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Where the Passion Begins

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Catherine Hamm


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Jeanne Marie Iorio


Dr Catherine Hamm is a settler to the Kulin Nation and a senior lecturer at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. Catherine's teaching, post-qualitative research and writing foreground First Nations worldviews and engage with critical perspectives of early childhood studies, philosophies, pedagogies and curriculum.

Catherine's work activates her committment to respectfully foreground First Nations worldviews in early childhood studies. Her research project " Out and About" with Associate Professor Jeanne Marie Iorio (The University of Melbourne)- seeks to generate and document innovative pedagogies that support children, teachers and communities to build ongoing relationships with their local places and multispecies communities. Catherine is also a member of the Global Childhoods research hub, the First Nations in Education research hub, and the Common Worlds Research Collective.

Associate Professor Jeanne Marie Iorio’s research, teaching, and writing focuses on disrupting and rethinking accepted educational practices in early childhood and higher education. This work includes rethinking quality as meaning-making; children’s relations with Place, more-than-human and materials; pedagogical documentation and research methods; and pedagogies originating from the municipal infant-toddler centres and preschools in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Her research has been published in multiple journals and texts. She co-edits a book series Rethinking Higher Education and Qualitative Research Journal.

As a non-Indigenous, white, settler woman, I co-lead Out and About/Learning with Placewith Dr Catherine Hamm. This research takes place on the Lands of the Wurundjeri, Boonwurrung, Bunurong, and Wadawurrung Peoples. This research aims to generate environmental education practices in early childhood and primary classrooms and local communities to address environmental change and ecological precarity. This project is underpinned by the innovative Learning with Place framework (Hamm & Iorio, 2019; Iorio & Hamm, 2021) which sees the environment as an active place. Place, in this sense, is inclusive of local First Nations knowledges and stories, histories and the more-than-human (for example, landforms, waterways, animals, insects, flora, fauna). Through Learning with Place, deep relationships with the environment are fostered and inform actions and decision-making responsive to the current state of the environment. These practices will be accessible to all members of communities, offering multiple ways for communities to make an impact on conversation and climate change.

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