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Pedagogical Encounters

Author: Bronwyn Davies


Pedagogical Encounters’ breaks completely new ground. It begins where most critiques of education under neoliberalism end: in the recognition that the perfection of uniformity (of teaching practice), standardisation (of tests) and regulation (of teachers and students) ultimately defeats the purposes of education. With their passion for creating authentic learning encounters, the authors demonstrate how new spaces of learning can be opened up, drawing on three conceptual influences: the philosophy and practice of collective biography, the Deleuzian spatial turn in poststructuralist theorizing; and the philosophy and practices of Reggio Emilia schooling. The result is a stunning and intellectual journey through a series of pedagogical encounters. In settings across different institutions (state schools and private institutions) and different countries (Australia, Sweden, and the Czech Republic) the authors show how material and intellectual space are intimately connected. New educational ideas are explored through a focus on the architecture of learning as an emergent, interactive relationship between people and place. This book sets out to break through the known, defined spaces of education into new learning spaces in which learners are immersed in the present moment, escaping the clichéd codes that constrain the existing order, with surprising results that are moving, humorous, and at times distressing. All who are interested in teaching and learning will find both inspiration and courage in this book.

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Peter Lang Inc., International Academic Publishers

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Pedagogical Encounters opens up new ways of thinking about learning spaces as ethical, responsive, transformable spaces. It seeks ways of enabling students and teachers to open themselves up to new ways of being in the world. Through collective biography, ethnography, and arts-based research, the authors generate rich descriptions of classroom practices, and elaborate and clarify new theoretical concepts for working within such classrooms.

Pedagogical Encounters began as a project about place. As we worked with the concept of place, we realised that place is an ongoing process of relational meaning making. In this book we think of place making, then, as a relational form of art, and as an artful form of relationality. Place making focuses on relations with others, including non-human, animate and inanimate others. Its artfulness lies both in what we usually think of as art, and also in the art of becoming–of being vulnerable and open to the unknown and to the other. Pedagogical relationality as art opens up the possibility of learning differently, of creating meaning through intra-actions, through entanglements, through coming to matter differently. An encounter with the other involves more than recognising what is already there–an encounter opens the possibility of coming to know differently and of being changed in the space of that encounter.

Kenneth Gergen said of this book: “Pedagogical Encounters is a wholly absorbing work. It is bursting with fresh and exciting ideas that leap from the text into the classroom, and indeed, into daily life. The contributors draw inspiration from the work of Gilles Deleuze, but in their hands issues of relationality, art, indeterminacy, difference, and co-creation take on new significance. We see them brought to life in wide-ranging classroom practices and gain from these expositions a new compass for enriching educational practice.”

Pedagogical Encounters was co-edited by Bronwyn Davies and Susanne Gannon. The collaborative group who worked with Susanne and Bronwyn on this project included Catherine Camden Pratt, Constance Ellwood, Katerina Zabrodska and Peter Bansel. It was published by Peter Lang in New York in 2009.


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