UKZN academics Professor Daisy PillayPrrofessor Kathleen Pithouse-Morgan and Dr Inbanathan Naicker from the School of Education recently launched their new book titled Object Medleys: Interpretive Possibilities for Educational Research. The launch was held at the Edgewood campus.

The three academics not only edited the book but also co-authored with new scholars in the spirit of peer mentoring and reciprocal learning

They explained that a medley can be understood as a musical combination consisting of diverse parts. ‘By combining wide-ranging object pieces and perspectives from 37 authors, Object Medleys continues and extends the creative process of dialogue and exchange that was set in motion at the Not Just an Object” symposium held in 2016,’ said Pillay.

The book is organised into two parts. “Part One: Object Memoirs,” offers retrospective insights from established scholars, Claudia Mitchell, Kate Pahl, and Devarakshanam Govinden, bringing together their distinct yet complementary theoretical and empirical vantage points and practices of working with objects.

“Part Two: Object Beginnings,” communicates new voices, new insights, and new possibilities for working with objects in educational research.

‘Each chapter in Part Two includes several pieces written by emerging scholars in the field of object inquiry in South Africa, Canada, and the United Kingdom. These researchers, many of whom are early career academics or postgraduate students, have engaged in object inquiry from a variety of perspectives and using diverse approaches,’ said Naicker.

Their individual object pieces were woven together through dialogue with the book editors, Pillay, Pithouse-Morgan and Naicker. Each chapter offers a distinctive, multifaceted, and polyvocal exploration of interrelationships between objects, lived educational experiences, and wider social and cultural concerns.

Pithouse-Morgan added, ‘Object Medleys illuminates the promise of objects in generating socio-cultural and autobiographical interpretative portrayals of lived educational experience. Moreover, the original research depicted in each chapter expands scholarly conversations about what counts as data and analysis in educational research to highlight the interpretive possibilities of objects, situated within pressing societal questions.’

Pillay added that, while the study of objects is well established in fields such as archaeology, art history, communications, fine arts, museum studies, and sociology – it is still developing in education. The educational research focus showcased in Object Medleys was supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa, specifically a UK-South Africa Newton Fund Researcher Grant (Grant Number 98067).

The book can be purchased at all major book retailers.

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photograph: Albert Hirasen