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 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.
Through internally funded research grants I have looked at Sisters in Crime (an organization dedicated to supporting women mystery writers) as well as social and gender issues connected to crime fiction.
With my researcher collaborator, Susan Holloway, and I have completed two SSHRC grants looking at connections between lifelong learning and fiction writing and we are currently working on a SSHRC grant that examines the possibilities of a multiliteracies approach to inform learning for adolescents and adults. I have also recently completed an edited book with a UK collaborator, Christine Jarvis, examining the opportunities of using narrative fictions to teach in professional education.