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SIG News

Notes from the SIGs Coordinator

Thanks to SIG Conveners, Co-Conveners and members for your involvement in SIGs and the contribution this makes to the work of AARE. Your involvement in SIG discussions, activities and events throughout the year, in addition to the annual conference, are very much appreciated by our research community. AARE members interested in getting more involved in SIGs are encouraged to visit the SIG pages on the AARE website, and to be in contact with their SIG leadership teams about ways to contribute to SIG networking and activities. Below are news items contributed by individual SIGs, as well as notices of relevance to all SIGs. Please feel free to contact me at either or at if you have any questions about your SIG involvement or any proposed SIG activities you might want to discuss. Best wishes, and I look forward to working with you all this year, Sue Saltmarsh

SIG Competitive Grants Increase

At the January 2015 meeting of the AARE Executive Committee, a decision was made increase the number of Competitive Grants available to SIGs. Beginning in the 2015 funding round, the total number of Competitive Grants available will be increased from four to six, and all six Competitive Grants will now be worth $5000. This is excellent news, and reflects the growing popularity of these funding schemes as a way to build capacity and momentum in the SIGs. The funding round is expected to open sometime in April.

SIG Dinners

As discussed at the SIG Convenors’ meeting in December, organising funded SIG dinners in recent years has continued to provide a number of challenges for the association and conference organisers. While AARE recognizes the importance of networking amongst SIG members, and is committed to hosting some type of SIG social event for this purpose, the Executive Committee has concluded that the provision of funding and administrative support for the purpose of holding separate dinners for individual SIGs is no longer viable. Some of the reasons for this include changes to business models in recent years that mean restaurants are increasingly unwilling to absorb the risks associated with group bookings. Sizeable deposits are often required in advance, and these cannot be recovered in the event of cancellations or less than anticipated numbers in attendance, which is a common occurrence. In addition, meal options for group bookings tend to be less flexible and more costly, which raises equity issues for those members whose SIG annual funding only minimally subsidizes the cost of the dinner, as is the case with larger SIGs. For these reasons, SIG dinners are no longer able to be subsidsed with SIG annual funding. Alternatives have been discussed by the Executive Committee, and referred to a SIG Working Party for review and recommendation, and a decision will be communicated to AARE members as soon as is practicable.

SIG Working Party

In response to feedback from SIG Convenors, AARE members, and conference organisers, a number of issues have been referred to a SIG Working Party. Prior to opening the funding round for 2015, the SIG Working party will review matters pertaining to AARE funding guidelines, as well as arrangements pertaining to SIG social events at the conference. Members of the working party are: Sue Saltmarsh, Michele Simons, Mary Lou Rasmussen, Sue Davis and Eileen Honan. We anticipate that the Working Party will have completed their review of these matters and provided their recommendations to the AARE Executive Committee by the end of March so that the 2015 funding round can be opened sometime in April.

SIG Leadership Vacancies

In recent years it has become increasingly important for SIGs to have a leadership team consisting of a Convenor and at least one Co-convenor. This is particularly crucial in terms of preparations for the annual conference, with SIG leadership teams playing a vital role in organizing the reviewing of abstracts, refereeing of papers, and scheduling sessions in the relevant SIG stream of the annual conference. It is essential that a Co-convenor be available in cases where the Convenor should be away, become ill, or be otherwise unable to fulfill the duties of their role. As of 2015, SIGs intending to re-register must ensure that there are no leadership vacancies.

A number of SIGs have vacancies for leadership roles, for which current financial members of AARE are invited to nominate. AARE members who are considering nominating for one of these roles may wish to discuss their plans with the relevant SIG Convenor (a list of SIGs and SIG Convenors can be found online [Here]. The following SIGs still have vacancies for the role of Co-Convenor:

  • Assessment and Measurement, Co-convener
  • Doctoral Education Research, Co-convener
  • Teachers’ Work and Lives, Co-convener

Co-conveners nominated in this round will hold office until Dec 2016, and would then be able to re-nominate for a further two-year period. In order to nominate for one of these roles, please complete the nomination form and return to  You can download the nomination form on the SIGs webpage [Click Here]

2015 Submission of Paper and Symposium Abstracts

Abstract submissions for the 2015 AARE Conference are now open. SIG Convenors are reminded to please check the website and make a note of any changes that may differ from the submission process in previous years. The relevant information can be found on the conference website [Here].

Arts Education Practice & Research SIG

At the Arts Education Practice and Research SIG meeting in December it was proposed that in 2015 an application be made for SIG funds to bring out an internationally recognised speaker/presenter to participate in an arts-based research focussed activity that may be part of the conference program or a preceding event. Arts-based research may also be of interest to other SIGs, so there are opportunities to partner on a proposal as
well. Do you have a suggestion for an appropriate person?  If so [Click Here] to add your suggestion.  On the form we also ask about any potential involvement in possible events for International Arts Education Week 2015 (more info in project update box later in the newsletter). Please add your contributions by the end of March.

For further information about activities and events that may be of interest to those working in this discipline area, please see the Arts Education & Practice SIG Newsletter available online [Here]: 

Educational Leadership SIG

Report on AARE Educational Leadership SIG activity: Professor Pat Thomson workshop and seminars

The Educational Leadership SIG recently hosted Professor Pat Thomson, University of Nottingham, at the 2014 AARE/NZARE conference. Professor Thomson ran a series of workshop and seminars for a diverse range of Educational Leadership scholars. These included a preconference workshop for ECRs and HDR students, entitled “Building your leadership research agenda”. The session addressed the ways in which researchers could move beyond doctoral research to develop a view of the field and an influential agenda.

The second session, entitled, “Uses of theory in educational leadership”, also targeted ECR and HDR students, including those in the educational leadership field, and also in related disciplines such as Sociology of Education and Social Justice.  Finally, Professor Thomson led a symposium conducted as part of the Educational Leadership SIG entitled, “The dismantling of public education systems: Implications for educational leadership scholars and issues of social justice.” The session provided perspectives from an English (Professor Pat Thomson), Australian (Professor Bob Lingard) and New Zealand (Professor Martin Thrupp) context. It was followed by a panel discussion with time for audience participation and questions. A proposal for an edited book arising from the symposium and a one day workshop run at University of New South Wales is currently being put together.

All three activities were very well attended and enthusiastically received. We are hopeful that they have provided opportunities to deepen ECRs and HDR students’ understandings of how  educational theory can be utilised in ways that engender a rich nexus between practice and theory, and have provided much needed insights into pressing aspects of current educational policies.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Professor Thomson for her thoughtful and substantial contribution to our SIG and to AARE for their generous support of this activity through a SIG Competitive Grant. We feel it has provided our SIG with a terrific momentum for building a combined research and theory agenda in the Australian field and hopefully beyond.

Jane Wilkinson

AARE Educational Leadership SIG Convenor

Gender, Sexualities & Cultural Studies SIG

After discussion with members of the SIG, we have now secured approval from the AARE Executive to launch the SIG’s first award.

In brief terms, the rationale for this award is to acknowledge significant leadership in and contribution to building the fields of sexuality and gender research in education. The motivation to create this award has emerged from the view that given the developing status of these research fields it is important to establish mechanisms through which contributions to and leadership within these fields can be promoted and acknowledged.

We acknowledge that the politics of awards are problematic - focusing as they do on singling out individuals when the growth of the field is always the result of collective efforts.  We hope that the award is received in the spirit of more actively bringing people together to celebrate the work we all do, and we welcome discussions of additional ways to nurture work occurring across these fields.

Please find listed below the details of the award as proposed. We welcome feedback on the award criteria; please email us with any feedback by 19 May 2015.

Title: The Raewyn Connell award for leadership in and contribution to gender and sexuality research, AARE


  1. a researcher who has demonstrated leadership in and made significant contribution to the fields of gender and sexuality research in education through contributions to building the fields, research, teaching, and service.
  2. a researcher who has performed a significant amount of their leadership work while working in Australia.

Awards committee/Judges: To be invited by the SIG conveners.

Selection process: To be considered for this award, people can nominate an individual. Self nomination is also acceptable.

To nominate for the award, the submitting individual must forward a statement to the SIG conveners (who will forward it to the awards committee) in which the nominee's key contributions are discussed across the four relevant areas of leadership: contributions to building the fields, research, teaching, and service.  This statement should not exceed two A4 pages, and should also include a CV.

Statements of nomination must be received by a date to be determined each year by the SIG conveners.  The awards committee will assess the statements against the award criteria.  The SIG conveners will organise the arrangements for announcing the award.

The serving SIG conveners and members of the awards committee will be ineligible for nomination while they are serving in those roles.

We should also note that, if there is further encouragement within the SIG, we would be keen to sponsor the development of other awards.  For instance, at the SIG meeting in Brisbane at conference last year, we discussed the importance of creating opportunities to acknowledge the work of postgraduate students and early career researchers in the field.  If you have any interest in being involved with developing future award schemes please email us.

Best, Daniel and Anna,

Global Contexts of K-12 Education

The newly formed 'Global Contexts for K-12 Education' SIG enjoyed a fantastic first AARE conference in Brisbane with a total of 16 papers presented by researchers representing 11 universities from four countries.

Now that we have the SIG off the ground this year will be dedicated to ensuring the SIGs sustainability through recruiting more members, setting up networks between researchers, initiating some special SIG activities and making symposia submissions for AARE Fremantle.

If you are a researcher with an interest in international dimensions of K-12 education we warmly encourage you to become part of the SIG and contribute to it becoming part of the lifeblood of the AARE. To learn more or express your interest in joining the SIG please contact Brad Shrimpton, the SIG Convenor, at

Health and Physical Education SIG

Ben Williams from Griffith University has been appointed as SIG Co-covenor. 

The 2015 AARE-UQ Health and Physical Education Research conference is now open for registrations and abstract submissions.Health and Physical Education Research Conference Details are as follows:

Date: Friday 19 to Saturday 20 June 2015
Venue: University of Queensland, St Lucia campus, Brisbane

The first in what will be a biennial event, this conference aims to bring together both experienced and early career researchers together to discuss the practice of research in HPE. Rather than finished research findings, the conference organisers invite submissions focusing on research related issues, practices, procedures and problems. For example, potential topics for presentations include but are not limited to:

  • New and developing areas of research activities
  • Innovative methodologies
  • The impact of digital technology on HPE research
  • Institutional issues and constraints on doing research, eg. research accountability
  • Discussions of theory
  • Working with data
  • Early career challenges
  • Disciplinary and interdisciplinary issues

 For registration details, contact Michael Gard at

History and Education SIG

The 2014 AARE conference marked the History and Education SIG’s first official presence on the program, and we were thrilled to have so many terrific papers and panels, with great audiences and lively discussions. Our AGM featured a brief presentation from our SIG guest Professor Inés Dussel (CINVESTAV, Mexico) discussing international trends in the history of education, notably in transnational and visual research. A symposium is planned for the second half of the year, on ‘Cultural History, policy and educational change: theoretical debates and methodological innovations in the history of education’. This will be held with input from the Australian New Zealand History of Education Society, an international key note and include a series of workshops for doctoral students and ECRs.

 For further details or any enquiries, please contact the co-Convenors,

Julie McLeod, or 

Robert Parkes,

Middle Years of Schooling SIG

The primary purpose of this SIG is to encourage research in contexts and spaces that connect with the broad project of enhancing the quality of schooling in the middle years (Grades 5-10).

AARE Conference 2015, Fremantle

We encourage you to start thinking about paper submissions soon. The expectation for any papers submitted to the Middle Years of Schooling strand is that they will specifically target the quality of schooling in the middle years and reference relevant literature within the field.

‘Leading Change’ Project

This highly significant professional development project in Queensland involved a team of middle years of schooling experts and directly involved over 700 principals and teachers. For further information about the Leading Change project please contact Professor Donna Pendergast

Convenor/Co-convenor Changes

The new SIG Convenor is Dr Tony Dowden (University of Southern Queensland) and, filling a long vacant position, the new SIG Co-convenor is Dr Katherine Main (Griffith University). Both members have a long-held interest in the middle years and are the Academic Co-editors of the Australian Journal of Middle Schooling.

The previous SIG Convenor, Dr Leanne Crosswell (Queensland University of Technology), provided steadfast support for the SIG and its activities during her period of leadership. We thank her sincerely for her substantial contribution, and wish her well as she moves on to other pursuits and opportunities.

Newsletter Contributions: Members are warmly invited to submit SIG contributions to forthcoming AARE newsletters to the Convenor 

Motivation and Learning SIG

There are two news items for the Motivation and Learning SIG. First, members are encouraged to check the Motivation and Learning SIG Facebook page, which is regularly updated by Helen Watt from Monash University [Here]:

Second, the book remembering Ray Debus is available for purchase.

Gladly would he learn, and gladly teach: The life of Raymond Lewis Debus 

The book honouring Associate Professor Ray Debus from the University of Sydney was launched at the AARE Conference in Brisbane last year. Many AARE members will remember Ray Debus.  He attended every AARE conference from the inception of AARE conferences meeting to his last one in 2013 in Adelaide.

The AARE Doctoral Awards have been renamed the Ray Debus Doctoral Awards in his honour - to mark Ray's enormous contribution to AARE.  Future winners of the Ray Debus Doctoral Awards will be presented with a copy of the book.

The book (in hard cover) has been published by BLURB.  You can inspect it, and buy a copy if you like, by going to the BLURB site.

Narrative Research SIG

There are two significant changes to note for this year. First, the name of this SIG has been changed to the Narrative Research SIG. Second, the SIG is pleased to announce that Michelle Ronksley-Pavia (Griffith) has accepted a nomination to act as SIG Co-convenor. Congratulations to Michelle on this new role, and we look forward to working with her.

The Narrative Research SIG now has a facebook group for dialoguing about narrative research. Where we  post our latest publications, notices of events, and ponderings. To join [Click Here] and request to join.

Poststructural Theory / Educational Theory and Philosophy SIGs

Dear Members

As you can see, we are combining our items for this newsletter because we would like to highlight our planned collaboration in the lead up to this year’s AARE conference in Fremantle. As with many of the AARE SIGs there are synergies between our two groups which makes collaboration a win-win for all involved.

There are two aspects to our plan. The first involves encouraging, and proactively planning, joint symposia at the conference. So if you have ideas for a symposium that may appeal to members of both SIGs, please let us know. The second is collaboration around the design of the 2015 ‘theory and education dialogue’ following on from the 2013 and 2014 special events held during the Annual Conference. We welcome ideas for invited speakers to continue this series (information about the first two dialogues is available on the Poststructural Theory SIG page)

We welcome feedback and other contributions to these plans! And we look forward to seeing you in Fremantle.

Eileen Honan                                                     John Quay

SIG Convenor                                                  SIG Convenor

Poststructural Theory                                   Educational Theory and Philosophy

Poststructural Theory/Social Justice SIGs

In 2014 the Poststructural Theory SIG and the Social Justice SIG were successful in applying for AARE SIG funding. We used this funding to support the delivery of the second of a series of Dialogues on Theory in Education. What Next for (Post)qualitative Research Downunder? was the title of the Dialogue held between Professor Elizabeth St Pierre and Professor Maggie MacLure during the 2014 Annual Conference. The Dialogue was well attended and included a participative audience discussion. The video-recording of the Dialogue will be available for all AARE members on the Poststructural Theory SIG page.

Rural Education SIG

Prior to the 2014 AARE Annual Conference the Rural Education SIG held a special 1 day workshop on the topic of ‘What next for rural education research?’  Supported by AARE funding, the day was an opportunity for members to take stock of existing projects and explore areas of possible collaboration.  Importantly the workshop also had a number of ‘provocations’ from outside the immediate field in an effort to bring new ideas into our work. Prof Mike Corbett, convenor of the AERA Rural Education SIG, provided an overview of international trends and challenges, Prof Barbara Pini (Griffith Uni) introduced us to a number of ideas from rural geography and Ms Ros Capeness (QCT) outlined the challenges that exist from a policy perspective.  We are now working with the presenters, and a few other contributors, to turn the days discussions into a special journal edition to provoke new thinking in the field. 

To keep the momentum of the workshop going a rural education twitter feed has been established (@RuralEdOz) and we are aiming to establish a SIG newsletter.  In the meantime we would encourage people to follow the twitter feed and jump on the RRTEC Facebook page .

We have also established a HDR position to help connect HDR students here in Australia and overseas, particularly AERA.  Ms Natalie Downes (UC) has taken on the challenge of establishing these links and fostering collaboration between HDR students.

Hernan and I are very humbled to take on the leadership role of the SIG at the last years conference.  We would like to thank Prof Simone White for her vision in establishing the AARE SIG and her leadership over the last few years.  We both value her mentorship as we continue the work of growing rural education research in AARE.

Philip Roberts & Hernan Cuervo.

Sociocultural Activity Theory SIG

Gwen Gilmore (Victoria University) and Jenny Martin (ACU) have taken on the roles of Co-Convenors of the SIG.

Sociology of Education SIG

Symposium Proposals for Fremantle
AARE conference is in Fremantle this year and the dates for submitting abstracts are getting closer (this is usually around May). If you are interested in proposing a symposium and would need more presenters, then please send an email to us and we can relay to the Sociology of Education SIG mailing list. 

AARE SIG Funding Proposals
AARE currently provides two funding avenues for SIGS -  Annual Funding and Competitive Funding. If you have ideas for 2015, please let us know so that we can work with to develop proposals for either of these funding opportunities.  [Click Here] for more information.

Christina and Valerie

Teachers' Work and Lives SIG

If you are interested in the work of teachers in the K-12 education systems, or the examination of the work and the working lives of teachers in the higher education sector, we would like to invite you to join a TWL SIG working party. Please contact Chris Grima-Farrell at for additional details. We are also in the process of establishing a AARE Teachers' Work and Lives SIG Facebook page. Feel free to join the online environment to share any interests, insights or to simply take a look.  


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