Decentring the Human in Qualitative Research Methodologies Seminar Series

Hosted by the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Qualitative Research Methodologies Special Interest Group Convenors:

This free seminar series consists of six 1-hour online seminars via Zoom on the topic of decentring the human in qualitative research methodologies. Each seminar features a presentation by a guest speaker who has experience with decentring the human in the context of qualitative research methodologies in educational research. Each seminar will also be followed by a debriefing session (see below for information).

The seminar series is inspired by Kuby and Bozalek’s (2023) webinar series that aspired to create an international online learning community that was inclusive of a range of scholars, including early career scholars and doctoral students. Importantly, for us, social learning is front and centre of this seminar series. Our main concern is not on transmitting knowledge from someone who already knows about decentring the human to someone who doesn’t. Instead, we want to work together to create a synergy that generates insights and ideas that we would not have had on our own.  Our ethical stance is one that values diversity and dialogic respect, and everyone is welcome regardless of where they are in their journey towards understanding decentring the human. We are eager to hear how your research concerning this topic has evolved; and is evolving – including the complexity, challenges and uncertainty involved.


The key prompt that will guide the seminar series is: Exploring the challenges and opportunities of decentring the human in qualitative research methodologies employed in educational research. Guest speakers and participants will be encouraged to engage with this prompt in diverse ways, including exploring the challenges and opportunities that decentring the human creates for educational researchers, for those who work with children in educational settings, and for those who support teachers in their work (e.g., those involved in developing policy and legislation, and those in leadership roles).

Each guest speaker will discuss some/or all of the following:

  1. What is decentring the human to you?
  2. What does decentring the human look like in your research?
  3. What are the ethical consequences if the human is no longer privileged in educational research?
  4. What do you see as the challenges and opportunities that decentring the human in educational research creates for:

a. Qualitative research methodologies?

b. Children in educational settings?

c. Those who work with children in educational settings?

d. Those in leadership roles in educational settings?

e. Educational policy and legislation?

Guest speakers may also suggest several readings for seminar attendees to read prior to the seminar, although these are not compulsory reading. These readings will be made available via this webpage for early access and for those who may not be able to attend.


  • Seminars are scheduled monthly and are dependent upon presenters’ availability. Once confirmed, the exact dates and times will be available on this website.
  • Seminars are 1 hour duration including time for questions and discussion from attendees.
  • Registration links for each seminar will added to the webpage throughout the year.
  • With permission from the guest speakers, the seminars will be recorded for those who are unable to attend at the scheduled time and the recording links will be made available on this webpage (AARE members only).

Each seminar will be followed by an online debriefing session the following week. This debriefing session will provide seminar participants with time to discuss the suggested readings, and to share any thoughts and questions that were stimulated by the seminar presentation. The debriefing sessions will employ a range of activities that enable participants to work together to unpack and explore topics and concepts arising from the seminars (e.g., Zoom annotations and breakout rooms).  Everyone who attends the seminar is welcome to attend the debriefing session, but the debriefing sessions may be especially relevant for early career researchers and higher degree research students. The debriefing sessions will NOT be recorded.


If you have any questions about the seminar series, including how to register, and/or need help with accessing the suggested readings, please email Sheena at or Keith at 


Kuby, C. R., & Bozalek, V. (2023). Post philosophies and the doing of inquiry: Webinars and webing sessions become a special issue(s). Qualitative Inquiry, 29(1), 3-6. 

Invited Guest Speakers, Suggested Readings and De-briefing Sessions

Seminar 1 (will be recorded)

Thursday 21st March 2024

7.30pm – 8.30pm AEDT (Australian Eastern Daylight Time) UTC/GMT +11 hours

Associate Professor Luke Bennett
Associate Professor, Department of the Natural & Built Environment Sheffield Hallam University, UK //

Reflections on ‘Thinking like a brick: Posthumanism and building materials’


In my essay contribution to Carol A. Taylor & Christina Hughes’ 2016 edited collection Posthuman Research Practices in Education (Palgrave) I set out to answer the question “How can we know of bricks, blocks and slabs in a posthuman way?” But the process of writing, and responding to that question, led me increasing to an ambivalent position, at least as regards the limits of posthumanism within education. Ultimately, I ended up having to distinguish between a ‘weak’ and a ‘strong’ posthumanism and concluded that only a ‘weak’ (and ‘thing-for-us’ rather than ‘thing-in-itself’) position was possible. My essay ended up a playful (but sincere) foray:  drawing together the theoretical abstractions of transhumanism, object oriented ontology and material culture studies and setting them to work alongside prosaic encounters with building materials (to see what would happen in that encounter). In this session I will share my candid insights into that authorial journey, in doing so disassembling the integrity of my presented text and highlighting some of the ‘paths not taken’, and some of the roadblocks that I stumbled upon along the way, and how I struggled to deal with them. This deconstruction will ultimately deliver upon a positive motive: it will point to pragmatic ways in which a greater attentiveness to our relationships with things is needed and is – through a more openminded (and playful) pedagogy – possible. In doing so it will achieve my essay’s additional aim to “examine how we learn about, and pass on, the materiality of the world around us” – and why that “matters” (in the dual sense attributed to that word by Karen Barad in Meeting the Universe Halfway (2007, Duke University Press).

Brief Biography

Luke Bennett is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of the Natural & Built Environment at Sheffield Hallam University, UK. After a 17 year career as an environmental lawyer, Luke stepped into academia in 2007 to teach law to built environment students. Along the way he gained a PhD by publication (his published outputs being summated under the title ‘Interpretive Communities at work and play in the built environment’). Treating the materiality of the built environment as a negotiated text, across various field studies Luke looked at how – collectively – groups of professionals and lay-actors frame their relationships with places and the matter which composed them (variously urban trees, gravestones, ruined buildings, copper cables) using acquired cultural codings, like liability for accidents and hobby practices. Luke has continued to examine these themes through, academic publications (details here), his leadership of Sheffield Hallam University’s interdisciplinary ‘Space & Place Group’ (whose session recordings are here) and his bloggings about his investigations and ruminations here.


Suggested reading:

Bennett, L. (2016). Thinking like a brick: posthumanism and building materials. In Taylor, C., & Hughes, C. (Eds.) Posthuman Research Practices in Education. (pp. 58-74). Palgrave Macmillian:

Debriefing Session for Seminar 1 (will not be recorded)

Wednesday 27th March 2024

7.00pm – 8.00pm AEDT (Australian Eastern Daylight Time) UTC/GMT +11 hours


Seminar 2 (will be recorded)

Thursday 18th April 2024

7.00pm – 8.00pm AEST UTC/GMT +10 hours

Dr Natalie Thompson
Lecturer in Literacies & Inclusive Education, School of Education, Charles Sturt University, Australia

Decentering the human in literacies research


I began playing with the idea of decentring the human during my doctoral studies as a way of unsettling the taken-for-granted frameworks through which literacies education is usually understood. I was particularly interested in examining how educational research that positions the human at the centre of analysis, might not sufficiently account for the complex, changing, and unpredictable nature of learning within educational settings, as well as the influence of algorithms and artificial intelligence on children’s experiences with literacies. Decentring the human allowed me to challenge the idea that the human is the central point in which agency in literacies originates, and it provided a way of thinking and writing about agency as being distributed between different entities that are discursive, as well as material—human and not. In this presentation I draw on my doctoral research to make two arguments: (1) that decentring the human offers a way of understanding literacies, commonly understood through either a skills or social practice discourse, more fully and in more complex ways; and (2) that decentring the human, particularly within children’s entanglements with emerging technologies in literacy education, disrupts definitions of human in productive ways. I will illustrate these arguments with examples from my research and demonstrate that fixed definitions of what it means to be a literate human are flawed and potentially contribute to the ongoing production of inequality in literacies education.

Brief Biography

Natalie Thompson is a Lecturer in Education in the Faculty of Arts & Education at Charles Sturt University, Albury/Wodonga, Australia. Her teaching and research interests lie in the areas of literacies, inclusive education, and critical pedagogies. She is currently researching and writing about inclusive writing pedagogies, sociomaterial accounts of literacies and the changing nature of teacher education, amid complex and competing educational quandaries.


Suggested reading:

Burnett, C., & Merchant, G. (2018). Literacy-as-event: accounting for relationality in literacy research. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education(April), 1-12.

Debriefing Session for Seminar 2 (will not be recorded)

Wednesday 24th April 2024

7.00pm – 8.00pm AEST UTC/GMT +10 hours


Seminar 3 (will be recorded)

Thursday 16th May 2024

7.00pm – 8.00pm AEST UTC/GMT +10 hours

Dr Gen Blades


Professor Cae Rodrigues

Instagram: @cae.rodrigues

Decentring the human in environmental education research and practice


Environmental education research is grappling with the precarious nature of human’s relationship with Nature that raise significant ethical and political challenges. Decentring the human and centring Nature has both opportunities and challenges in addressing these issues whilst contributing to critical approaches to research and practice. In this session Gen and Cae will share their methodological frameworks: Gen, from her PhD study on walking with/in nature as ecopedagogy and Cae from his research on movementScapes as ecomotricity in ecopedagogy. We have included papers from our research in the pre-reading list along with Paul James’s paper on decentring the human without being posthuman. In sharing our research, we will address the question of how can the methodologies we are using/proposing overcome some of the problems within decentring in research and practice in environmental education? In doing so, we will canvas some of the questions posed in this seminar series:

  1. What is decentring the human to you?
  2. What does decentring the human look like in your research?
  3. What do you see as the challenges and opportunities that decentring the human in educational research creates for:

a. Qualitative research methodologies?
b. Those who work with children/tertiary students in educational settings?

Time will be given for participants to ask questions and share ideas, thoughts, and reflections.

Brief Biography

Gen Blades is currently an independent scholar living on Dja Dja Wurrung Country, Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia. She has been involved in outdoor and environmental education in schools and the tertiary sector, the past fifteen years lecturing at La Trobe University. Her areas of interest, both research and teaching, include environmental values and ethics, environmental eco-pedagogies and sustainability education.

Cae Rodrigues is a Professor and researcher at the Faculty of Physical Education and at the Graduate Program in Development and Environment-PRODEMA (Masters and PhD Programs) of the Federal University of Sergipe, Brazil. His PhD in Education from the Federal University of São Carlos (Brazil), and partly undertaken at Monash University (Australia), aimed on a better understanding of the synergies between human motricity (phenomenology of movement) and environmental education focusing on the environmentalization (or greening) of the physical education curriculum in higher education settings. From this research he developed the conceptual, methodological, and ecopedagogical scopes of ecomotricity, largely focused on decentering the human in environmental education research and practice. Cae has been hosted as an Honorary Visiting Researcher at La Trobe University (Australia, 2018), at the University of the Sunshine Coast (Australia, 2019), and at the University of Lille (France, 2023). He is currently the Editor of Special Editions for The Journal of Environmental Education.


Suggested reading

James, P. (2017). Alternative paradigms for sustainability: Decentring the human without being posthuman. In K. Malone, S. Truong & T. Gray (Eds.), Reimagining sustainability in precarious times (pp. 29-44). Singapore: Springer.  

Cae Rodrigues (2018) MovementScapes as ecomotricity in ecopedagogy, The Journal of Environmental Education, 49:2, 88-102, DOI: 10.1080/00958964.2017.1417222

Genevieve Blades (26 Jan 2024): WalkingScapes as ecopedagogy, The Journal of Environmental Education, DOI: 10.1080/00958964.2024.2305383

Debriefing Session for Seminar 3 (will not be recorded)

Thursday 23rd May 2024

7.00pm – 8.00pm AEST UTC/GMT +10 hours


Seminar 4 (will be recorded)

Thursday 20th June 2024

7.00pm – 8.00pm AEST UTC/GMT +10 hours

Dr Susanne Pratt


Arts-based approaches for decentring the human in transdisciplinary education research and practice

In this session we will explore arts-based approaches for centring Nature and more-than-human relations in education research and practice. Taking inspiration from the provocation in this series “what is decentring the human to you?” I will reflect on my personal transdisciplinary experience in conducting arts-based research and relationships to educational research and public pedagogies. Drawing on feminist methodologies and orientations from different fields, including new materialism, STS and feminist environmental humanities I discuss the ways in which arts-based approaches can decentre human exceptionalism, and support “arts-of noticing” (Tsing, 2015). Through arts of noticing and learning with other species, we can learn to attune to different rhythms, times, relations and ecologies. I will discuss different forms of attunement, in relation to my own arts-based educational research including through the creation of speculative field guides, sound installations, art performances, collaborative found poetry and other arts-based events. In the session I will explore:

  • What are arts-based methods for decentring the human in educational research and practice?
  • Why engage with arts-based methods and methodologies?
  • How are arts-based approaches being used in qualitative educational research (case studies / examples)?
  • Drawing on feminist new materialism, post-humanism, Science Technology Studies(STS), environmental humanities and multispecies studies - what theories and orientations support decentring the human through arts-based approaches?
  • What are the ethical dimensions, and politics of care, within arts-based approaches to multispecies flourishing in educational research?
  • What frameworks can be used for evaluating arts-based approaches?

During the session there will time for participants to share reflections, ideas, experiences with arts-based approaches, and ask questions.

Brief Biography

Susanne Pratt is an award-winning educator, researcher and artist working at the intersection of foresight, ecological change, creativity and transformative learning. She is a senior lecturer in TD School (Transdisciplinary School) at UTS and completed her PhD at UNSW in environmental humanities. Her recent research explores participatory futuring to inspire environmental and social change in the present. At UTS she co-founded the xFutures Lab, the lab is an initiative that catalyses and consolidates futures-oriented research, teaching, and creative practice across different disciplines, sectors and communities. Her creative work has been internationally exhibited in various forms, including digital storytelling, site-specific installations, speculative walk-shops, sound works, and participatory events.


Suggested readings
Speculative Harbouring: Wading into Critical Pedagogy and Practices of Care
Susanne Pratt and Kate Johnston
Superflux More-than-Human manifesto

Debriefing Session for Seminar 4 (will not be recorded)

Thursday 27th June 2024
7.00pm – 8.00pm AEST UTC/GMT +10 hours

Zoom link


Seminar 5 (will be recorded)

Thursday 18th July 2024
7.00pm – 8.00pm AEST UTC/GMT +10 hours

Dr Jessie A. Bustillos Morales
Senior Lecturer in Education
Re-imagining Learning Communities Research Group Lead
Course Leader PGCert APA
School of Law and Social Sciences / Education Department
London South Bank University | 103 Borough Road, London, SE1 0AA
LSBU Profile Twitter/X: @jessiejwl

Decentering the linearity of qualitative interviews through a rhizomatic approach

Drawing on the philosophy of Deleuze and Bergson, this talk discusses the notion of Rhizomatic Interviews which were used during an ethnographic study of young people in a secondary school in South London, UK. The talk centres on the key prompt for this seminar series: Exploring the challenges and opportunities of decentring the human in qualitative research methodologies employed in educational research.

The talk proposes that Rhizomatic Interviews can help decentre the ways in which human experience is conceptualised in the traditional qualitative interview as sequential, linear and rational. Rhizomatic Interviews resulted in a series of opportunities that decentred the ways in which youth media engagements are understood in an educational setting.

The techniques focus on capturing the socio-material offline and online experiences of British schooling and the interviews highlighted areas such as, the school curriculum, educational transitions, and youth online learning. Drawing out different facets of duration (what can be called ‘dura-rhythms’, or different modes of time) I present how the rhizome and Bergson’s ‘duree reelle’ (‘real duration’) (2007, p. 32) refer to the exploration of lived experiences during interviews as they happen in flow. I also use Deleuze and Guattari’s (2013, p. 9-12) notion of rhizome as ‘a map not a tracing… The map is entirely oriented toward experimentation in contact with the real… A rhizome may be broken, shattered at a given spot, but it will start up again on one of its old lines… Perhaps one of the most important characteristics of the rhizome is that it always has multiple entryways’.

So, the rhizomatic qualitative interview emerges out of the need for more openness and experimentation in the process of interviewing, allowing participants to pursue their own lines of flight, whilst interviewers navigate the uneasiness of unanticipated interactions.

Brief Biography

Jessie Bustillos is a Senior Lecturer in Education in the School of Law and Social Sciences at London South Bank University. Jessie has worked in academia for over 12 years and gained her PhD from University College London in 2020. Her teaching and research interests lie at the intersections of critical pedagogies, youth studies, and creative methodologies. Her scholarship illustrates how education is a transdisciplinary field which borrows from philosophy, sociology, history, and psychology amongst other disciplines. Her recent publications include a book titled, Towards Posthumanism in Education: Theoretical Entanglements and Pedagogical Mappings, published by Routledge and co-edited with Shiva Zarabadi.


Debriefing Session for Seminar 5 (will not be recorded)

Thursday 25th July 2024
7.00pm – 8.00pm AEST UTC/GMT +10 hours

Zoom link


Seminar 6 (will be recorded)

Thursday 26th September 2024
7.00pm – 8.00pm AEST UTC/GMT +10 hours

Associate Professor Mona Sakr
Middlesex University, The Burroughs, London, NW4 4BT, @DrMonaSakr

Title to be advised

Abstract to be advised

Brief Biography
Mona Sakr is an Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education at Middlesex University. Her research explores babyhood and childhood from a postdevelopmental perspective, as well as the policy landscape of early childhood education. Her recent publications includes the co-edited book Postdevelopmental Approaches to Pedagogical Observation in Childhood, and she is co-editor of the book series Postdevelopmental Approaches to Childhood.


Debriefing Session for Seminar 6 (will not be recorded)

Thursday 3rd October 2024
7.00pm – 8.00pm AEST UTC/GMT +10 hours

Zoom link