Reimagining childhood and youth: University of Sydney Network for Childhood and Youth Research Seminar

Anna Hickey-Moody and
Valerie Harwood

Tuesday 13th September,
Room 436, Building A35,
Faculty of Education & Social Work,
University of Sydney

Youth arts, pedagogy and affect
Anna Hickey-Moody
In this presentation I offer an overview of my forthcoming book Youth, Arts and Education, in which I advance a theory of arts education. When a young person creates and displays a work of art they make a political statement, call a public to attention and invest in particular ideas about identity, community and belonging. More than this, youth arts communities and representations of these communities are media that imagine different figures of youth. These media teach diverse audiences distinctive ideas about young people. In exploring these propositions, Youth, Arts and Education unpacks some ways in which gender and race are constructed through genre and traces different figures of ‘marginalized youth’ created by small and large scale youth arts works and popular cultural representations of such works. In different ways across the various chapters, the book advances the following lines of argument: Youth arts practices are both popular and public pedagogies. That is, they are popular pedagogies, ways in which young people enjoy learning about and producing their identity in the same way they might learn about racial politics from a Hollywood movie. Youth arts are public pedagogies: they make publics and teach specific ideas about young people to these audiences. They are a means of giving social visibility to dominant ideas of marginalized young people and, as such, there are specific figures of such youth made and popularized by these practices. Genre is a form of pedagogy, teaching gender and race in ways that hold great power. Last, but by no means least, while youth arts practices, and popular cultural representations of these practices, generally re-produce stereotypical ideas about socially marginalized youth, they also have the capacity to create new figures of such young people and to re-work community sentiments surrounding youth. This work of political transformation is precious. I call it affective pedagogy.

Interrupting the psychopathologisation of children
Valerie Harwood
In this paper I will be discussing research conducted in Scotland with my colleague, Professor Julia Allan (University of Stirling). Our work with child and youth health and education professionals began with questions about poverty and the medicalisation of child behaviour. What we came to learn surprised us: professionals were working in ways that did not always ‘follow the flows’ to diagnosis. Rather, they discussed the ways in which they sought to interrupt flows. What especially caught our attention were the ways that professionals sought to both work against prevailing pressures to medicalise and to acknowledge the child in social and cultural context. I will outline how this prompts a reconsideration of educational practices that marginalise social and cultural considerations in favour of practices that all to easily (and swiftly) psychopathologise children and young people.

Anna Hickey-Moody is a lecturer in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney, where she teaches on masculinity and youth cultures. Her research brings innovative theoretical and methodological approaches to long standing issues of social marginalization and disadvantage. She is co-author of Masculinity beyond the metropolis (Palgrave 2006), co-editor of Deleuzian encounters; Studies in contemporary social issues (Palgrave 2007) and author of Unimaginable bodies: Intellectual disability,
performance and becomings
(Sense, 2009). Anna is currently working on a book contracted to Routledge titled Youth, arts and education.

Valerie Harwood is a Senior Lecturer in Foundations of Education at the University of Wollongong. Her research interests include the production of knowledge on child and youth psychopathology, critical disability studies, youth exclusion and practices of medicalization in schools. Her work is engaged in the critical examination of child and youth psychiatric disorders such as ADHD, depression, behaviour disorders, and the associated diagnostic practices as they impact in education. She is collaborating on an international comparative project (Australia, UK, New Zealand) to investigate the influence of the obesity epidemic in schools.

We hope you will join us for the presentations followed by discussion and refreshments.


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