Thinking-with Bark: Activating a postdevelopmental logic in early childhood education

Thinking-with Bark: Activating a postdevelopmental logic in early childhood education

Mindy Blaise, Professor, Early Childhood Education, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia

15:30 – 17:00, 19th April 2018

B3-LP-04, Tai Po Campus EdUHK


This paper sets out to challenge the developmental logic that works hard to tame, simplify, and control young children’s learning. As a challenge to this kind of logic, I have been conducting a long term multisensory and affect-focused inquiry of children’s relations with place. Weekly I go walking with a group of children and their teachers to Stony Creek, located on the lands of the Kulin Nations people in Melbourne, Australia. By paying attention to children’s relations with Eucalyptus trees, we created the Bark Studio as a place for experimentations and provocations.


In the Bark Studio we have been wondering about bark movements and ask, “How does movement let knowing happen?” We are intrigued with this question because it challenges the idea that knowing presupposes what is to be known, or that knowing presupposes the subject.

By thinking with movement, movements of thought, and bark materiality, I show how bark movements put into motion the relational potential of the bark. Several encounters with bark, wind, and water will be explored. I will explore how teachers and young children are putting thinking into movement and movement into thinking and how this makes room for relational complexity. I argue that relational complexity activates a postdevelopmental logic that unleashes, complicates, and opens-up learning in early childhood education.


Professor Mindy Blaise’s interdisciplinary research involves bringing together the environmental humanities and early childhood education to generate postdevelopmental pedagogies for the Anthropocene. She provokes teachers to challenge human exceptionalism and ‘make room for the more’ to generate ethico-political practices for living well together in these uncertain times.


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