Like this boardwalk to the beach (located in one of the numerous parks in Nova Scotia) I often do not know where my research path will take me, but I am drawn to find out. My doctoral research began with an examination of connections between lifelong learning and the homeplace. My interest in this was fueled by my own experiences of being a primary caregiver of my three children in the homeplace – a profound learning experience that was rendered invisible in the academic world and marketplace. My theoretical dissertation combined critical Habermasian theory with feminist analysis to develop a critical feminist theoretical framework that continues to inform my work around women’s learning experiences, an exploration of the homeplace as a learning site, and my interest in critical Habermasian and feminist theory.
My teaching experiences have continually informed my research, as can be seen in the writing that I have done around teaching cross-culturally, drawing upon my twelve years of experience in working in Jamaica, teaching via distance, and teaching summer institutes.
My first SSHRC grant looked at women’s learning trajectories, noting that while it is useful to investigate individual learning pathways, it is also essential to consider how social, cultural, political and economic factors impact upon educational experiences. Similarly, my two studies funded through the Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) used a holistic approach to explore the complicated network of factors that shape adult learning around citizenship participation within Canada.
Two internally funded research grants looked at Sisters in Crime (an organization dedicated to supporting women mystery writers) as a unique learning organization. In another internally funded grant I looked at social issues and crime fiction. My current internal grant explores gender issues in connection to crime fiction.
I have completed a second SSHRC grant looking at connections between lifelong learning, citizenship, and the craft of fiction writing. My research co-applicant, Susan Holloway and I, are currently working on a SSHRC grant examining fiction writing and creative literacies.