Tin shed science: Enacting curriculum inquiry through new materialism

Year: 2019

Author: McKnight, Lucinda

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This presentation provides a partial account of an intimate case study of an after school science club for young girls in a garden shed in suburban Melbourne, Australia. While hybrid learning spaces merging home and school have been described before, particularly in relation to girls and science such descriptions are limited to the hybridity of discourses and do not acknowledge the aesthetic, material or sensuous dimensions of scholarship. Instead, the study on which this presentation is based involves diffractive artworks taking place notionally some years “after” the science club, forming this chapter assemblage.

The presentation combines images of the science club shed with further assembled fragments of original pedagogical intent via planning documents, and other arts-based interventions by the organiser/writer. Emerging with this work is the concept of permeable learning, based on understandings that design is multiple and human intentionality as curriculum is a thin-skinned and fragile fiction despite humanist insistence, particularly in neoliberal contexts, that it is otherwise. Permeable learning incorporates intra-action as both human and non-human entities merge, thus calling each other into being. So students and the gases they create and breath in their experiments become new entities of indiscernible boundaries; as do school and home; art and science; mud and hands; public and private pedagogies; teacher and student; memory and experience; girl and bird, and shed and garden.