Past events

Unpacking education - brown bag lunchtime series

The ‘Unpacking Education’ series of seminars and presentations provide an opportunity for people to discuss their work in progress, test out new ideas and perspectives, share emerging projects and encourage interdisciplinary dialogue.

The Unpacking Education Brown Bag Lunchtime Seminars are organised by Dr Ligia (Licho) López López and are generally held on Level 7, 100 Leicester Street.

2018 series

Multi-sited Global Ethnography and Elite Schools: A Methodological Entrée
Professor Jane Kenway, Monash University and Melbourne Graduate School of Education
February 2018

Shaping that Brave New World: Literacy and the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Professor Lesley Farrell, Melbourne Graduate School of Education
February 2018

“Making-Do” for the Future: Imagination, Work, and the K to 12 Reform in Northern Philippine Villages
Jay de los Reyes, Melbourne Graduate School of Education
May 2018

The Role of Nostalgia and Memory in the Formation of Belonging Across Time and PlaceAssistant Professor Hernan Cuervo, Youth Research Centre, Melbourne Graduate School of Education
May 2018

Close Encounters with the Mundane: Examining Micro-violence in Everyday Schooling
Leanne Higham, Melbourne Graduate School
August 2018

Making space for multilingualism in Australian schoolsDr Julie Choi and Dr Yvette Slaughter, Melbourne Graduate School of Education
September 2018

Material School Design in the Making: Between Dreams and Everyday School Life (Researching the contemporary history of Danish school architecture)Assistant Professor Lisa Rosén Rasmussen, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University
September 2018

Educating and Training Young People in the Nordic Therapeutic Welfare State
Professor Kristiina Brunila, University of Helsinki
September 2018

Just Teacher: Ethical Dilemmas in the Profession of Teaching
Assistant Professor Paula McAvoy, North Carolina State University
Associate Professor Lauren Gatti, Universityof Nebraska, Lincoln
October 2018

Knowledge, Literary Studies and the Making of English Teachers
Dr Larissa McLean Davis, Associate Dean and Professor Lyn Yates, MGSE
November 2018

One Size Fits All? Curriculum Reforms in Compulsory and Higher Education Professor Berit Karseth, former Dean, Educational Sciences, University of Oslo
November 2018

Unpacking Indigenous Education in Canadian Teacher Education: A Changing Landscape
Dr Jan Hare, University of British Colombia
Novembers 2018

2016/2017 series

Contesting Curriculum

(September 2017)

Professor Liz McKinley

The contesting of the colonial history of white-settler nations is not new. Intermittently debates erupt into the public arena such as that being carried out in Australia over the Captain Cook monument in Sydney’s Hyde Park, ‘change the date’ campaign, and those in the University of Melbourne over building and room names after people involved in the Australian eugenics movement. What is at stake here is the lure of Western epistemology, peoples’ beliefs about knowing and knowledge. In this presentation, I will explore the academy (including schools) as a site of struggle over knowledge making for Indigenous peoples. I will draw some comparisons between New Zealand and Australia.

Spectres of progressive education and other ideas that won’t go away

(August 2017)

Professor Julie McLeod

In this presentation, Professor McLeod considered two related themes in her current work on the ideas and enactments of progressive education, following these aspirations in the 1960s and 70s, as expressed across two fields of educational work – the ethos of alternative or community schooling and debates regarding the organisation of education for Aboriginal students. Firstly, she posed some questions about the ‘time of ideas’ and ideas that hang around, or become versatile or even banal ghosts in educational discourses. Second, she juxtaposed different uses of ‘progressive’ sentiment in advocacy and mediation of the above educational reforms, at the same time, attempting to question the limits and problems associated with this type of analytic work.

Distribution of Worries: Interdisciplinary Meetings As Welfare Technology

(March 2017)

Associate Professor Hanne Knudsen, Aarhus Univeristy, Denmark

The “worry conversation” is an interdisciplinary meeting used by Danish schools and related welfare institutions. Various professionals are invited to a worry conversation if the teachers or another professional worries about a student’s wellbeing or learning. This session began by unpacking worry conversations in the case of a girl in 7th grade. The focus of the analysis was how “the worry” is formulated and who is attributed responsibility for the problem and thus the possibility to act. I suggest that professionals “worry” when they locate the problem outside their own professional field. The worry is not formulated as a professional problem, or an educational problem in the case of the school, because the school thereby would exclude other disciplines from describing and handling the problem. Using the concept of “worrying” creates, though, the risk that the meeting solves the school’s problem but not the student’s problem.

"He's Selling himself!': Enterprise, Poverty and Education

(March 2017)

Dr Jessica Gerrard

In this presentation Dr Gerrard reflected on methodological challenges of researching marginality, and in researching precarious spaces of education and work, underpinned by the notion and practice of ‘entrepreneurialism’. The paper was based on the in-depth research undertaken on the everyday experiences of sellers of homeless street press (like ‘The Big Issue’) completed as part of Dr Gerrard's McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellowship. Drawing on sellers’ own accounts of their enterprising work practices, she suggests the need to re-examine the connections between contemporary education and work.

The Concept of Participation: A Powerful or Obsolete Educational Ideal?

(February 2017)

Professor Venka Simovska, Aarhus University, Denmark

This presentation critically discussed the concept of participation of children and young people as an educational ideal and educational strategy. Participation is construed as a fundamental constituent of the process of Bildung – formation of determination and solidarity through education– and linked to children’s rights and inclusion, their becomings and subjectification. While the concept of participation harbours significant potential, it rests on notions of the ‘good’ and ‘worthwhile’ that are often out of reach and clash with neoliberal logics. However, a theoretical emphasis on the excess embedded within such an imperfect concept opens up other ways of approaching participation and the never-ending race to come up with the ‘perfect’ concept in the educational field.

"Policy assemblages’ in Australian schooling: The complex process of making national teaching standards

(February 2017)

Dr Glen Savage

In this seminar, Dr Glenn Savage used the development of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST) as an illustrative case to examine how national schooling reforms are being assembled in Australia’s federal system. Drawing upon an emerging body of theory and research on ‘policy assemblage’ within the fields of policy sociology and anthropology, he explored the ways that so-called ‘national reforms’ evolve from complex interactions between policy actors and organisations across federal, national, subnational and transnational policy spaces.

Diaspora Communities and the Dilemmas of Transnational Lives

(October 2016)

Professor Fazal Rizvi

Nation-states around the world often view their globally mobile diaspora communities as a resource helpful in engaging the possibilities of the globalizing economy. Low-income countries have of course long known about the economic and social contribution that their diaspora abroad can make to their national development through financial and social remittances. More recently, however, higher-income countries, such as Australia, too have begun to consider the possibilities of their ‘diaspora advantage’ - the benefits that can be derived for the nation from the linguistic skills, cultural knowledge and transnational networks of their diaspora communities. Based on work recently completed for ACOLA, Professor Rizvi discussed how diaspora business communities occupy a complex and contested location within and across national borders. On the one hand, they are able to benefit from their location within the transnational economic space, but, on the other hand, confront a range of very difficult ethical and political challenges.

A Spoken Word, Making Up Human/Indigenous Kinds, and #MovingImagesMatters

(September 2016)

Dr Ligia López López

Popular culture matters. The ways in which people become particular kinds of people inserted in diversity and multiculturalism agendas matter. Still and moving images matter in the production of choreographies of difference and diversity. Dr. Ligia López López invited us to unpack diversity from her lived experiences, her work on indigeneity in Guatemala, and her current project on popular moving images in Australia and the United States.

Open Access, Data Sharing & Archiving of Qualitative Research Workshop

This workshop, held in August 2018, was a collaborative venture between Professor Julie McLeod’s Making Futures Youth Identity, Generational Change & Education (Future Fellowship) project, the Australian Data Archive and the University of Melbourne’s Social and Cultural Informatics Platform.  It brought together almost sixty researchers from around Australia to discuss ideas, interests and dilemmas regarding qualitative research sharing and archiving in the humanities and social sciences, particularly in interdisciplinary studies of childhood, youth and education.

Following on from this a pilot platform is being developed: Studies of Childhood, Education and Youth (SOCEY).  It is aimed at fostering a research community and website that will discuss and showcase research, link to individual project websites, and provide a portal to an archival repository for sociology of youth and education projects.

Further details are available at:

Policy and Schooling: Community, Citizenship, and Social Change

Conference workshop featuring: Professor Meg Maguire, Professor Julie McLeod, Professor Mary Lou Rasmussen, Professor Marie Brennan, Associate Professor Helen Proctor, Associate Professor Nicole Mockler, Dr Emma Rowe, Dr Eve Mayes, Dr Howard Prosser, Dr Nikki Moodie, Dr Shaun Rawolle, Dr Sophie Rudolph, Dr Glenn Savage, Dr Jessica Gerrard, Elisa Di Grigorio, Sam Oldman and Mary Purcell.

Making. Indigenous. Borders Book Launch & Colloquium

The Making of Indigeneity, Curriculum History, And The Limits of Diversity

Routledge 2018 Ligia (Licho) López López

In the Making of Indigeneity, López interrogates how what is 'indigenous,' as a category of diversity, emerged, has been made, re-made, and is taken up to fund discourses of multiculturalism and intercultualism. Through historical and ethnographic classroom research López devices event-alizing as a methodological approximation to educational research at the limits of 'the educational' to interrogate how liberal and progressive propositions for educating the “Indian” generate particular ways of organizing difference ostensibly meant to serve historically marginalized indigenous peoples. Asking questions of the historical and scientific involvement of anthropology, sociology, law, photography, and education in the making of indigenous as a kind of people, López accounts for the aspirations, activities, and tactics that perpetuate violence on indigenous lives limiting their futurity as un-fixed beings.

Launched by Liz McKinley, Professor of Indigenous Education MGSE, University of Melbourne

Dr Jeanine Leane, Wiradjuri Writer and Senior Lecturer Fac. of Arts, University of Melbourne
Melinda Hinkson, Associate Prof. of Anthropology ADI, Deakin University
Julie McLeod, Professor of Education MGSE, University of Melbourne
MC Jay de Los Reyes, PhD Student MGSE, University of Melbourne

Dangerous Concepts in Education

​During 2017 the Dangerous Concepts Forum convened on the first Thursday of every month to ponder the different ways in which key educational concepts can be understood, deployed and contested.

In this monthly series we offered an opportunity to dialogue openly with friends and colleagues, pondering the different ways in which key educational concepts can be understood, deployed and contested. The aim was not to arrive at a shared meaning but to become more aware of different meanings and inflections of the same concept and how this makes it then, a dangerous concept, to be thoughtfully and carefully contended within educational spaces. In 2017 the forum series discussed the following concepts: potential, impact, wellbeing, gap, evidence, development and democracy. The final forum for the year discussed the question: How do we approach our work ethically in the context of dangerous concepts?

For more information, visit the blog.