My current research centers on 'childhood constructions of ecological identity' in rural Madagascar, around Ranomafana National Park. This PhD work is based at the University of Sussex, co-supervised by Professor Mairead Dunne, Director of the Centre for International Education, and Dr. Rebecca Webb, in the School of Education. My hope is for these emerging understandings to further our ability to approach children’s inclusion in conservation and sustainable community care.
I became invested in applied methods for inclusive learning in conservation and community care, visiting teachers around Ranomafana National Park in 2007, as part of ICTE Study Abroad (during undergraduate studies at Skidmore College). In 2011, this led me to work on environmental education in Madagascar with Alison Jolly as a Rotary Scholar and MA student in International Education and Development. In 2012, I came back to Ranomafana for my dissertation research, working with CVB’s education team, deconstructing and proposing an informed innovation of UNICEF Connecting Classrooms.
I like to approach young children as partners in determining creative learning environments for caring as 'collaborative practice', with experience working in various social and educational settings. Before embarking on this PhD, I returned to Madagascar to build roots for applied education design, with Lova Razafindravony and Alain Rasolomampiandra, as PLAY “Protecting Life through Active Youth”. PLAY will begin around Ranomafana National Park, with an aim to move projects from design into action February 2016. Groups I am now working with include the: Centre for International Education, Royal Society of the Arts, Children’s Environments Research Group, and Oxford Brookes Primate Conservation MSc.
In the last few months, several students have been joining in PLAY. Katherine Kling and the Pat Wright Lab are starting to work with me on future designs and shared proposals for supporting local artisans, children and youth with Centre ValBio. Looking forward to seeing what emerges over the coming years, as this research and our applied projects begin to unfold.
Please visit the PLAY website to follow our movements with these applied education projects: www.playmadagascar.com.