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Theory Workshops

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

Scholarships are available. 

For more information and to apply

Melbourne Theory Workshop

AARE is pleased to invite people to register for the Theory Workshop being held at the Monash University Peninsula campus on 6 to 8 July. Please pass this email onto any colleagues who may be interested as this workshop is a wonderful opportunity for early career researchers and higher degree research students to be immersed in theory, consider how theory applies to their research and engage in discussions with and learn from experienced researchers. To register

Alison Lee scholarships will be available for this workshop. 

Messing with methods

In 2004, John Laws sang the praises of messy methods, and counter-posed the fiction of clean data, neat answers, tidy procedures with the provisional, materiality and uncertainty of research practice. This Theory Workshop explores the prospect and problems of ‘messy methods’ and associated theoretical dilemmas from various standpoints. Questions animating these discussions include:

  • In a time when methodological ‘mess’, experiment and performance are being embraced, how are questions of rigour, evidence, argumentation, theorisation and the use of sources understood and approached?
  • With increasing calls for mixed methods, and for large-scale and international studies, what is the status of small-scale projects and case studies – what theoretical approaches, warrants and methodologies support this work? And how helpful are such methodological binaries?
  • In an era of ‘impact and engagement’, what kind of methodological and conceptual approaches are appropriate, effective, or need to be explored?
  • In what ways do questions about the politics of knowledge and power/knowledge dynamics intersect (or not) with the above concerns?
  • What challenges are presented for educational research in calls for decolonising methodologies and critical attention to Indigenous epistemologies of knowledge?

These matters, and more, will be explored in a series of focused workshops, panel discussions and plenary forums, led by researchers with extensive experience in thinking and writing about methodological challenges and questions – conceptual, practical, ethical. There will be opportunities for participants to draw from their own research while learning from and with others at different stages in their research careers and research projects.

         A provisional program can be found here and final details of workshops and presenters to be provided shortly. There will be four workshops from which to choose, plus plenary sessions x 2 and a closing panel of all presenters.

Registrations are now open. 

Details on the Alison Lee Scholarship. Applications due September 15. 

AARE Theory Workshop, June 16-17, 2017

This workshop was hosted by Southern Cross University, Gold Coast Campus

Approximately 30 people attended. 

This AARE Theory Workshop was organised and held in conjunction with two AARE Special Interest Groups: Qualitative Research Methodologies SIG and Arts Education Practice Research.
These two SIGs collaborated with success on an application for a AARE competitive grant to bring to Australia Professor Rita L. Irwin, an expert in Arts Based Education from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

Slides from the Wabi-sabi workshop

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Qualitative Research Methodologies and Arts Education Practice and Research SIG Members Pricing

The AARE Special Interest Group day is being held free of charge, with the cost to attend day two of the Theory Workshop $100. To register for only day two of the Theory Workshop please contact AARE on

To qualify for this special pricing you must be a financial member of AARE and you must contact the AARE Office and Events Manager on for registration


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