Griffith University’s School of Education and Professional Studies (EPS) and Griffith Institute for Educational Research (GIER) annual research conference “Research in 2021 and Beyond” was held at the Ship Inn, South Bank. The conference highlights can be seen in the video below.

Around 40 EPS and GIER researchers attended the conference in person, with another 10 participating virtually. The conference was organised by the EPS Research Committee, led by Dr Tasha Riley

The day provided an opportunity for education researchers to come together to share the ways they have ‘survived’ and ‘thrived’ in 2020, despite rapid change and recent challenges. Dr Riley said,

“Many of us have missed our ‘communities in the corridors’. This conference has provided us with the opportunity to not only catch up and learn about the meaningful research we are all doing, but also to learn more about what has happened in each other’s lives that has managed to influence and inspire the way we each do research that supports and advocates for better educational outcomes.”

The conference commenced with a moving acknowledgement of country, by Mr Troy Meston, a Gamilleroi lecturer, who respectfully honoured the traditional custodians of the land.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Carolyn Evans officially opened the conference. Both Professor Evans and Professor Gerry Docherty, the Arts, Education and Law Faculty Dean (Research), acknowledged the achievements of many education researchers who have been awarded prestigious Australian Research Council (ARC) grants in 2020.

Research funding was awarded to Professor Peter Grootenboer (‘Improving middle leading practices in schools to enhance student learning’, $372,433), Dr Glenda Mc Gregor and Dr Aspa Baroutsis (‘Supporting teachers and teaching in flexible and non-traditional schools’, $154,060). Additionally, Professor Sarojni Choy, Dr Greg Vass, and Dr Michelle Newman were on successful ARC grants led by other universities.

Professor Leonie Rowan, EPS Deputy Head (Research), said, this type of ARC success is only possible when there is “genuine access to inclusive, respectful, opportunities” available for researchers, particularly during challenging times, that may demand focused attention to keep safe and well.

Professor Brydie-Leigh Bartleet, the Director of the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre, delivered the keynote address sharing insights into how the arts and music can support understanding complex research issues through a different lens.

Dr Riley said, Professor Bartleet’s keynote,

“Reinforced the need for greater support for collaborative research between academic institutions and the communities they serve as necessary, and essential to bridge the divide between theory and practice.”

During the conference, approximately 20 teams of researchers presented their research through face to face and online presentations and workshops. Research included projects about 3D virtual worlds, digital books, gifted students, nature, stress, environment, COVID experiences, methodology and theory, autism, literacy, parent engagement, Indigenous education, lifelong learning, and the student experience. In the information session for researchers, our library experts shared tips on data sources, tools for education and research metrics to support grant application.

Professors Donna Pendergast and Stephen Billett closed the conference, by highlighting current horizons.

Professor Pendergast said, this year

“We’re seeing a complete disruption. We’ve heard that word, ‘disruption’, many times this year. But this is a disruption like we’ve never seen before. There are things here for us to do as education researchers. These shifts are going to keep happening rapidly in the future. Our role as education researchers is to open the possibilities for everyone to be in this space.  I’m inspired. I’m optimistic.”

Watch highlights from the conference: