Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Intersecting Autoethnographies: Two Academics Reflect on Being Parent-Researchers

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Intersecting Autoethnographies: Two Academics Reflect on Being Parent-Researchers

Article excerpt

This article presents two intersecting autoethnographies generated by two academics working in the same university, who were both parent-researchers. We researched aspects of our own children's lives, primarily in the home focusing on their engagement with dance and music. As autoethnographers we engaged in shared and individual systematic sociological introspection. In this inquiry we employed observation, copious field notes, video and photographic recording to gather longitudinal data about often unpredictable moments of creative arts engagement that occurred in the home setting Our research provided a unique window into child directed dance and music behaviours which are rarely seen and which offers insights into the creative education process. Keywords: Autoethnography, Parent-Researchers, Creative Arts, Young Child Participant Observation

In this article we present our intersecting autoethnographies that focus on us, Rosemary and Peter, two academics working in the same university, who were parent-researchers. That is, as researchers we focused our research on our respective children. For Rosemary, this was her daughter Georgie, and for Peter this was his son Jack. By parent-researchers we mean that we researched aspects of our own children's lives, primarily in the home. Therefore we were not only parents to our children, but researchers of their development as young children.

Rosemary: As a teacher-educator in the tertiary sector for some years, it was a revelation to me to become a Mother to my own daughter in 2000, and to watch all the child development stages occur before my eyes. I was constantly distracted from the domestic tasks of mothering in the home, by my child's exploration of her own embodied creativity in responding to music through movement and dance. At my university's early childhood conference in 2005, there was an opportunity to present some of these observations and to relate them to my professional roles of researcher and teacher with a strong background in the creative arts. I was also seeking collegial advice concerning the researching of one's own child, and I found a fellow academic presenting on a similar field at this conference. Peter and I then continued the discussion as we compared experiences and shared the type of documentation and analysis of this type of somewhat contentious research over the next years.

Peter: In 2005 I began work at an Australian university in a faculty of education with a strong early childhood and primary education focus, both in teaching and research. The faculty was hosting an early childhood education conference when I began work there and I had been invited to present a paper. I presented a paper about the research I had been doing that focused on my son's musical development in the home. In the audience was Rosemary. We got to talking afterwards and she told me that she too was presenting a paper at the conference that focused on her own daughter's development, albeit with a focus on movement and dance.

Now more than a decade later, we find ourselves still teaching in the tertiary sector. Over the years we have taught together and discussed our research, and invariably ask each other about Georgie and Jack, both now teenagers. It has been more than five years since we finished as parent-researchers. We have not done research like this since, where there is such a strong intersection between work and family life. However, this initial parent research has formed a strong basis for consequent studies and further research questions.

We are drawn to autoethnography to explore our experiences as parent-researchers because autoethnography connects the personal (our experience as parent-researchers) to the cultural (the academies in which we work and the families which we are part of) (Ellis & Bochner, 2000). That is, autoethnography affords us the opportunity to explore "the social and cultural aspects of the personal" (Hamilton, Smith, & Worthington, 2008, p. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.