Abstract chaotic background. Image courtesy of Getty Images

Plymouth Institute of Education's Posthuman Research Group is an interdisciplinary group with the purpose of developing knowledge in the field of posthumanism.  

The group comprises world-leading researchers including Dr Ken Gale, Professor Jocey Quinn and Dr Joanna Haynes. It also supports early-career researchers, such as Dr Marie Lavelle, to develop posthuman approaches.

Our posthuman researchers have published widely and won external research grants. We network internationally and supervise many doctoral students using innovative posthuman methodologies.

Since 2018, Jocey Quinn and Joanna Haynes have run a very successful interdisciplinary programme, ‘Adventures in Posthumanism’, including reading groups, workshops, book launches and conferences. The programme is open to University of Plymouth staff and students, as well as those from other universities.

Adventures in Posthumanism: Programme 2022-2023

11 January 2023 | Line Mastad, University of Agder, Norway

Online event
About Line Mastad
I am a qualified teacher for pupils from 6 -16 years. My teacher degree content qualifications general subjects and music. I have a master’s degree in arts and crafts didactics, writing my theses on A narrative path to the formation of meaningful content in knitted contemporary art. I am an autodidactic artist and have participated in peer-juried exhibitions. I have been teaching for several years in primary school and for the past four years, I have worked as an Assistant Professor in Education at University of Agder, Norway. I give lectures to student teachers and part of my teaching includes aesthetic learning processes.
I use knitting as my artistic expression, and the use of the craft tradition brings a narrative meaning into the artwork together with other symbols from our spaces of common cultural symbol systems. One of the characteristics of contemporary art, is that the big stories related to mythology and religion are replaced with other “big stories” related to social conditions. Migration and integration are typical “big stories” in my artwork. I use my work for different didactical purposes such as learning about craft traditions, learning about new big stories, letting the audience express themselves and take part in relational artworks.

8 March 2023 | Book launch presentation – Dr Ken Gale

14:00 – 15:30, online via Zoom
Writing and Immanence: Concept making and the reorientation of thought in pedagogy and inquiry
This book does not offer solutions or answer questions. It is a book that is attentive to the unabatingly potent, sometimes agonistic, forces at play in the continuing unfoldings of crises of representation. As immanent doing, the writing in the book writes to destabilise the orthodoxies, conventions and unquestioned givens of writing in the academy and, in so doing, is troubled by the ontogenetic uncertainties of its own writing coming into being. In the always active processualism of presencing, the fragility of word and concept creation animates, what Meillassoux has described as ‘the absolute necessity of the contingency of everything’.
In working to avoid the formational and structural linearities of a series of numbered consecutive chapters, the book is constructed in and around the movements of the always actualising capaciousness of Acts. In offering engagements with education research and pedagogy and always sensitive to the dynamics of multiplicity, each Act emanates from and feeds into other en(Act)ments in the unfolding emergence of the book. Hence, in agencement, the book offers multiple points of entry and departure. In this, it is a book that writes to create discomfort for the logic and mediations of the neurotypical; it is a book that welcomes the insurgencies created by the always shifting forces of encounter and action of the neurodiverse. Deleuze has said that a creator is ‘someone who creates their own impossibilities, and thereby creates possibilities…it’s by banging your head on the wall that you find a way through.’ Therefore, the writing of this book writes to the writing, pedagogic and research practices of those in education and the humanities who are writing to the creation of such impossibilities.
Ken works in the Institute of Education in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Plymouth in the UK and has published widely and presented at a number of international conferences on the philosophy of education, research methodologies and collaborative approaches to education practices. His forthcoming book, Writing and Immanence: Concept making and the reorientation of thought in pedagogy and inquiry is due for publication by Routledge at the end of 2022.
Download the flyer, including a 20% discount code. 

30 March 2023 | Feminist Speculations and the practice of Research-Creation

13:30 – 15:00, online
Sarah E. Truman

In this seminar, I will discuss how the theories I draw on to conduct research-creation projects are aligned with what has been dubbed the feminist materialisms. Specifically, a feminist orientation of conducting research that is embedded in anti-colonial, anti-racist, and queer politics. I will give a brief overview of research-creation, pose some questions around queer-feminist approaches to research methods that I draw on in my new book Feminist Speculations and the practice of Research-Creation followed by a few examples from my past and current research. Following this overview, seminar participants will engage in a group discussion focused on their own areas of research based on two of the Interstices in the book. 
Sarah E. Truman is Senior Lecturer at The University of Melbourne and co-convenor of the Literary Education Lab. From 2022-2025 Dr. Truman is an ARC DECRA Fellow whose project focuses on youth creative writing of science fiction in mining and metropolitan communities in three commonwealth countries (Australia, Canada, and Wales). In addition to conducting research into literary education, Dr. Truman co-directs the international research-creation project WalkingLab, and composes music with Oblique Curiosities. Dr. Truman’s most recent book is Feminist Speculations and the Practice of Research-Creation (Routledge, 2022). www.sarahetruman.com

18 April 2023 | Annual doctoral event

09:30 – 16:00, online
Keynote speaker – Professor Jayne Osgood, Middlesex University, England.
Adventures requiring care and recklessness: a playful archive

Getting started from the messy middle 
from the abysmal middle 
made possible from childing 
down the rabbit hole 
with poetic middlings 
about the qualia of research
A feltness: 
that disrupts knowability and linearity 
sensing 'data' 
careful and curious 
adaptive and sensitive 
adventures requiring 
care and recklessness
This paper offers a Playful Archive which t(h)reads a path through research undertaken in childhood studies over the past decade. The intention is to weave the promise of post-qualitative inquiry through a series of provocations and propositions. The partial glimpses offered through images and poetry gesture towards the potential that doing research differently can make in pursuit of making a difference in the world. Complexifying what research is, how it is done, and what it generates involves bringing matter, affect, philosophy, ethics and theory together to push aside taken-for-granted practices.

Jayne Osgood is Professor of Childhood Studies at the Centre for Education Research and Scholarship, Middlesex University; and Professor II at Hogskolen a Innlandet University, Norway. Her work addresses issue of social justice though critical engagement with policy, curricular frameworks, and pedagogical approaches in Early Childhood Education. She is committed to extending understandings of the workforce, families, gender and sexualities, 'child' in early years contexts through creative, affective methodologies. She has published extensively within the post-modernist paradigm with over 100 publications in the form of books, chapters and journal papers; her most recent books include Feminists Researching Gendered Childhoods; Postdevelopmental Approaches to Childhood Art. She has served on the editorial boards of several journals and is a long-standing board member and guest editor at Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood. She is currently an editor at Gender & Education Journal, and Reconceptualising Educational Research Methodology Journal. She is also Book Series Editor for both Bloomsbury (Feminist Thought in Childhood Research; Postdevelopmental Approaches to Childhood; and for Springer (Keythinkers in Education).

3 May 2023 | Book launch presentation – Dr Mary Garland

14:00 – 15:30, online
Animating potential for intensities and becoming: challenging discursively constructed structures and writing conventions in academia 
This book tells the story of the writing of a doctoral thesis (https://pearl.plymouth.ac.uk/handle/10026.1/18754) written for all those denied a second chance in education. Storying both an initial event leading to a sixteen-year-old’s withdrawal from a Further Education college on her first day, and an imaginary second chance to support her ten years’ later whilst at university, this is a collection of post qualitative inquiries which offers challenge to discursively constructed structures and writing conventions in academia. This work adopts posthuman approaches to theorising in inquiries aiming to decentre individual ‘lecturer’ and ‘student’ identities. 
Drawing from the theorisings of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Ken Gale, Jonathan Wyatt, Erin Manning, and others, movements and moments quivering with potential for change are illuminated. Hoping to consequently generate genuine second chances for all, there is a focus on exemplifying different approaches to writing which trouble academic constraints by fostering inquiry and speculation. Through moving away from ‘what is’ towards ‘what if’, towards writing as immanent doing incorporating speculative and experimental approaches, it is hoped to animate potential for intensities and becoming in writing, offering opportunities and glimmerings of the not-yet-known.

There’s something about writing books that is out of time. As though the writing only really knows what it’s after once it has begun to make its way into the world. Manning, 2016: ix
Mary is an alumni research fellow with the University of Plymouth, UK. She taught in Adult, Further and Higher Education institutions before pursuing her dream of being a PhD student in the Plymouth Institute of Education. Mary’s forthcoming book, Animating potential for intensities and becoming: challenging discursively constructed structures and writing conventions in academia, is due for publication by Cambridge Scholars Publishing in 2023.

7 June 2023 | Rethinking age through posthumanism symposium – Joanna Haynes, Nick Jenkins, Marie Lavelle

12:30 – 16:30, online
Each of the presenters in this symposium is playing with age in different ways, bringing age categorisation into question, proposing age-transgressive pedagogies and different modes of learning, challenging assumptions about capacities or characteristics associated with being of a particular age, upending linear, chronological and developmental notions of the life span, exploring inter-generational relations and being more curious about age/ing, including of the more than human.
Professor Jocey Quinn is Professor of Lifelong Learning at Plymouth Institute of Education. Her research focuses on adults learning, particularly beyond formal education, for example in nature, activism or community arts. In her work Jocey aims to think through the possibilities and problems associated with posthumanism and how to work with posthumanist methodologies in empirical studies on issues of social justice. She has developed posthumanist methodologies to research post-verbal people and people living with dementia (see Lifelong Learning and Dementia).
Dr Joanna Haynes is an Associate Professor in Education at Plymouth University Institute of Education. Her interests are in community, intragenerational and democratic education, philosophy with children and communities. Strongly associated with the age-transgressive character of Philosophy with Children, she has recently published on intra-generational relations and post/age pedagogies (Haynes & Murris, 2017; 2019 & 2021). Joanna is co-convenor of the Adventures in Posthumanism network.
Dr Nick Jenkins is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of the West of Scotland. Since 2014, his research has explored posthumanist, multi-species and post-qualitative approaches to dementia. Alongside his colleagues, Dr Anna Jack Waugh and Dr Louise Ritchie, Nick currently convenes the Multi-Species Dementia International Research Network. Established in October 2019 with funding from Wellcome Trust, the network seeks to advance 'more than human' frameworks for responding to dementia. He is currently editing a book with members of the network working across the arts, humanities, social and natural sciences, entitled Multi-Species Dementia Studies: Towards an Interdisciplinary Approach (Bristol University Policy Press).
Dr Marie Lavelle is a Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies at the Plymouth Institute of Education. Playing in spaces of temporal entanglements, her research has focused on parenting and more recently grand/mothering in the (post) Anthropocene. Encounters with critical new materialism, post-humanist philosophies and members of the AiPH group have encouraged bravery to wander without a map and to gaze without a focus.