Keynote and Seminar Talks from @ESRI_mmu #SIQR 2015

The 4th Summer Institute in Qualitative Research (SIQR) hosted by ESRI in July 2015 was a fantastic success. With 9 internationally renowned keynote speakers from UK, USA and Canada, intellectually challenging workshops, diverse delegate-led sessions and a stimulating day of arts-based provocations, the event was inspiring.

You can view videos of the keynote presentations below. For more information about the conference and talks please visit the SIQR website

Ecstatic Corona: From Ethnography to Art Documentation

Patricia Clough – CUNY Graduate Center

For the past seven years, Patricia Clough has been returning to the place where she grew up in Corona Queens, NY. Her visits to Corona have resulted in the creation of a performance group who have created and perform a multimedia production called Ecstatic Corona. Focusing on the process of creating Ecstatic Corona, Clough addresses her own development from ethnographic researcher to critical theorist to co-producer of art documentation.

Against Proper Objects: Toward the Diversely Qualitative

Patti Lather’s – The Ohio State University

This paper looks at the present conjuncture of qualitative research via a genealogy of how I have looked at it over the years. It begins with a memoir of what ushered me into my own thinking, presents various mappings of the field and concludes with a meditation on what the post-qualitative might be made to mean. Its particular interests are to make intelligible our own framings, to challenge the idealizations of the Enlightenment subject and to rethink praxis by unpacking the methodology of a variety of empirical projects. Its goal is to do so in a way that foregrounds the proliferations, migrations, and circulations of what is always on the move in a way that takes incommensurability seriously.

Number sense, calculating matter, and immanence

ELIZABETH DE FREITAS – Adelphi University/ MMU

This presentation explores the implications of new materialist philosophies that re-assemble the quantitative with the qualitative. I focus on how human and non-human matter are newly commingled in current approaches to number sense. I discuss philosophies of immanence that decenter the phenomenological subject and relate this to recent neurocognitive research on number sense. I draw principally from the work of Gilles Deleuze, Claire Colebrook and Vicky Kirby. This paper asks: What is the role of number and calculation in a philosophy of immanence? My aim is to imagine a calculating matter and a non-human number sense, keeping in mind that this imaginary offers both an image of dystopic societies of control, but also vitalist openings onto new recombinant mixtures of number and matter.

Bridging Sociology and Psychoanalysis in Qualitative Analysis: Mixing Bourdieu and Psychoanalytical Approaches

Professor Diane Reay – Centre for Science and Policy, University of Cambridge

Sociology and psychoanalysis should unite their strengths (but to do so they would need to overcome their prejudices against each other) to analyze the genesis of investment in a field of social relations.(Bourdieu, 2000: pp 198-199)

It is this fusion of psychoanalytic insights with sociological understandings that I suggest has the potential to be analytically generative. My own research focus is social inequalities, and in this paper I attempt to bring together Bourdieu and a range of psychoanalytic approaches in order to develop richer understandings of how, in particular, class inequalities are lived, felt, contested and accepted in contemporary Britain.

The paper explores the potential of habitus to provide a window on the psychosocial. It works with a notion of psychosocial study as inquiry into the mutual constitution of the individual and the social relations within which they are enmeshed. At the same time it attempts to deepen and enrich notions of habitus. Although the strong focus on agency and structure has overshadowed the role of emotions and the emotional life of individuals within conceptualisations of habitus in Bourdieu’s work, the paper argue that there are strong links between the psychosocial and Bourdieu’s concept of habitus. Drawing on empirical data on the affective aspects of living in an unequal society, the paper seeks to develop a psychosocial understanding of habitus that allows for a better and richer understanding of how the exterior – wider social structures – are experienced and mediated by the interior, the psyche.

Propositions of Activation for Research in Education

Stephanie Springgay – OISE – University of Toronto

Disciplinary models of research shape knowledge as static, fixed and organized according to pre-formed categories, where the conditions of research are posited before the exploration or experimentation. This results in “stultifying its potential and relegating it to that which already fits within pre-existing schemata of knowledge” (Manning, 2014, p. 4). We must, Manning contends, find ways of activating thought that is experienced rather than known, and where experience accounts for ‘more than human’ encounters. If research is to loosen its ties to humanist orientations it needs to untether itself from pre-programmed methods and consider techniques that are immanent to its own research design, disrupting the idea that the human/self exists prior to the act of research. I borrow the concept of ‘techniques’ from Erin Manning who describes techniques as a thinking-in-movement. Techniques are ways of engaging and expressing activities, such as research. They are not tools or methods by which research is defined. Techniques are processual; they are emergent and they constantly reinvent themselves. Entering into the diverse conversation about new materialism, posthumanism and Deleuzian methodologies this paper will put forth propositions of activation in order to bring matter to the forefront of educational research. In doing so I will examine a multi-site school-based research project.

Working at the Wonder: Collaborative Writing as Method of Inquiry 

Jonathan Wyatt – University of Edinburgh and Ken Gale – Plymouth University

For ten years, both together and with others, we have been inquiring into, with and through collaborative writing. From the outset we have been enchanted by Deleuze, drawn by the disruptive, creative, revolutionary world he and his collaborators offer us; and in more recent years, we have been captivated by posthumanism and its affirmation, echoing and extension of, Deleuzian theorizing as practice. We’ve wondered, with Deleuze, Barad, St. Pierre, Jackson and Mazzei and many others: where can collaborative writing take us? What will we find? What will we create? How does collaborative writing take us somewhere different? How do we take collaborative writing differently? What do we mean by the terms that trip so easily from our lips and fingers as we write, those easy, everyday signifiers such as ‘we’ and ‘I’? What do they mean to us? We wonder about the ‘we’ that purports to ask these questions. As an approach to inquiry, collaborative writing is entangled, intertwined and enmeshed. In seeing it as constantly processual, it is always changing, contested and open to problematisation within the context of post-qualitative inquiry.

In this keynote address we wish, through collaborative writing as inquiry, to push at collaborative writing, to take it to task, to hold it up for examination, and to wonder. Yes, we will wonder, with each other, with Deleuze, and with our use of multiple forms of posthumanist theorising in mind: what is im/possible?

Storying the self in forbidden spaces: using Holland and Bakhtin to explore identity and agency

Yvette Solomon (ESRI, MMU) 

Much of my research has focussed on understanding how the apparent ‘masculinity’ of mathematics excludes women, and the ways in which some women nonetheless occupy this forbidden space. Some have argued that they must do ‘identity work’ in order to achieve what is often an uneasy presence, while others have commented on the protective function of invisibility. In this paper I discuss the theoretical and methodological issues in exploring identity and agency within women’s narratives of choosing and doing mathematics. Taking as my starting point Mikhail Bakhtin’s emphasis on the dialogic space between interlocutors, I will illustrate how an awareness of the addressivity and otherness of utterances, and of the role of genre and heteroglossia in self-authoring, can be used in interview analysis to gain insight into women’s narratives of self as mathematicians and mathematics learners. Emphasising the production of identity in practice, I will draw on Dorothy Holland’s work on hybridity and worldmaking to examine how we might then understand agency and challenge in the established world of mathematics.

Prodigious performances, posthuman subjectivities: viral videos of young children imitating adult performers 

Maggie MacLure (ESRI, MMU) 

I explore the question of post-human subjectivities through a focus on viral videos of young children ‘imitating’ popular musicians and singers. The affective power of these child performances is evident in both in their mass appeal, and in anxious responses that associate them with animals, machines and monsters – parrots, puppets, automata. Such responses point to the more-than-human affinities that precede and accompany the ‘autonomous’ human subject. The ‘powerful body’ of the prodigious child (de Mink, 2011) challenges the binary architecture of humanist prerogative: adult/child, nature/culture, imitation/creativity, fake/authentic, originality/reproduction, innocence/corruption. I ask who/what speaks in and through these imitative performances, and suggest that they are not degraded, failed or ’empty’ performance of the less-than-human, but the expression of affective capacities that are always already more-than-human.

Putting Theory to Work: Workshops

Deleuze & Guattari at work

Ken Gale, Plymouth University
Jonathan Wyatt, The University of Edinburgh
Josie Gabi, MMU
Linda Knight, Queensland University of Technology
Eileen Honan, University of Queensland
Mary Dixon, Deakin University
Susanne Ganon, University of Western Sydney

Through round table discussion and examples of research studies, panel members will explore how the theories and concepts of Deleuze, and Deleuze & Guattari are put to work in their art, education and other research practices.


From Lacan to Barad: the body and material entanglements 

Margaret Somerville (University of Western Syndney, Australia) & Sue Collins (Monash University, Australia)

In this workshop we explore the theoretical trajectory from Freud and Lacanian psychoanalytic theory through feminist philosopher Elizabeth Grosz, to the new materialisms emerging from philosopher of physics, Karen Barad. Grosz’s theorizing of the relationship between the body and language culminates in Chaos Territory Art(Grosz, 2008), closely aligned with new materialism. The new materialist turn, however, has drawn heavily on Barad’s ‘entanglement’ of bodies and matter in Meeting the Universe Halfway(Barad, 2007). We explore the application of these ideas in dialogue, initially with each other and then with the participants. Margaret follows her research trajectory from her early writing in Body/landscape journals to recent explorations of material entanglements in young children’s intra-actions with the more-than-human world. Sue begins with the proposition that if familial relations provide the basis for the theorisation and practice of psychoanalytic theory, then materiality also provides the substance. We consider the implications of these theoretical trajectories for the relations between bodies, language, and materialities in an open dialogue with participants, proposing that generating new knowledge involves a creative process of renewal between theorist and researcher, drawing on our own experience of working together as writer and editor, supervisor and doctoral student.


Alchemy/Schmalchemy – A performative ‘live art’ installation 

Geoff Bright, Walt Shaw, & Gillian Whiteley

Geoff, Walt and Gillian have been working since 2009 on this multimedia project, with a strong emphasis not only on sonic improvisation but also on the underlying philosophical concepts and ideas, in particular, the notion of ‘becoming’. They operate with a set of practices and activities which deploy the process of alchemy and schmalchemy.

The Pregnant Box – A presentation of artefacts from the Pregnant Box 

Catherine Conlon, Evangelia Rigaki, & W.N. Herbert

Inquiring into women who are concealing a pregnancy, commissioned qualitative research that combines post-humanist theories of the subject with critiques of qualitative ontology leaves data that resembles ‘ruins’. This project puts those ‘ruins’ to work with creative arts practice. Through the medium of Opera it generates a ‘sonic r e- enactment’ of the data. ‘The Pregnant Box’ was performed in September 2014 in Trinity College Dublin. It was a series of Miniature Operas for singer and flautist performed for one audience member at a time in a specially constructed confession box while outside a wandering choir performed choral pieces.

Moving with Affective Methodologies

Jên Angharad, Professor Emma Renold, & Professor Gabrielle Ivinson

Inspired by the work of Erin Manning we offer two films: “Light Moves” and “Dance of the not-yet”. Each film enables us to glimpse how the body, entangled in objects, landscape, movement and light align, intra-act and call our participants and us into the world. Led by Jên Anghared, the workshop then opens up to encourage participants to think with the body and affect, and how ‘movement moves’ and composes us.

Rachel Holmes

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