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Strategic Initiatives

AARE Strategic Initiative Grants.

AARE Strategic Initiative Grants: Expressions of Interest 2017

AARE is calling for expressions of interest (EOIs) from AARE members in undertaking projects aligned with the following areas of our Strategic Plan:

  • Capacity (C) - Build capacity of educational researchers to conduct high quality research
  • Critical engagement (CE) - Provide forums for sharing of, and critical engagement with, knowledge in education
  • Impact (I) - Promote the visibility and uptake of research evidence in educational policy and practice

Up to five grants of up to $10,000 each are available to assist with undertaking relevant projects. Funding is for the 2017 -2018 financial year but approved activities are to take place until December 2018.

EOIs should address the requirements and use the EOI cover sheet in a maximum of four A4 pages (11 point, single spaced). All EOIs should include a detailed budget Please use the Strategic Grants Initiatives Budget Template available below. The full application, including cover page and budget template should be no more than four pages. The EOIs should be sent to by COB 11 August 2017. Applicants will be provided with an outcome by 30 August, 2017. Funds must be expended by 31 December, 2018.

EOI Form

Budget template


If proposed projects have an attendance fee, AARE members must receive a discount on this fee.

If the proposed project is likely to generate significant income above the project costs, distribution of this income must be negotiated with AARE.

All promotional material and project material must contain the AARE logo and an acknowledgment of AARE’s assistance.

Awarded funds must be spent in accordance with details provided at the time of application using the Strategic Initiatives Grants Budget Template here, unless otherwise negotiated with the Executive Management Team (EMT) AARE.

The proposed project must be undertaken by a team that includes researchers from various career stages and must be led by an ECR (i.e. within 5 years of having been awarded a doctorate).

No individual member may be named on more than one proposal.

Members are not eligible for funding in consecutive years (ie those who have received support in 2016-2017 are not eligible to apply in 2017-2018 round).

The proposed project must align with the AARE Strategic Plan objectives, Critical Engagement and/or Capacity and/or Impact. 

Research that has co-funding from other sources will be favourably considered; in such cases the team must provide evidence of the quality of the partnership (e.g. consultation during development of proposal, financial or in-kind support).

Deliverables must include an artefact (e.g. report, webinar, podcast, book, journal article) that can be launched at the 2017 AARE annual conference and/or published on the AARE website.

Lead researcher of a successful grant will be asked to provide details of how the received funds were spent in accordance with the budget submitted.


Each application will be reviewed by a Panel convened for the purpose comprising members of the Executive Management Team. Applications will be judged according to the following criteria:

The extent to which the project aligns with the AARE Strategic Plan objectives (Capacity and/or Critical Engagement and/or Impact)

The extent to which the planned project is feasible and likely to produce outcomes and deliverables detailed in the application.

The extent to which an Early Career Researcher is being provided with an opportunity to lead and is provided with appropriate mentoring and support.

The extent to which other partnerships enhance the likely success of the project, or open opportunities to Early Career Researchers and others to build relevant networks.

The extent to which proposed deliverables will be useful to the AARE membership.

The extent to which the project budget is well planned and justifiable.

Reports on previous Strategic Initiative Grants

Strategic Initiative Report: Developing Arts-based Interventions into Sexism in the Academy -Emily Gray

In 2016 Emily Gray (RMIT University), Mindy Blaise (VU) and Linda Knight (QUT) were awarded a Strategic Initiative Grant for a project entitled Developing arts-based interventions into sexism in the academy. 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 that was held at the MCG in Melbourne.

At the workshops Emily, Mindy and Linda worked with participants in a range of ways. Firstly we were treated to a presentation by Professor Sue Grieshaber on her and colleague Carmel Diezmann’s research with women professors in Australia. Before the workshops, participants were asked to write a reflection on sexism in the academy, drawing from personal experiences, thoughts and ideas. They were also asked to read 2 key texts (Sarah Ahmed’s, Introduction: Sexism—a problem with a name and Heather Savigny’s, Women know your limits: Cultural sexism in academia). Participants worked with each other’s reflections and the texts and condensed their ideas into single sentences that eventually became the basis for the ‘stand-up comedy’ intervention discussed below. Finally at the workshops Linda Knight worked with participants on the notion of the arts-based intervention and highlighted the power of the arts in feminist activism throughout history.

We developed three interventions as a result of the workshops that were performed at AARE. In addition, 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: AARE Annual Conference 2016

Research 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 in 2016. 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.
Workshop participants designed the text boxes that replaced the traditional bingo numbers and we decided to include both sexist and anti-sexist experiences to acknowledge the diversity of experiences women have at conferences. Bingo was chosen as a format for intervening into sexism in the academy at conferences because of its association as a game of chance. Bingo is also closely associated with women, and with working class women in particular (Casey, 2003; Dixey, 1988). We therefore aimed to address both sexism and the notion of women’s achievements in academia being the result of luck and chance through our bingo intervention.

Secondly, at 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 AARE in 2016. 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.

Our 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.

The Pipeline Myth T-shirtThe Pipeline Myth T-shirt

The Pipeline Myth Postcard
Where to from here…?
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

 Low SES Research Network - 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.


Testimonial about AARE Strategic Initiative Grants




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