Australia. These visits were not intended to teach about extinction or the thrombolites. Rather, our aim was to generate pedagogical insights through approaching the threatened thrombolites and their environment with curiosity, openness and attentiveness, and framed by perspectives that trouble human exceptionalism and Western dualisms. Guided by Haraway’s notion of ‘staying with the trouble’, we argue this approach to encountering extinction generates insights into learning and living with ecological crisis in our shared world. Specifically, that for educators and children to relearn the world and their place in it, educators must enable new senses, meanings, perspectives and stories to populate the Earth and for this to occur they should listen with openness to, and think with, children.

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Wintoneak, V., & Blaise, M. (2021) Voicing Derbarl Yerrigan as a feminist anti‐colonial methodology. River Research and Applications.

The paper voices Derbarl Yerrigan, a significant river in Western Australia, through three imperfect, non-innocent, and necessary river-child stories. These stories highlight the emergence of a feminist anti-colonial methodology that is attentive to settler response-abilities to Derbarl Yerrigan through situated, relational, active, and generative research methods. Voicing Derbarl Yerrigan influences the methodological practices used as part of an ongoing river-child walking inquiry that is concerned with generating climate change pedagogies in response to the global climate crises and calls for new ways of thinking and producing knowledge. In particular, the authors found that voicing as a methodology includes listening and being responsive to Derbarl Yerrigan’s invitations, paying attention to pastspresentsfutures, and forming attachments through naming. By telling lively settler river-child stories, this paper shows how voicing Derbarl Yerrigan is vital to open new possibilities for education and has implications for settler-colonial contexts, where the focus on learning shifts from learning about the world to learning to become with multispecies river worlds.

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Blaise, M. & Hamm, C. (2020). Lively Emu dialogues: Activating feminist common worlding pedagogies. Pedagogy Culture and Society, 2020(Article in press), 1-17.

This paper draws from a series of Place-thought walks that the authors took at an open-range zoo. It practices a feminist common worlds multispecies ethics to challenge the systems that maintain nature-culture divisions in early childhood education. Postdevelopmental perspectives (i.e., feminist environmental humanities, multispecies studies, Indigenous studies) are brought into conversation with early childhood education to consider how zoo-logics maintain binaries and hierarchical thinking. Zoo-logics are related to developmental, colonial, and Western ways of reasoning and being in the world. Two feminist approaches to ethics, (re)situating and dialoguing, are discussed and show how they are necessary for undermining binaries and hierarchies that enable human exceptionalism, white privilege, and phallogocentrism. (Re)situating practices are presented through a lively dialogue based on Emu-human encounters at an open-range zoo. This paper argues that (re)situating and dialoguing pedagogies activate feminist common worldings. Worlding well requires a collective and relational multispecies ethics which are needed in these troubling times.

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Rooney, T., Blaise, M. & Royds, F. (2020). With shadows, dust and mud: Activating weathering-with pedagogies in early childhood education. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 2020(Article in press), 1-15.

In response to the perception that climate change is too abstract and its consequences too far-reaching for us to make a difference, recent feminist environmental humanities scholars have drawn attention to connections that can be forged by noticing the intermingling of bodies, relations, materials, places and movements in the world. Inspired by these ideas, Tonya Rooney has proposed that there is potential in working with child–weather relations as a pedagogical response to making climate change more connected and immediate for young children. Mindy Blaise and her colleagues have also shown how ‘matters of fact’ dominate early childhood teaching, and call for new pedagogies that attend to ‘matters of concern’, such as climate change. In this article the authors build on these ideas by drawing also on María Puig de la Bellacasa’s suggestion that we extend our concern to ‘matters of care’ as an ‘ethically and politically charged practice’. The authors report on their work with educators and children in an Australian-based preschool where they have started to engage with matters of concern and matters of care to create new types of pedagogies that they call ‘weathering-with pedagogies’. These are situated, experimental, embodied, relational and ethical, and, the authors suggest, reflect a practice of care, thus providing young children with new ways of responding to climate change. The authors take as their starting point Donna Haraway’s invitation to ‘muddy the waters’ as a way to stir up the possibilities, tensions and challenges in doing such work.

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Merewether, J. (2020). Enchanted animism: A matter of care. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 2020, 1-12. 

Jean Piaget, whose work continues to be very influential in early childhood education, associated young children’s animism with their ‘primitive thought’ claiming children remain animists until they reach a more advanced and rational stage of development. This article proposes a rethinking of the Piagetian view of animism, suggesting instead that children’s animism be conceived as a ‘matter of care’ which may then offer possibilities for living more responsively and attentively with non human others. Drawing on two recent research projects involving two-to-eight-yearold children, the article contends that children’s playful and speculative ‘enchanted animism’ can create a spaces for curiosity, wonder and immersion in and of the world. The author argues that enchanted animism has the potential to open children to their worldly embeddedness and can ignite possibilities for more responsive and attentive ways of living with an increasingly damaged Earth.

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Blaise, M., Rooney, T. & Pollitt, J. (2019). Weather Wanderings. Journal of Public Pedagogies, 4(2019), 166-170.

[Abstract pending]

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Merewether, J. (2019). Listening with young children: Enchanted animism of trees, rocks, clouds (and other things). Pedagogy, Culture & Society27(2), 233-250. 

This article introduces the notion of enchanted animism, contending that an enchanted re-animation of the world may be necessary for learning to live on a damaged planet. The paper draws on a project with young children which invited them to share what they thought was ‘good’ in the outdoor spaces at their early learning centre. These encounters revealed children’s relationship with nonhuman elements which seemed to be calling in and enchanting children. In particular, children’s playful animation of so-called inanimate things – trees, rocks, clouds – allowed an egalitarian view of the world in which both humans and nonhumans were seen to be engaged in intentional projects. The paper argues that enchanted animism kindles children’s sensitivity to Earthly processes, enabling them to listen to the Earth more attentively, with the awareness and responsiveness that a planetary crisis demands.

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Merewether, J. (2019). New materialisms and children’s outdoor environments: Murmurative diffractions. Children’s Geographies, 17(1), 105-117. 

This article draws on new materialisms to highlight children’s sensitivity to the agency of nonhuman materials. Working with data fragments from an ongoing project investigating children’s relationship with their outdoor environments, the article uses the figure of murmuration in a diffractive analysis approach to reveal materialdiscursive intra-actions. In doing so, the article highlights an ingrained tendency to focus on the human whilst overlooking the material. Attentiveness to the agency of all matter, human and nonhuman, has significant implications for early childhood geographies, research and pedagogy as it shines a light on the intra-active nature of the world. This offers new possibilities but also calls attention to the relations of responsibilities inherent in a world where all matter is vibrant and agential.

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Pollitt, J. (2019). The State of Dancingness: Staying with Leaving. PARtake: The Journal of Performance as Research, 2(2), Article no. 4.

Borrowing from Cixous’ ‘State of Drawingness’ (1993), this article proposes a ‘State of Dancingness’ as method of inhabiting the practice of writing as dancing. Understanding the dancing body as a place of virtuosic attention, the practice of writing is activated as a ‘continuation’ of dancing; neither as creative response or description but as frame for housing (staging) emergent content. The work proposes that the dancer begin on the page from the vantage and experience of entering the stage as solo improvising performer. These words come with this body tucked and pressing inside them. Pressing. The State of Dancingness enables the practice of writing as dancing through specific and long-time harnessing and accessing of physical, energetic and imaginative states; my body has always known and been ready before I have. A project of rendering dance in the form of creative nonfictions; the State of Dancingness proposes a multiplicity of focus, permeable sensing, complexity in composition and the immediacy of decision-making. Inside the apparent visibility, presence and transparency of the solo improvising performer, dancing can also be an incredible place to hide. This paper invests in writing the hidden and the potential of the State of Dancingness in working with the ‘outing’ of embodied knowledge.

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BOOK CHAPTERS

Merewether, J., & Fleet, A. (2021). Pedagogical documentation as a thinking companion. Research through play: Participatory methods in early childhood (pp. 69-82). SAGE.

Doing research with young children can be challenging for many reasons, but this book provides clear guidance on how to engage in appropriate methods. Real life examples and research projects are presented, to enable common challenges to be anticipated and to showcase successful creative approaches, and to inspire new paths in research.

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Pollitt, J., Blaise, M. & Gray, E.M., (In press 2021). Zine making as feminist care during COVID-19. Creative Approaches to Health Education: New Ways of Thinking, Making, Doing and Learning. London: Routledge.

This book shows how creative methods, drawing on innovative arts- and design-based approaches, can be employed in health education contexts. It takes a very broad view of ‘health education’, considering it as applying not only in school settings but across the lifespan, and as including physical education and sexuality education as well as public health campaigns, health activist initiatives and programs designed for training educators and health professionals.

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Knight, L., Gray, E. & Blaise, M. (2020). Powerful dressing: Artfully challenging sexism in the academy. Transdisciplinary feminist research approaches: Innovations in theory, method, and practice (pp. 43-58). Routledge.

What is feminist transdisciplinary research? Why is it important? How do we do it? Through 19 contributions from leading international feminist scholars, this book provides new insights into activating transdisciplinary feminist theories, methods and practices in original, creative and exciting ways – ways that make a difference both to what research is and does, and to what counts as knowledge. The contributors draw on their own original research and engage an impressive array of contemporary theorising – including new materialism, decolonialism, critical disability studies, historical analyses, Black, Indigenous and Latina Feminisms, queer feminisms, Womanist Methodologies, trans studies, arts-based research, philosophy, spirituality, science studies and […]

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Blaise, M. & Rooney, T. (2020). Listening to and Telling a Rush of Unruly Natureculture Gender Stories. Disrupting and Countering Deficits in Early Childhood Education. Routledge.

Drawing from a multispecies walking ethnography of child-weather relations that took place on Ngunnawal Country, Canberra, Australia, this chapter experiments with ways of telling gender stories that are not just human stories. Feminist common world methods are used to find new ways to be curious and tell stories that put unpredictable encounters at the center of things. By paying attention to children’s relations with the more-than-human world, the usual narratives on gender are retold through natureculture gender stories. Learning how to listen to and tell unruly natureculture gender stories is a tactic for considering gender that is neither limited nor caught up in a binary logic.

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Blaise, M. & Ryan, S. (2020). Engaging with critical theories and the early childhood curriculum. Curiculum in Early Childhood Education: Re-examined, Reclaimed, Renewed (80-95). Routledge.

This chapter is an introduction to critical theories and their application to early childhood curriculum. It begins with a review of the work that has been conducted using critical theories to investigate and question taken-for-granted early childhood practices. In doing so the chapter highlights what makes a theory critical and shows how some theoretical orientations have been applied to the early childhood curriculum. The focus then shifts from a review to an examination of some of the most recent efforts to trouble and remake early childhood curriculum. The chapter suggests that more diverse forms of critical theorizing in their efforts to dismantle the logic of dualisms inherent in Western thought (e.g., male/female, adult/child, theory/practice, global north/global south) help toward understanding how curriculum has the potential to be transformative. This chapter concludes by reasserting the importance of critical theory for contemporary early childhood practice.

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Blaise, M., Knight, L. & Gray, E. (2019). Punk Feminism and #FEAS: A Low-Brow Protest of Academic Sexism. Strategies for Resisting Sexism in the Academy: Higher Education, Gender and Intersectionality (269-286). Palgrave Macmillan.

In this chapter, we reflect on several arts-based ‘pop-up’ interventions that were created and performed at educational conferences by #FEAS Feminist Educators Against Sexism, a feminist collective that was founded in Australia in 2016 that has international reach. The interventions under discussion here aimed at protesting the everyday sexism that women face in the university workplace. We make connections between these interventions and with a feminist punk ethos and a do-it-yourself (DIY) attitude that characterized the 1990s feminist punk music scene. In doing so, we are able to see traces of punk feminism in #FEAS interventions and argue they provide an important mode to mobilize and connect feminists to resist sexism in the academy.

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Blaise, M., Pacini-Ketchabaw, V. (2019). Enacting Feminist Materialist Movement Pedagogies in the Early Years. Feminists researching gendered childhoods: Generative entanglements (109-120). Bloomsbury Academic.

It has been well established that a developmental and binary logic characterizes early childhood education, rendering it highly problematic (Blaise, 2005a, 2013b). One of the concerns that feminist scholars working in early childhood education have regarding this oppositional logic is how it simultaneously reinforces gender norms and gender stereotypes, while also constructing a gender-neutral child (Blaise, 2005, 2013b; MacNaughton, 2000). The purpose of this chapter is to establish how feminist materialist movement pedagogies are part of a gender politics, how they unsettle foundational and developmental thinking, and what they offer the field of early childhood education…

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Blaise, M. & Hamm, C. (2019). Shimmering: Animating Multispecies Relations with Wurundjeri Country. Feminist research for 21st-century childhoods: Common worlds methods (93-100). Bloomsbury Academic.

Scholars who align themselves with the emerging field of environmental humanities are experimenting with different ways of knowing the world. Part of this work involves writing practices that make room for new relations to emerge. These practices require an experimental orientation toward the world, including curiosity about knowledge construction. In this chapter we are curious about the effects of binary logic and linguistic imperialism and how they are invisible tools of colonization that continuously separate humans from nature. We utilize the grammar of animacy to help us tell lively and animate stories about multispecies relations with Wurundjeri Country. This chapter moves beyond our narrow disciplinary trainings in early childhood education by taking a more open, generous, and curious view to knowledges.

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Greishaber, S. & Blaise, M. (2019). Making room for more: Complexity, diversity, and the impact of alternative perspectives on early childhood care and education. The Wiley Handbook of Early Childhood Care and Education (617-640). John Wiley & Sons. 

This chapter explores how constructions of “the mother” have changed to make it possible to talk about families and communities. It also explores how it is conceivable to discuss learning, teaching and becoming as opposed to a sole focus on child development. To analyze the move from “the child” to children and childhoods, the chapter focuses on critiques of developmental psychology and ideas from childhood studies that include among other things, understanding childhood as a social and cultural construction. It provides a brief summary of some key characteristics, influences, and the impact of developmental psychology on early childhood care and education as a way to begin discussion about alternative perspectives. The chapter also provides a brief tracking of moves from “the mother,” to a broadening that includes fathers, other family members who undertake parenting roles, and use of the term parent/s. It concludes with some thoughts about potential future directions for the field.

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Buckley, A., Merewether, J., Tye, M., Giamminuti, S. & Kuzich, S. (2019). A co-inquiry journey into early childhood settings: A rapid appraisal approach for the joint construction of knowledge. Visual spatial enquiry: Diagrams and metaphors for architects and spatial thinkers (47-61). Routledge.

This chapter outlines a co-enquiry journey involving academic researchers and public sector funders in the joint construction of knowledge about early childhood in regional Western Australian settings. The focal approach for the South West Early Childhood Project (SWECP) involved ‘rapid appraisal’ while largely utilising qualitative research methods such as interviews and focus groups; the enquiry was augmented by background profiling, photography and field visits. In providing a process analysis, the chapter outlines approaches that the multi-disciplinary team adopted to emerge with a shared coherent voice as they engaged with both the possibilities as well as the uncertainties of an expedited approach. While the denotation of ‘rapid’ distinguishes the approach from in-depth extended ethnographic community studies, this does not, however, imply haste in design or lack of rigour in analysis. Instead, the study involved considerable co-ordination of the research team, including formal meetings and many other informal opportunities to build trust, develop shared understandings, discuss background information, construct a common language and refine skills such as interview strategies, photography and content/context analysis. This co-partnering fostered a significant learning environment for the research team and provided policy makers with an experiential lens to translate findings into policy and strategy.

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CREATIVE OUTPUTS

Pollitt, J., Blue, L. & Blaise, M.  (2020). Conversations with rain: a multi-platform research-creation project. Art Gallery of Western Australia.

In the face of the multiple existential threats we have brought upon ourselves, this paper calls for education to be reimagined and Conversations with Rain is an ongoing multi-platform partnership between AGWA Learning and ECU School of Education exploring children’s creative relations with weather as a way of potentially transforming our climate futures. The project harnesses learning methodologies that prioritise creativity, participation and engagement..

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ENGAGEMENT

Background paper for UNESCO’s Futures of Education initiative: Common Worlds Research Collective. (2020). Learning to become with the world: Education for future survival. UNESCO.

In the face of the multiple existential threats we have brought upon ourselves, this paper calls for education to be reimagined and reconfigured around the future survival of the planet. To this end, it offers seven visionary declarations of what education could look like in 2050 and beyond. These declarations proceed from three premises. Firstly, human and planetary sustainability is one and the same thing. Secondly, any attempts to achieve sustainable futures that continue to separate humans off from the rest of the world are delusional and futile. And thirdly, education needs to play a pivotal role in radically reconfiguring our place and agency within this interdependent world. This requires a complete paradigm shift: from learning about the world in order to act upon it, to learning to become with the world around us. Our future survival depends on our capacity to make this shift.

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