Our Research

Global childhoods in the Asian Century: Connecting policy, educational experiences and everyday lifeworlds of children in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore

Lead: Nicola Yelland, Australian Research Council Project (DP180100325)

Conceptualising global childhoods enables and encourages a worldview of childhoods that is not universal and regards children as capable and agentic. Researching global childhoods recognises that children come to learning ecologies with a variety of funds of knowledge that can be built on by teachers in dynamic ways to encourage deep learning, engagement with ideas and multimodal forms of making meaning.

With funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC) the project Global childhoods: Lifeworlds and educational success in Australia and Asia aims were to investigate the ways in which children’s orientation to educational success is shaped, and how this relates to Australian and Asian policy cultures. It adopted a mixed methods approach that incorporated a large-scale survey of students of 627 Year 4 students in three global cities (Melbourne, Singapore and Hong Kong) and included an ethnographic study of student lifeworlds in each location with data collected in both schools, homes and community. The research sought to understand the lifeworlds in the context of a holistic view of their education which occurs in a variety of locations; school, homes and in their communities. It sought to better understand how children’s different and multiple sociocultural networks are connected by their lives inside and outside of schools.

public out and about day

Learning with Place

Co-leads: Dr Catherine Hamm and Associate Professor Jeanne Marie Iorio

Learning with Place: Learning with Place is a research project focused on acting toward hopeful climate change. We know there is a lack of connection between humans and the environment. We Learn with Place to build deep relationships with local places, trees, bushes, animals, insects, and waterways. Central to this  is understanding First Nations Worldviews and the stories and histories of the local Place. These relationships inform how we make decisions that consider the environment and all with whom we share the planet.

Key Publications

  • Iorio, J.M., Hamm, C., Cooper, J., Parnell, W., Smith, K.., Crowcroft, P., Yelland, N, Molloy-Murphy, A.,(2023) Learning with Place as a catalyst for action. Pedagogy, Culture & Society.
  • Iorio, J.M. & Hamm, C. (2021). Learning with Place. The SAGE Encyclopedia of Global Childhoods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Hamm, C. & Iorio, J.M. (2019) Place in Early Childhood Teacher Education. In: Peters M. (eds) Encyclopedia of Teachers Education. Springer, Singapore.
  • Iorio, J.M, Coustley, A., & Grayland. (2018). Practicing Pedagogical Documentation: Teachers making more-than-human relationships and sense of place visible. In N Yelland and D Bentley (Eds.) Not lost in translation: Connecting reconceptualist early childhood ideas with practice. New York: Routledge.
lights and secret world

The secret underground

Lead: Dr Angela Molloy-Murphy

The secret underground: A glow world experience was an interactive installation inviting children and their companions to reconsider the often unseen world of the more-than-human. This installation was created based on the premise that, although human activity visibly slows down in North America in the winter, the underground world is vibrant and bustling with action. In the U.S. Pacific Northwest, this mysterious subterranean landscape includes burrowing animals such as squirrels, moles, and rodents, but also insects and archaea, bacteria, microbes, algae, fungi and more...legacies, memories, spirits, and processes such as crystallisation, decomposition, and decay.

For the 2022 Portland Winter Light festival, creative partners Angela Molloy Murphy, Katie Shook of Mudland, Michelle Loberg, Reese Bowes, and Friends of the Secret Underground, a collective of children ages 4-16, designed a multimodal exhibit using video, light, and sound to simulate an underground world. This immersive installation was part of an academic research project with the University of Melbourne engaging posthumanism and the new materialisms in a participatory, arts-based inquiry regarding children’s relations with place. In this moment of urgent planetary and humanitarian crises, children have much to offer. It is in this spirit that the collective Friends of the Secret Underground will gather again for collaborative, place based, research and writing.