Previously Funded Special Projects


2017 Strategic Initiative Grant recipients

Year: 2017

Project title: AARE Quantitative Methodology Summit on Survey Research in Education

Applicant: Dr Sindu George, Dr Baljinder Sahdra, Professor Helen Watt, Associate Professor Phillip Parker, Professor Paul Richardson, Dr Paul Swan, Dr Shane Costello,  Dr Zoe Morris and Dr Nathan Berger.

Intended outcomes:

  • Selected presentations published in a Special issue of the AARE journal, the Australian Educational Researcher
  • Recordings of selected presentations and a summit outcomes report made available to all participants through AARE website
  • Initiation and capacity development of a network of junior and senior educational researchers in Australia using quantitative methods


Year: 2017

Project title: Exploring Teacher Educators’ Embodied Experiences of Resilience in Changing Times: Developing a Heuristic Framework of Wellbeing

Applicant: Dr Lisa Papatraianou, Dr Al Strangeways, Associate Professor Caroline Mansfield, Associate Professor Denise Beutel, Dr Sharon McDonough.

Intended outcomes:

  • Journal article
  • Series of Vidcasts and Podcasts
  • Two connected participatory symposia for Teacher educators, some of whom will be members of AARE
  • Round table and exhibition at the 2018 AARE conference


Year: 2017

Project title: The Teaching Profession - Researchers and Practitioners mapping the future.

Applicant: Dr Liz Rouse, Michael Victory, Associate Professor Marcelle Cacciattolo, David Tyson, Deb James, Max Grarock

Intended outcomes:

  • A two day national intensive seminar for practitioners and researchers to be held in Melbourne in September/October 2018 for 200 participants to attend in person.
  • Live streaming in real time of that seminar to a national audience of practitioners and researchers. Up to 200 places will be available in the online space.
  • During the seminar up to twenty researchers will be invited to contribute to the TLN podcast series on education in Australia.
  • A publication, the format to be agreed, will be developed from the seminar papers and the action plans to be developed on Day Two.
  • An interactive website will be developed for the purposes of ongoing networking and exchange of information and research.


Prior Strategic Initiative Grant project reports:

Year: 2016

Project title: Developing Arts-based Interventions into Sexism in the Academy

Applicants: Emily Gray (RMIT University), Mindy Blaise (VU) and Linda Knight (QUT)

The project sets out to not only respond to the current research about women working in academia but it also seeks to engage with and mobilize the experiences of women who work within the discipline of education, including teacher education, at the university level.

Two workshops were run in Melbourne and Brisbane respectively and a diverse range of women attended, including queer women, women of colour and women at varying career stages, from PhD candidates to professors. At the workshops we developed several interventions that were performed at the AARE Annual Conference for 2016. We also really enjoyed working together and felt that the project could potentially have a life beyond the Strategic Initiative Grant – so we decided upon a name and decided to turn our work into true collective action and so Feminist Educators Against Sexism #FEAS was born.

The interventions:

FEAS pic3Research shows that women often articulate their success in the academy as being due to luck or chance (see Diezmann and Grieshaber for examples). Therefore, we were interested in playing with the idea of luck and chance through a sexist/anti sexist bingo game that delegates were invited to play throughout the AARE conference. The bingo card offered a commentary on the notion of luck and chance and also attends to the idea that academia is a game that we need to learn how to play.

FEAS pic 1At workshops participants were asked to condense their discussions of written testimonies about sexism in the academy into single sentences or phrases on postcards. We then took these and turned them into ‘jokes without a punchline’ that were performed as a pop-up, stand-up comedy at the conference. Linda dressed as a 70’s style stand-up comedian and read out these not so funny statements accompanied by canned laughter that was activated by Emily who stood to the side wearing a ‘feminist killjoy’ t-shirt. This performance is intended to draw attention to the slippery, evasive nature of everyday sexism by drawing upon irony.

FEAS pic2Our final intervention was a take on the ‘entrepreneurial academic’ and we designed business cards and t-shirts with the #FEAS logo. The business cards and the images used were designed with the intention of drawing attention to the marketisation of higher education and the notion of the corporate, neoliberal (male) academic subject. These interventions then reflect the ceaseless calls for self-promotion and the entrepreneurial academic, though these interventions are not for profit and both t-shirts and business cards were given away at AARE.

The statistical data we drew upon for the ‘Pipeline Myth t-shirt’ came from research carried out by Strachan et al. (2016), which demonstrated that sexism is endemic within Australian universities and that the academic ‘pipeline’ is a myth for many women. We used Strachan et al’s statistics in a deliberately subversive way – for example the statistic of 7% women professors (Level E) in Australia represents that in the Australian academic workforce, 26% are professors and of those 7% are women, meaning that men outnumber women by more than 2 to 1 according to Strachan et al.’s research. We were not explicit about the statistic, allowing conference delegates to draw their own inferences and use the t-shirts as a discussion point about the gendered division of labour in Australian universities rather than as a social scientific ‘fact’. Each t-shirt was also accompanied with a curated card that explains the concept of what we have now called The Pipeline Myth T-shirt, and remind those wearing it that they might activate interest and possibly questions. We encourage women to take this opportunity to explain the pipeline myth and how these statistics, which show that women are not moving through the pipeline from lecturer A to Professor, highlight a form of sexism. These interventions are then creating opportunities for women to practice telling stories of everyday sexism and why it matters to a range of audiences.

Since AARE in 2016, #FEAS has grown into an international feminist educators collective. Our Facebook group, which in November 2016 had 3 members – Linda, Mindy and Emily now has 600 members from Australia and all over the world including UK, Aotearoa New Zealand, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Spain, Italy, Belgium, USA, Canada, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. We also have a Cite Club mailing list with 80 members. Through Cite Club we aim to develop a network of feminist scholars with diverse identities and research interests and to build an archive of work that we can draw upon. We have been invited to present our interventions at the NTEU Biennial Women’s Conference and the Gender and Education Conference at Middlesex University in June 2017.

Most recently #FEAS has developed a website which can be accessed here:

The #FEAS project has demonstrated for us how a relatively small amount of funding can go a long way, can facilitate the development of a larger project and help to foster collaboration and friendship. In short, it has been productive, intellectually stimulating, and fun


Year: 2016

Project title: Low SES Research Network

Applicant: Stewart Riddle

The 2016 Strategic Initiative funding supported a pair of two-day research workshops organised by the Low SES Research Network with the aim to develop a program supporting the aim of Researching and resisting educational inequality: Reframing policy and practice. The first event was held at UniSA Magill Campus in June and the second at USQ Springfield campus in November, involving over 60 researchers from Australia and the UK. The theme for the UniSA workshop was Research Design: Towards a national frame for research with disadvantaged and vulnerable young people, and aimed to build capacity to design innovative and quality research projects that engage with critical issues of disadvantaged and vulnerable young people at a national level. The workshop participants engaged in a series of critical reflections on pre-set readings, provocations and presentations on practitioner inquiry, action research and developing a design for a national research agenda. The USQ workshop focused on the topic of Redefining Impact: Towards a more complex definition of the ‘impact’ of teaching in disadvantaged and vulnerable communities, and examined the complexities of determining the impact of research, teaching and schooling in disadvantaged communities. A series of panels, workshops, discussion groups and planning sessions were held, with an emphasis on progressing the activities of the network through collaborative research projects.

To date, results have included:

  • A series of 4 connected symposia (16 papers) with the BERA Commission on Poverty and Policy Advocacy at the 2016 BERA Conference in Leeds, UK, with further collaborative presentation planned for the 2017 BERA Conference in Brighton, UK and 2017 ECER Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark;
  • Participation by members of the network in a planning day at Leeds Beckett University, UK in September 2016 with colleagues from the BERA Commission on Poverty and Policy Advocacy;
  • A series of 4 connected symposia (17 papers) with the BERA Commission on Poverty and Policy Advocacy at the 2016 AARE Conference in Melbourne;
  • Programming of over 100 presentations, 4 keynote addresses and a public lecture for a three-day research event at USQ Springfield in November 2017, called Re-imagining Education for Democracy Summit;

Edited book under contract with Routledge.

The network continues to develop national and international links and is working towards a series of funding bids and other collaborative projects, including further networking events and publication outcomes. The funding provided by AARE through the Strategic Initiative program has been a vital component of the growing success of the network’s activities and we are deeply grateful for the support.