Past events: details from our 2022 conference

Public Pedagogies Institute Conference
November 24 -25, 2022, Melbourne, Australia

Victoria University Polytechnic, Footscray Nicholson Campus
238A Nicholson Street, Footscray

Download the conference program here

Read available abstracts here

This is a hybrid event and Zoom links will be made available for all sessions (with the exception of Aseel Tayah’s presentation on day two).

Conference Theme

The Public Pedagogies Institute 2022 conference theme is Sometimes Connect.  The intent of this theme is to explore alliances that afford change.  At present there is an ever present necessity to consider how ‘we’ can work together toward mutual issues of concern. The Institute recognises the urgency for change that is increasingly stymied in prevailing dominant institutions.

This conference extends the call raised by Burdick and Sandlin (Journal of Public Pedagogies 2021, p.18) “Anker and Felski (2017) state, “[r]ethinking critique can . . . forge stronger links between intellectual life and the nonacademic world. Such links are not simply a matter of capitulation or collusion but can offer a vital means of influencing larger conversations and intervening in institutional policies and structures” (p. 19). This collaboration, employing what Latour (2004) calls an emphasis on “matters of concern [. . .] whose import then will no longer be to debunk, but to protect and to care” (p. 232) might abandon the wages, antagonistic nature, and insular interests of academic critique towards a pedagogy of care. Similarly, Charman and Dixon (Theory and Methods of Public Pedagogies Research, 2021) argue that within the public realm there is the circulation of knowledge and authority made manifest in the educative agent. The educative agent is the public pedagogue. “We do not see public pedagogy as necessarily being about a particular kind of political agency as the very act of knowledge circulation out-side of the bounded discursive power of claimed institutional knowledge is itself broadly speaking political (Charman and Dixon p.34, 2021). Max Liboiron writes “there can be solidarity without a We. There must be solidarity without a universal We. The absence of We and the acknowledgement of many we’s (including those to which you/I/we do not belong) is imperative for good relations in solidarity against ongoing colonialism and allows cooperation’ with the incommensurabilities of different worlds, values and obligations” (Liboiron, Max. 2021. Pollution Is Colonialism. Durham: Duke University Press pp. 24-25).

Extending these prompts this conference seeks to explore what constitutes connection, how can alliances be built, what are the affordances for social change and what are moments of discord.

For enquiries about the conference or participating please contact

Keynote Speaker

This event will be a feature of Day One of the conference.

Marnie Badham, artist-researcher

With a 25-year history of art and justice practice in both Canada and Australia, Marnie’s research sits at the intersection of socially engaged art practice, participatory methodologies, and the politics of cultural measurement. Through aesthetic and dialogic forms of encounter and exchange, Marnie’s collaborative social practices bring together disparate groups of people (artists, communities, industry, local government) in dialogue to examine and affect local issues.

Her recent collaborations include a participatory public performance following extreme weather events in the Dandenong Ranges; public art commissioning development on Wurundjeri and Bunurong Country with Vicki Couzens; expanded curation projects on food-art-politics; and a series of creative cartographies registering emotion in public space in the Yarra Ranges (AUS), Kamloops (CAN), and Cape Breton Island (CAN). Her book The Social Life of Artist Residencies: connecting with people and place not your own is soon to be released.

Marnie is a Chief Investigator on the Australian Research Council Linkage Project Ambitious and Fair: towards a sustainable visual arts sector and contributes to industry standards on public art commissioning, artist residencies, and arts funding. She is Senior Lecturer at the School of Art, RMIT University.

Marnie Badham

Aseel Tayah

This event will be a feature of Day Two of the conference.

Aseel Tayah is a Melbourne-based Palestinian artist, creative director, and cultural leader who uses her practice to advocate for artists of colour, mothers, children, and young people, changing the world, one project at a time. She has recently been described as “an unstoppable force in the Australian cultural landscape.”

Through the power of storytelling, Aseel’s artistic practice creates awareness and facilitates connection by humanising the experiences of people who have been displaced.
As such, her work is embedded in the community and is often highly responsive to current issues. 

During Refugee Week 2020, Aseel curated produced, and presented a series of live online discussion panels featuring national and international artists and cultural leaders. The series attracted more than 40,000 views and led to an invitation to participate in the inaugural TEDx Melbourne PluggedIn event where she was awarded Best Speaker.

As a creative director and installation artist, Aseel has a wide range of experience; international highlights include We Too Want To Play, the establishment of Palestine’s first network of toy libraries and Fingerprint of an Arab Girl, an annual event showcasing the talents and achievements of girls living under occupation.

In Australia, collaborations include unique intercultural experiences such as Lullabies under the Stars, an Arabic/First Nations work for children, and the participatory installation Bukjeh, exploring stories of home and being forced to leave it. Aseel exemplifies the use of art and creativity to achieve social justice and is renowned for her kindness, optimism, and generosity. She also has an incredible singing voice which she uses to connect hearts and harvest hope.

Aseel Tayah

2021 Conference

Information from our 2021 conference is available below

View full program

Week 1

Friday October 8, 10.30 am-12.30 pm

Public Space, Spontaneous Memorials and ‘Everyday’ Cultures of Grief During Covid-19
Deborah Madden

An Exploration of the Politics of Public Statues –their Installation, Denigration and Destruction
Debbie Qadri


Week 2

Friday October 15, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm

Playspaces in public places: The ethical and social challenges of a pop up urban playspace in Melbourne, Australia
Mary-Rose McLaren and colleagues

Publicness and pages: co-publishing with children then and now
Victoria Ryle and Simon Spain


Week 3

Friday October 22, 10.30 am -12.30 pm

Private Life is Public Business
Jaye Early

The Ephemeral Public
Karen Charman and Mary Dixon


Week 4

Friday October 29, 10.30 am-12.30 pm

The Mid-Apocalypse of Mass Incarceration: Conceptualizing new Publics by Generating Pedagogies of Publicness
Janelle Grant

Local publics and community-determined action
Helen Rodd


Week 5

Friday, November 5, 10:30am -12:30pm

Forms for Encounter and Exchange: towards a reparative approach to social aesthetics
Kelly Hussey–Smith and Marnie Badham, School of Art, RMIT University accompanied by students and community partners


Week 6

Friday, November 12, 10:30am -12:30pm

Plenary session
Bronwyn Sutton and Debbie Qadri

Journal of Public Pedagogies—Launch
Guest Editors: Jennifer Sandlin and Jake Burdick


2020 Conference

Some video recordings of presentations from our 2020 conference are available to view below

Public Pedagogies Institute 2020 Conference 

Seminar 2 – October 8, 2020
Visual Considerations and Contemplations
Presented by 


Seminar 3 – October 15, 2020
Narrative Panoramas: surfacing tacit knowledge through material translation and co-analysis of lived experience
Presented by Kelly Anderson


Seminar 4 – October 22, 2020
The Educative Agent and Authority in Public Pedagogy
Karen Charman and Mary Dixon


Seminar 6 – November 5, 2020
Locations of Law or non Law by Peter Alsen 

Download Program

Seminar Schedule:

Each session will take place on a Thursday from 10.30am-12.30pm (AEST). The sessions will be run over Zoom

Week 1 – October 1, 10.30am-12.30pm 
Learning about Location in a Climate of Change
Bronwyn Sutton & Climate Change Education Network

Week 2 – October 8, 10.30am-12.30pm 
Visual Considerations and Contemplations
Belinda MacGill

Week 3 – October 15, 10.30am-12.30pm  
Narrative Panoramas: surfacing tacit knowledge through material translation and co-analysis of lived experience
Kelly Anderson

Week 4 – October 22, 10.30am-12.30pm 
The Educative Agent and Authority in Public Pedagogy
Karen Charman and Mary Dixon

Week 5 – October 29, 10.30am-12.30pm 
Gathering Ground: Building translocal place pedagogies through online/offline workshops
Kelly-Lee Hickey

Week 6 – November 5, 10.30am-12.30pm 
Locations of Law or non Law
Peter Alsen

Week 7 – November 12, 10.30am-12.30pm 
Plenary Session

Download Program

The Public Pedagogies Institute is hosting a series of online seminars in place of our regular yearly conference. We are excited by the response to our call out for presentations addressing the theme of Public Pedagogies of Location. 

Initially a response to the bush fires in Australia, this theme has taken on added meaning in light of our lived experience of COVID 19.  As a result of the virus we are faced with our location. This can be understood in many different ways: our immediate physical surrounds, our neighbourhood, our digital world, our countries.  We are all positioned in a space where the possibilities of what is to come are yet to be revealed. This seminar series will engage with Public Pedagogies of Location in ways that stimulate reflection, intellectually challenge us but importantly connect us.

As the smoke from the country fires permeated the city a renewed relationship arises out of the ashes. The borders between public and personal, nature and creation, became obscured, perhaps showing ideological relationships to location that are fluid. 

In what ways might relationships to location be pedagogical? Location is critical for a number of reasons. Locations are ignored or privileged; they are positioned against each other, yet we claim our location and location claims us. Locations of protest are contested and behaviour monitored. The ecologies of location are fragile and in need of care, or perhaps attentiveness to these ecologies are strengthening?

For enquiries regarding the conference please contact:

Click here to register

2019 Conference

Walking and Talking Public Pedagogies
November 28 – 29, 2019
Footscray, Melbourne

The annual Public Pedagogies Institute conference features a range of presentations, performances, forums and workshops across the diverse field of public pedagogies.

2019 Conference program available to view here

2019 Abstracts available to view here

The conference will also include the launch of the special issue of the Journal of Public Pedagogies guest edited by WalkingLab

What are Public Pedagogies?

We understand public pedagogies to incorporate the many sites in which teaching and learning occurs in the community or outside formal institutions. These may include museums, libraries, neighbourhood houses, community centres, public spaces, as well as through the arts, community engagement, media and more.

Walking and Talking Public Pedagogies

This conference is interested in how thinking is disrupted and re-imagined through the act of walking. What are the possibilities that open up when we are in the realm of streets, parks, river banks or transport hubs? As we walk through our suburbs or our towns do these spaces impact on our thinking in generative ways? Do they entail pedagogical moments and how might these be defined? Together with walking this conference is also about talking. This is the International Year of Indigenous Languages. What do languages enable? For the Public Pedagogies Institute, we ask what are the affordances and constraints of Indigenous languages in public places. How does the use of these languages effect an understanding of place and the public?

Keynote Speakers:

Stephanie Springgay

Stephanie Springgay is an Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning at the University of Toronto. She is a leading scholar in research-creation methodologies with a focus on walking, affect, new materialisms and posthumanisms, queer theory, and contemporary art as pedagogy. Her most recent research-creation projects are documented at, and She has published widely in academic journals and is the co-author of the book Walking Methodologies in More-than-Human World: Walkinglab Routledge (2018), with Sarah E. Truman; co-editor of M/othering a Bodied Curriculum: Emplacement, Desire, Affect, University of Toronto Press, with Debra Freedman; co-editor of Curriculum and the Cultural Body, Peter Lang with Debra Freedman; and author of Body Knowledge and Curriculum: Pedagogies of Touch in Youth and Visual Culture, Peter Lang.

Tony Birch

Tony Birch is a renowned academic, author, educator and researcher. In 2015, Dr Birch joined VU as the first recipient of the University’s Dr Bruce McGuinness Indigenous Research Fellowship. His research interests centre on climate change and indigenous knowledge systems. His highly acclaimed novels include Shadowboxing (2006),  Father’s Day (2009),  Blood (2011),  The Promise (2014), Ghost River (2015) and most recently, The White Girl (2019). In 2017 he was awarded the Patrick White Literary Award for his contribution to contemporary Australian literature.


Wednesday 27th November 2019,  11 am – 12 pm,
Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne

Whau Conversations: Hikoi – a walking workshop with artists from Aotearoa/New Zealand in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne.

Whau Conversations: Hikoi will consist of a collective walk with artists from Aotearoa/New Zealand presenting to and exchanging insights and reflections with participants in relation to the surrounding site they encounter during that walk. The walking event will take place in the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria (Melbourne), and focus on the New Zealand section of the gardens, where whau trees endemic to Aotearoa can be seen to grow almost like ‘weeds’ to some. The walk attempts to offer playful reflections alongside political and cultural responses to the artists’ and their participants’ current and former acts of collective walking. More than simply walking, the tactic of engaging in a hikoi will be explored. To hikoi in te reo Māori (the Māori language) is widely considered to walk with a purpose, from educational contexts, to social activities, to art practices, protest campaigns and other contexts. For all of us in this walk we also intend to metaphorically ‘walk backwards into the future’, which is a play on the common Māori proverb ‘ka mua, ka muri’ (walking backwards into the future). This is where while facing forwards in our hikoi, we walk with our tupuna (our ancestors) and our histories who are before us and in facing them and these things through our korero (discussions). We aim to develop new understandings and questions around them in relation to the site in which we are walking in.

Artists walking, presenting and sharing will include Carol Brown (VCA, The University of Melbourne), Christina Houghton (AUT), Alexandra Bonham, Saskia Schut (UTS), Kathy Waghorn (The University of Auckland), Mark Harvey (Mata Waka iwi, The University of Auckland) and guests. 

Hikoi conveners: Kathy Waghorn (The University of Auckland) and Mark Harvey (Mata Waka iwi, the University of Auckland)

This walk will also have a follow up paper session during the conference – details will be available in the conference program.


Conference location:

Updates are also be available on twitter and facebook.

For any further enquiries please get in touch via our contact page.

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