ERG SES E 03, Network Workshop NW 30: What Are We Sustaining in the Ways We Communicate? With, for and against Power
Presentations of educational research, especially in large conferences, can converge into an undifferentiated blur of talking heads with the occasional flash of coloured powerpoint slide. For some, the 20 minutes standing and speaking about one of the most intense, important, and probably expensive activities of their past or upcoming 4 years can require days of preparation, translations as well as overwhelming anxiety and hours of practice to speak in a 2rd or 3rd language. There are 24 official languages in the European Union with many additional languages spoken. However, English is the dominant language for publishing, international conferences and the primary reference language for education and research policy across Europe. Part of this workshop will focus at the level of language (and related cultural understanding) to explore where and how language exerts globalizing pressures in research (Harris, 2001) and education (Brookes, 2002), also normalized in the conference presentation.
Transparency also requires a clear understanding of external pressures that create powerful and controlling but often invisible norms such as “form of presentation”. There are “undertheorized relationship between the politics of academic research projects and the broader political movements with which they engage” (Mountz, Miyares, Wright & Bailey, 2003, p. 29). Reflection and continual negotiation regarding the epistemologies in use in all steps of research is necessary in order to be aware of the differences in deep understandings and assumptions (Miller et al, 2008). However, once conflicting epistemologies are identified, researchers need to take the more difficult step of the seemingly impossible incorporation of contradicting realities. This is particularly difficult because knowing and ways of understanding knowledge are manifest (and/or excluded) within institutional and social structures as well as language and not easily disrupted (Neilson, 2009).
The value of art as varied forms of communications will be highlighted from practice-based investigation. The philosophical background of such investigation as based in artistic production, a concept of the Czech-born philosopher, Vilem Flusser who defines two bipolar attitudes (schemes and beyond schemes) in producing visual forms of communication.
Additionally, facilitators will work with the idea of overcoming dualism between science and art, not only by using artistic methods in doing research, but by questioning our researchers’ position and by learning from philosophy of art that advises us to stay in the unknown and to be able to contain “borderline spaces” which exists without clear answers… [and] try to transform the invisible into the visible (Boukouvala, 2013)" (Maksimović, 2015).
This active “hands-on” workshop will include facilitated small group interactions in order to “taste” multiple ways of communicating. These activities and discussions will involve experiencing specific techniques in order to learn about the mundane details of communication, but simultaneously participants will engage in discussions about issues of power and knowledge in the context of the normal practice of academic conference. Understanding how well our own espoused theories are manifest in practice requires exploration of our internal adoption of epistemological perspectives or paradigms (Guba & Lincoln, 2008).
The team of facilitators bring a wealth of research and facilitation experience from diverse language and cultural backgrounds. Their practices involve issues of accessibility (Herold & Dandolo, 2009), embodied knowing, environmental and social justice (Neilson, 2008; 2009), and arts-informed/based knowing (Barone & Eisner, 2011). They will explore with participants how the specific, often mundane details of creating and giving a presentation can integrate instead of counter epistemologies in practice.
Barone, T.E., & Eisner, E.W. (2011). Arts based research, London: SAGE Publications. Boukouvala, E. (2013). Mind the gap or احذر الهوة . Lifelong Learning in Europe. 4. Brookes, A. (2002). Gilbert White never came this far south: Naturalist knowledge and the limits of universalist environmental education. CJEE, 7(2), 73-87. Herold F. & Dandolo, J. (2009) Including visually impaired students in physical education lessons: a case study of teacher and pupil experiences, The British Journal of Visual Impairment, 27(1), 31-40. Flusser V. (2004), Towards a philosophy of photography, Reaktion Books. Maksimović, M. (2015). Research Process as a Liminal Space – Blurring the Boundaries between Art and Science. Presentation at the 3rd Conference of arts-based research and arts research, Porto, Portugal, 28-30 January, 2015. Miller, T.R., Baird, T.D., Littlefield, C.M., Kofinas, G., Chapin, F.S., & Redman, C.L. (2008). Epistemological pluralism: Reorganizing interdisciplinary research. Ecology & Society 13(2):46 Mountz, A., Miyares, I. M., Wright, R. & Bailey, A. J. (2003). Methodologically becoming: Power, knowledge and team research. Gender, Place & Culture, 10(1), 29-46. Neilson, A. L. (2008). Disrupting privilege, identity, and meaning: A reflexive dance of environmental education. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. Neilson, A. L. (2009). The power of nature and the nature of power. Special Issue: Inquiries into practice. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 14, 136-148.
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