Theory Workshops

AARE Theory Workshops aim to promote critical and engaged dialogue, to test and explore new ideas, theories and approaches, to meet and interact with other researchers who are at different stages of their graduate studies and academic work, to make connections, to encounter intriguing  ‘big ideas’, and to enjoy the challenge of intellectual exchange.

They provide opportunities for novice researchers to be immersed in theory, to consider how theory applies to their research, to learn from expert researchers, and to network with experienced researchers as well as other novice researchers.

The workshops are held in different locations across Australia each year.  

Scholarships available (2 per theory workshop) Click here for more information

Theory Workshops


AARE HDR/ECR Theory Workshop: The Future of Method and Education Research

When: Friday September 15th, 5pm -7.30pm & Saturday September 16th, 9am–4pm

Where: University of Southern Queensland, Springfield Campus Auditorium (Friday) and B-Block (Saturday).

Workshop Overview

AARE is proud to host the 2023 Theory Workshop for HDR and early career researchers at the University of Southern Queensland, Springfield Campus. The theme of the workshop is The future of method and education research, providing opportunities for PhD and ECR participants to learn about a range of qualitative, quantitative, participatory and digital methods.

Methodologies make the world. The ways in which we undertake education research has implications for what kinds of action are made possible and plausible. Yet, the future of method, and the relevance for education, is unclear. 15 years ago, Burrows and Savage (2007) argued that the realm of social research has expanded well beyond the academy, to the point that academic methods (e.g., interviews, surveys) are, at best, peripheral. Relatedly, methodological innovation – crucial to the development of the methodology in the mid 20th century – has become outsourced to commercial organisations.

An opening presentation on Friday evening by Professor Lyn Yates will set up the workshop by asking: ‘What does good education research look like?’ – a reprise of her 2004 book – with a panel responding to this presentation with a focus on methodology.  Following the presentation there will be a dinner at a local establishment. Participants’ dinner will be provided on the Friday evening (RSVPs are requested as part of registration for the event).

On Saturday, concurrent sessions will be aimed at: providing insights into the method outlined; grappling with the question of whether the method is relevant for dealing with the complex challenges facing contemporary education; and speculating on what the future of method might be.

The workshop will conclude with a plenary where presenters and participants can address the question: What is the future for methods in educational research?

For those remaining in Springfield, there will be a further networking opportunity at a local pub.

Topics include:

  • Indigenous methodologies
  • Quantitative methods
  • Participatory approaches
  • Mixed method research
  • Digital methods
  • Ethnographic approaches

Presenters include:

  • Professor Nicole Mockler (University of Sydney)
  • Associate Professor Danielle Armour (University of Queensland)
  • Dr Naomi Barnes (Queensland University of Technology)
  • Professor Andrew Hickey (University of Southern Queensland)
  • Associate Professor Jason Lodge (University of Queensland)
  • Professor Greg Thompson (Queensland University of Technology)

Cost: This is a free event for members of AARE. Non members $30 registration fee.

Registration close: 10 September, 2023

For more information, please email:

Sarah Langman, AARE Post Graduate Student Representative 

Ellen Larsen, AARE Early Career Research Representative

Kal Gulson, AARE Research Development Coordinator


AARE Theory Workshop, 2022, Curriculum – Theory, Equity, Policy, and Practice

When: Friday October 7th (3.00pm-6.00pm AEDT) & Saturday October 8th (11.00am-2.00pm AEDT)

Where: This will be an online workshop held in two parts, co-hosted by the University of Canberra

What and Why: AARE theory workshops aim to promote critical and engaged dialogue, to test and explore new ideas, theories and approaches, to meet and interact with other researchers who are at different stages in their research and careers, to make connections, to encounter intriguing  ‘big ideas’, and to enjoy the challenge of intellectual exchange.

Workshop overview
Curriculum is a key organiser of schooling and is fundamentally concerned with the production, circulation, and distribution of forms of knowledge. Curriculum is also key to the sorting and selection functions of formal schooling, affording both advantages and disadvantages, including exacerbating relations of inequality. A long line of educational scholarship has examined the ideological aspects of curriculum, documenting for example, hegemonic or class and gender-based processes of differentiation. Other research traditions have explored the radical and emancipatory dimensions of curriculum and its role in challenging inequities, while yet other research has looked to the conceptual, philosophical, or historical aspects of the curriculum field. 

Drawing on a range of theoretical and methodological approaches, this workshop will engage with new and old questions about curriculum in the contemporary era, seeing curriculum as both a topic of research and as a window onto various forms of educational research. Across two days, matters of place, history and equity will be foregrounded as we explore questions about what and whose knowledge counts, the influence of national and transnational political priorities on curriculum policy, and Australian and international agendas to decolonise curriculum. Sessions will consider the role of theory in curriculum research and policy analysis and examine the role of curriculum today in challenging educational inequalities and asymmetries in educational participation, experience, and futures.

Topics include:

  • Teachers as curriculum workers and researching teachers' practice
  • Curriculum and its role in achieving equity in education
  • Learning Whiteness: Education and the Settler Colonial State
  • Conceptual, philosophical, and historical aspects of the curriculum field

Presenters include:

  • Honorary Professor Marie Brennan
  • Emeritus Professor Robert Hattam
  • Professor Annette Woods
  • Associate Professor Philip Roberts
  • Dr Sophie Rudolph
  • Associate Professor Jessica Gerrard
  • Emeritus Professor Bill Green

Cost: Free for members of AARE.  Non members $30 registration fee each day.

For more information, please email:

Natalie Downes

Ellen Larsen

Julie McLeod

Theory Workshop: ‘What is Neoliberalism (and what are the implications for Higher Education Futures)?’

AARE Theory Workshop 21 October 2020 10am-12noon AEDT/11am-1pm AEST via Zoom 


Professor Tracey Bunda
Professor Bob Lingard
Dr Liz Humphries

On behalf of AARE you are invited to participate in the Theory Workshop Zoom, 2020. The Workshop targets ECR and HDR students and aims to make theory explicit for them through this workshop theme of Neoliberalism. Other interested colleagues might also wish to attend to also support ECR/HDR discussion in such uncertain times.

The theme is a question ‘What is Neoliberalism (and what are the implications for Higher Education Futures)?’ A panel of four esteemed presenters with varying specialty research areas, working from diverse theoretical perspectives are being invited to share how theory informs their methodologies and the ways this plays out in research design, data collection, analysis, and research translation activities. These four speakers, with expertise in work about Neoliberalism, will speak for 10 minutes, facilitate smaller discussion breakout discussions where you can meet and ask questions of the speaker, and then return to participate in a whole-group forum for a Q&A session. The place of theory in research agendas attending to Neoliberalism will be addressed.