Workshop 3

7th European Congress of Qualitative Inquiry
University of Helsinki, 10-12 January 2024, Helsinki, Finland

Walking-with theory: feminist materialist/posthumanist encounters with objects, bodies and spaces

Duration: 120 mins

Feminist materialist and posthumanist thinking presumes that matter and discourse are entangled and co-constitutive and that neither is foundational. Instead, matter is conceptualised as agentic and all sorts of bodies, not just human bodies, are recognised as having agency. This radical move has profound ontological, epistemological and ethical consequences; it raises serious methodological questions about how we do qualitative research and how knowledge in posthuman times can come to matter differently. Drawing on the work of Karen Barad (2007), Jane Bennett (2010), Rosi Braidotti (2013) and Donna Haraway (2015) the workshop invites participants to enact a feminist materialist/ posthumanist theory-praxis derive – that is, a playful, political walk or stroll – which activates walking with feminist materialist/ posthumanist theory as a means to unsettle anthropocentrism. In this, the workshop aims to offer a co-compositional research space for experimental encounters. It puts to work a practice of walking with theory to attend to everyday things that we don’t normally notice or accord value to and to bring to the fore the value of affective, sensory, embodied and relational research practices. Drawing on aspects of Carol and Nikki’s experimental research practice-ings and theoretical thinking, this workshop is structured as a three-part research-creation process: an initial theoretical orientation; a participatory, experimental feminist materialist/ posthumanist derive where participants get out of the room and go for a short walk; and a critical, collaborative speculative wondering regarding the matterings which emerge. All materials for this workshop will be provided. Participants should bring smartphones and dress accordingly for Finnish outdoor weather. There will be an opportunity to develop a piece of collaborative writing/journal article after this workshop.


Workshop Facilitators

Professor Carol A. Taylor

I am Professor of Higher Education and Gender in the Department of Education at the University of Bath where I lead the Reimagining Education for Better Futures Research Group. My research utilizes trans- and interdisciplinary feminist, new materialist and posthumanist theories and methodologies and focuses on the entangled relations of knowledge, power, gender, space and ethics in higher education. My current research project is WomenCAN: Breaking Promotion Barriers, Changing University Cultures (UKRI, University of Bath funded). I am co-editor of the journal Gender and Education. I serve on the Editorial Boards of Teaching in Higher EducationCritical Studies in Teaching and Learning, and Journal of Posthumanism. My research profile details my publications and projects.

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Dr Nikki Fairchild

I am the Associate Head (Research and Innovation), School of Education, Languages and Linguistics, University of Portsmouth. My research has two bifurcations the first employs research-creation and creative methodologies to provide different ways to disturb and enact knowledge production, the second focuses on place-spaces in Early Childhood classrooms and gardens and how they impact on bodies. My work is theoretically informed by critical feminist materialisms and posthumanisms. I am an Associate Editor for the Journal of Posthumanism and on the Editorial Board of Gender and Education and Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood. My research profile details my publications and projects.

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