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Practitioners as researchers -7th Playwork Practice Research Seminar

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Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, South Bank Campus

226 Grey Street

South Brisbane, QLD 4101

Australia

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Practitioners as researchers: Challenges and opportunities

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In this seventh annual International Journal of Playwork Practice Research Seminar, we explore the challenges and opportunities of ‘practitioners as researchers’. What roles and responsibilities do playwork practitioners have as researchers? Are playwork practitioners passive consumers of research, or discoverers of data and research designers by practice? Should children be regarded as researchers and involved in research projects?

International Journal of Playwork Practice aims to advance playwork research and practice by providing the first ever interdisciplinary platform for the publication and dissemination of scholarship relevant to playwork practice.

Dr Barbara Chancellor: Research and the practitioner

In this session participants will engage in discussions about their experiences of research within their own practice. Beginning with a practitioner’s capacity for reflection as a basis for researching practice, links will be made with theory and approaches to research. During this session the underpinning role of experience as the basis for both research and practice will be central.

Barbara’s research interests centre around outdoor play in schools, early childhood settings and public open spaces using new materialist and post human theories. Most recently her research has been focussing on nature pedagogies particularly in Australian Bush Kinders. Throughout her academic career Barbara has attended and presented her research at local and international conferences and she has developed research partnerships in Europe, the UK and Asia as well as research collaborations within Australia. She is currently working in an academic role at Federation University, Australia.

Dr Shelly Newstead: PARS – the importance of ‘not-knowing’

Developed by Dr Shelly Newstead as part of her doctoral research, the PARS (Playwork Action Research System) model of playwork practice is now being used all over the world by playwork practitioners to articulate, develop and evaluate their playwork practice. The PARS model conceptualises playwork practice as an active form of deliberate enquiry into what might be appropriate (or inappropriate) adult reactions when working with children at any given moment. However, this conceptualisation of ‘practitioners as researchers’ differs from other practitioner-as-researcher models, where practitioners carry out research as a way of creating new knowledge to enhance their day-to-day practice. In PARS, it is the process of research itself which informs practice, rather than the product of that research. This presentation explores the epistemological basis on which PARS is founded and how the process of research creates practice in the PARS model. It also discusses the opportunities and challenges of this epistemological stance for practitioners as researchers.

Dr Shelly Newstead has worked in the playwork field for more than thirty years as a practitioner, trainer, author, editor, publisher and researcher. She is the Managing Editor of International Journal of Playwork Practice and the Series Editor for the Routledge Advances in Playwork Research series. Shelly is also the President of the International Council for Children’s Play (ICCP) and the Managing Director of Common Threads, a social enterprise which develops playwork theory and practice internationally – www.commonthreads.org.uk.

Associate Professor Naomi Sunderland

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Dr Bruce Hurst

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Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, South Bank Campus

226 Grey Street

South Brisbane, QLD 4101

Australia

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