This seminar series explores a number of fields in early childhood studies, from play and interaction to communication and care.

REaCh is proud to present our first research seminar series Dialogues in Early Childhood.*

This series reflects our strong commitment to raising the visibility and status of both children and practitioners working within early childhood contexts. It aims to widen research perspectives, provide fresh insights into existing issues, nurture a sense of collegiality amongst staff, students and the wider early childhood community, and emphasise the importance of developing strong research relationships.

Talks are free and all are welcome. We look forward to seeing you there!

*Please note that both the Joanna Haynes' and Pascal and Bertram seminars will not be running as advertised and have been postponed until the new academic year. Please look out for further details of the time and venue in due course!

Talks and events

14 May - Decomposing the human in early childhood education and care: Critical posthuman entanglements with identity and subjectivity

Dr Nikki Fairchild - Chichester University
Newton Park, Commons 119
1PM to 3PM

In this seminar Nikki will explore generative and affirmative ways to consider the question ‘How can you re-think identity and subjectivity if you are working with posthuman theorising?’ Critical feminist posthumanism seeks to unsettle the category of the ‘human’ and ‘man of reason’ (Braidotti, 2013) as the historical site of political privilege providing ‘the possibility of an ethical relation of opening out towards and empowering connection to others’ (Braidotti, 2011: 3). 

Nikki puts a number of posthuman theories to work to explore how a more-than-human identity and subjectivity can be conceptualised. This seminar is not about erasing the human from the landscape, but crafting a response which moves beyond binary dualisms to include a wider range of human and non-human actors/actants always-already present in Early Childhood Education and Care.

29 May - Infant massage and the multi-modal form of joint communication ‘visceral interaction’

Dr Liz Rouse - Centre for Research in Early Childhood (CREC)
Newton Park, Commons 105
1PM to 3PM

Dr. Liz Rouse is a former Children’s Centre Head and is a member of the Centre of Research in Early Childhood (CREC). Her PhD to focused on the benefits of infant massage with particular reference to more vulnerable families. At a time of severe economic constraint in EY services and a necessary focus on targeting the most vulnerable, Liz explores whether baby massage can be an effective tool to improve attachment and communication within those vulnerable families where enabling environments do not otherwise exist.

5 June - Inside looking out – representing early childhood education and care in a sceptical world

Jan Dubiel - National Development Manager, Early Excellence
Newton Park - Corston 114
1PM to 3PM

Jan will explore the tensions and challenges of understanding and describing effective and impactful ECE practice in a wider educational context. Drawing on his own experiences as a teacher, consultant and adviser, he will explore ways in which we can shape and define both terminology and practice in order to ensure that ECE practice is supported and understood at both policy, strategic and operational levels.

Materiality and the play of things (POSTPONED)

Please note, this talk has been postponed until October.

Dr Joanna Haynes - Plymouth University
Newton Park - Commons 224
1PM to 3PM

Thing-power, thing-play, and the crafty wisdom of the studio inspired a residential workshop held near Stellenbosch in South Africa in April 2017, under the aegis of the Decolonising Early Childhood Discourses: Critical Posthumanism in Higher Education research project. A rich variety of data had been created by the project team in the context of a single literacy lesson, based on a picturebook How to Find Gold (Schwarz, 2016), and these data performed as the provocation for an in-depth enquiry-with-materials at the research workshop.

This presentation seeks to provide a sense of the exploratory, creative enquiry that was freely enjoyed, asking ourselves how to read (literacy) classrooms differently, taking the material into account, in order to produce something new. Rarely does research feels so unbounded and genuinely experimental, as this did.

16 July - Contesting spaces in early childhood research: advocating a dialogic approach (POSTPONED)

Professor Chris Pascal and Professor Tony Bertram - Centre for Research in Early Childhood
Newton Park - Commons 225
1PM to 3PM

In this presentation we wish to examine the roles we, as early childhood researchers, play in generating respectful and egalitarian dialogues which reach across our diversities and differences, and to consider how we handle the contested nature of these dialogues. In particular, we want to think about how we contribute to the perpetuation and disruption of 'contested spaces' in the discourse about, and practice of, research into early childhood policy and practice. We will focus on four research 'spaces': firstly, the choice of topic for study; secondly, the study design; thirdly, the methods of data collection; and finally, the ethical processes adopted.

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