European Conference on Educational Research, 2015
Last week I attended ECER with the Esbrina research group (University of Barcelona). While there I presented some of the results of my dissertation in the Ethnography network, focusing on the use of the mobilities paradigm as an analytical framework for youth learning practices. This analysis will be published in an upcoming issue of International Journal of Extended Education, most likely by the end of the year.
Some of the audience members questioned my use of the term ‘learning’, given that the analysis focuses more on a conceptual approach to studying how youth navigate between spaces of learning (in and outside school…), rather than addressing specific learning outcomes. One commentator, for example, said the use of the word learning was ‘misleading’.
This term peaked my interest, and I have since incorporated the idea of being mislead into my mobility lexicon. While I find this interrogation of how I am using the term learning necessary and fruitful, I admit that part of the work of the dissertation is to mislead, in particular when I question to what extent it is possible to open up a new path for thinking learning differently. Deleuze and Guattari suggest that minortarian practices aren’t about the new, but about rethinking what we know: to achieve “a becoming minor of the major language… it is not a question of reterritorializing oneself… but of deterritorializing the major language” (Deleuze and Guattari, A thousand plateaus, 2004, p. 116). Which is to say that perhaps I should not eschew the term learning, but work to deterritorialize it, allowing myself to get mislead while confronting the topic.
Ultimately, the use of the term learning is an unresolved tension in this work, but that doesn’t mean it is not productive. In the very least, it is consistently a conversation starter…
* My dissertation contributes to the national project: Living and learning with new literacies in and outside secondary school: contributions to reducing drop-out, exclusion and disaffection among youth. MINECO. EDU2011-24122.
In addition to discussing my dissertation, I also had the opportunity to present on the methodological approach our team is developing for the European project Show Your Own Gold. Together with Fernando Hernández and Juana Sancho we discussed the theory behind digital visual biographical narratives, and argued that living inquiry and visual methods support the practice of researching with young people. The fieldwork for this project will commence this semester, and we’re very much looking forward to it.
Finally, Fernando Hernández and I also presented our most recent work developed in our course on Arts-Based Research, in the Research on Arts Education network. This is part of our ongoing inquiry into how a learning-by-doing approach to methodology can serve as a site for experimentation, capable of contributing new knowledge to the field. We started a new class this week and are excited to see what this semester brings.