Common Worlding and Pedagogical Documentation

In situating this multispecies ethnography within a common worlds framework (Pacini-Ketchabaw, Taylor, & Blaise, 2016; Taylor, 2013, 2017; Taylor & Giugni, 2012; Taylor & Pacini-Ketchabaw, 2019), we recognise that nature and culture, humans and nonhumans are not separate. Rather, they are infinitely interconnected in a constant state of intra action (Barad, 2007) whereby they simultaneously affect and are affected by each other.  Common worlds “are always already full of inherited messy connections [and] entangled and uneven historical and geographical relations, political tensions, ethical dilemmas and unending possibilities” (Taylor, 2013, p. 62). Thus children, nature, thrombolites, water, politics, trees, histories, are all inextricably entangled. Furthermore, common worlds relations are constantly being made and remade in an ongoing process of progressive composition (Latour, 2004).

The messy, entangled deep time ecology of the Lake Clifton thrombolites including non/human infrastructure that facilitates visitors and residents – human, insect, arachnid and avian. Looking west towards the present coastline of the Indian Ocean, behind intercoastal dunes with pockets of tuart woodlands and coastal heathlands. Rusty freshwater springs seeping through tangled rushes (waagal’s whiskers) and samphire to lake foreshore and thrombolites and the boardwalk across shallow salty water. Remnant fenceposts, cut from local timber, recall a settler past. 

In following common world relations, we draw from the multimodal and multiperspectival strategies of “pedagogical documentation”, the systematic way of researching with children used in the educational project in the city of Reggio Emilia in Italy (Fleet, Patterson, & Robertson, 2017; Giudici, Rinaldi, & Krechevsky, 2001).

Pedagogical documentation uses an array of strategies, for example: conversation, drawing, playing, making, pretending, photographing, experimenting. Similar to the French do-it-yourself artisan, the bricoleur, these strategies allow us to use what is on hand and available at the time, enabling us to trace unfolding common world relations as they emerge.


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Latour, B. (2004). Politics of nature: How to bring the sciences into democracy (C. Porter, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Pacini-Ketchabaw, V., Taylor, A., & Blaise, M. (2016). Decentring the human in multispecies ethnographies. In C. A. Taylor & C. Hughes (Eds.), Posthuman research practices in education.(pp. 149-167). London: Palgrave Macmillan.
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Taylor, A. (2017). Beyond stewardship: Common world pedagogies for the Anthropocene. Environmental Education Research, 23(10), 1448-1461. doi:10.1080/13504622.2017.1325452
Taylor, A., & Giugni, M. (2012). Common worlds: Reconceptualising inclusion in early childhood communities. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 13(2), 108-119. doi:10.2304/ciec.2012.13.2.108
Taylor, A., & Pacini-Ketchabaw, V. (2019). The common worlds of children and animals: Relational ethics for entangled lives. London: Routledge.