An exhibition that showcases and celebrates the “depth and breadth” of educational research at the University of Waikato featured 26 artworks created by academic staff and PhD students from the Division of Education.
Researchers were asked to submit one original image, a title and 150 words that captured their research, or an element of their research. Images could include a photo, drawing, multimedia illustration or digital artwork.
Professor Bronwen Cowie, Associate Dean Research in the Division of Education says the exhibition represents the diversity of research taking place in the School of Education at Waikato.
“Our research is taking place in a range of contexts, across the life course, using a range of research approaches and theoretical frameworks to gain insight into people's experiences,” says Professor Cowie.
Included in the exhibition is PhD student Wendy Hallett, who took a photo of Beads of Courage, a symbol of a child's courageous journey through cancer treatment. Her master’s research is focused on supporting children with cancer to successfully transition back to school, and includes both student and professional perspectives.
Another is PhD student Julie Hest, whose image juxtaposes traditional and modern learning environments (MLE), and the differences in the architecture, technologies, and teaching and learning practices in the two settings. For her research she explored the daily operation of MLE by collecting the voices of principals, teachers and students in four New Zealand secondary schools.
Dr Melissa Derby, a senior lecturer teaching early literacy and human development, chose a photograph of herself and a young child conversing over storybooks. The image was taken during her doctoral research on literacy development with bilingual (English and te reo Māori) preschool children.
Associate Professor Chris Eames submitted a photograph of school students snorkelling at Goat Island Marine Reserve near Leigh to represent a recent research project. The project explored the use of mobile technologies in outdoor environments to develop students’ marine ecological literacy.
The inspiration for the inaugural Images of Research exhibition came from other similar overseas examples, and a desire to showcase research in new and exciting ways.
“It was an opportunity to share and promote our research in a more creative way,” says Professor Cowie. “It was a way to learn more about the work of our colleagues, and to share that more widely. We are proud that a lot of our research is collaborative or in partnership with others.”
A small launch event, held at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts on March 31, was followed by an online Zoom launch event on April 7.
Professor Cowie hopes the exhibition will become an annual event which may also include other faculties and divisions at the University. The 2022 event was put together by a small team including Dr Diana Amundsen, Dr Laura Gurney, Professor Cowie and PhD students Yu Yuan and Devika Rathore.
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