In conversation with Prof Peter Sawchuk

I had the pleasure of spending an hour talking with Peter Sawchuk from the University of Toronto. It was part of the Work, Learning & Social Change Discussions: Foundational Voices on Persisting Questions series.

The Work, Learning and Social Change discussion series is designed to discuss learning and work research in an informal context. Our series is actually made of several sets of discussions with early, mid-career and later career researchers.

The discussion series is organized and supported by the Centre for the Study of Learning, Social Economy and Work (CLSEW) at the University of Toronto.

What we talked about

Peter and I discussed a number of talking points:

  • My approach to researching work, learning, and social change, and what makes it distinctive (A lot is about the data! And holding up mirrors so people can see themselves differently, and then do things differently)
  • People, writing and traditions that have inspired my research (Cultural historical theory, practice theory, and the people around me at Oxford, and UTS, plus leading scholars like Anne Edwards, Annalisa Sannino, Anna Stetsenko, Silvia Gherardi, Stephen Kemmis, Theodore Schatzki)
  • Things that have lingered in my mind that I’d like to but haven’t yet really made use of in my research (Power, affect)
  • Emerging trends and issues in the field of workplace learning (Strengthening our notions of the individual while retaining strong notions of the social; decolonising what we know, how we think, and the methods we use in researching work and learning)
  • Advice for research students and early career researchers (I was reluctant to give advice, as my run through privileged scholarships and postdocs as a white male wouldn’t square with many people’s struggles. However, I did reflect on what I think was important and would repeat if I were starting my career all over again – that was reaching out to the best thinkers in the world to nurture my own thinking, and reading what feels good to read).

The video

Here is the video

It was really cool

The questions Peter asked me were really nurturing ones to think through, and the way he responded and talked to me made me think hard – in a fantastic way – about what I’ve done, what I stand for, what I want to do.

Thanks Peter!

I hope those watching enjoy the conversation as much as I did 🙂


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