The Australasian Journal of Early Childhood Research Symposium
The 2016 Australasian Journal of Early Childhood (AJEC) Research Symposium was hosted by Charles Darwin University on 5th October and lived up to all the promises of thoughtful and rigorous provocations based on the title: ‘Whose knowledge is it anyway? Pushing the evidence base in early childhood research’.
AJEC is Australasia’s foremost scholarly journal and the world’s longest-running major journal within the early childhood field. Published quarterly, AJEC offers research-based articles that are designed to impart new information and encourage the critical exchange of ideas among early childhood practitioners, academics and students.
Professor Ann Farrell of Queensland University of Technology provided an opening address which lead into a panel session. The 170 Symposium participants were challenged by a video presentation by Jane Garrutju, an Elder of the Golpa clan and the Chairperson of Marthakal Homelands Resource Centre on Elcho Island in North East Arnhem Land, Northern Territory (NT), in the community of Galiwin’ku. She is a very experienced researcher and educator with a depth of understanding about living and growing up in two worlds. You can find out more about the work of Yalu at http://yalu.cdu.edu.au/ . Professor Lyn Fasoli very generously shared the insights gained and still being gained in participatory action research methodologies that aim to build local capacity and achieve social justice outcomes. Robyn Ober, a Mamu/Djirribal woman from the rainforest region of North Queensland, PhD candidate and has expertise in linguistics and education. She cautioned researchers and educators of the traps we often fall into when visiting on another’s country. Associate Professor Sheila Degotardi of Macquarie University, gave a compelling and confronting perceptive on the body of research we call on to inform policy and practice and the ways in which this research in Australia has many built in biases and gaps on the basis of language or cultural groups, age groups and types of education and care programs.
The day was filled out with break out discussions based on four themes: Infants and Toddlers; Whose knowledge? Whose view?; Child development, and Educators’ voices. A special lunch of picnic boxes on blankets made the Boab Courtyard lawn a buzz with all the lively conversations, full of potential for next work in early childhood research.