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Strategic Initiatives

AARE Strategic Initiative Grants.

Each year AARE provides members the opportunity to nominate for up to five grants of up to $10,000 each that are to 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

Five grants of up to $10,000 each are available to assist with undertaking relevant projects. Funding is for the 2018 -2019 financial year but approved activities are to take place until December 2019.

Submissions due 30 June 

Guidelines and criteria.

EOI cover sheet

Budget template


Stewart Riddle speaks about his 2016 successful Strategic Initiative grant.


AARE congratulates the following successful nominations for the 2017 Strategic Initiative Grants

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

Project lead: Sindu George and Paul Swan, Monash Unviersity
Dr Baljinder Sahdra, Australian Catholic University.

Team members:

Established Researchers

Professor Helen Watt, Professor of Educational Psychology, University of Sydney
Assoc. Professor Philip Parker, Institute for Positive Psychology and Education, ACU
Professor Paul Richardson, Associate Dean of Research, Monash University

Early Career ResearchersDr. Sindu George, Monash University
Dr. Paul Swan, Monash University
Dr. Shane Costello, Monash University
Dr. Zoe Morris, Monash University
Dr. Baljinder Sahdra, ACU
Dr. Nathan Berger, Western Sydney University


We look forward to the following deliverables being provided to AARE:

  • Selected presentations published in a Special issue of the AARE journal,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.


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

Project Lead: Lisa Papatraianou Charles Darwin University

Team members:

Dr Al Strangeways, Charles Darwin University, Northern Territory
Associate Professor Caroline Mansfield, Murdoch University, Western Australia
Associate Professor Denise Beutel, Queensland University of Technology, Queensland
Dr Sharon McDonough, Federation University, Victoria

We look forward to the following deliverables being provided to AARE:

  • 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


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

Project Lead: Liz Rouse Deakin University

Michael Victory Executive Officer, Teacher Learning Network and currently in the final stage of completion of PhD at Victoria University

Team members:

Associate Professor Marcelle Cacciattolo, Victoria University
David Tyson, Manager, AEU Professional Leadership Centre
Deb James, General Secretary, Independent Education Union – Victoria and Tasmania
Max Grarock, Program Manager, Teacher Learning Network and doctoral candidate, Deakin University

We look forward to the following deliverables being provided to AARE:

  • 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.


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

Video about the SI grant

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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