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Abigail Hackett

Professor Abigail Hackett

Professor of Childhood and Education


Summary

I am a Professor of Childhood and Education at the Institute of Education, Sheffield Hallam University. I am particularly interested in the role of place, materiality and the body in young children’s lives and literacies. My work is located mostly in communities, and non-formal learning spaces. With a background in museums, I have expertise in young children’s experiences of museum spaces. I am particularly interested in methodology, and, as my research is mostly with children aged under three years, I experiment with visual, sensory and ethnographic methodologies for understanding tacit and inchoate aspects of young children’s lives.

About

One major strand of my research looks at the literacies and meaning making practices of young children in communities. I have carried out ethnographic research with families and children aged under three years, looking at how children’s multimodal meaning making relies on sound and movement in a more-than-human world. It is, I have argued, emergent, provisional and political, deeply entangled with body and place.

A second ongoing strand of my research looks at young children in museums. I have proposed new theoretical frames, grounded in movement, the body and how places are experienced and experimented with, to help educators and museum professionals make sense of young children’s experiences of museum visiting, and to inform provision for early year audiences.

Increasingly my research engages with the context of young children’s lives today, characterised by precarity, increasing inequality and environmental uncertainty. Education has an important role to play in redefining human / planetary relations, informed by historical understandings of how the current situation emerged in a context of colonial expansion and exploitation. My research looks at how young children could be involved in these conversations, and how early childhood educators might respond to the question of what literacies are relevant for thriving in a precarious environmental future.

 

 

Teaching

Sheffield Institute of Education

College of Social Sciences and Arts

Research

Voices of the future: Collaborating with children and young people to re-imagine treescapes
NERC Co-I, PI is Kate Pahl (2021-2024)
This major interdisciplinary project investigates the value of treescapes from the perspectives of children and young people, in order to ensure sustainable treescapes for the future. I direct a work package within this project titled Re-imagining the language of trees: treescapes and very young children exploring language, place and belonging in outdoor spaces, in order to cocreate new ways of thinking about emergent language.

Supporting young children’s language through place and movement in museums
Humber Museums Partnership (2022), PI, with Christina MacRae and David Shannon
A continuation of my long term collaboration with Humber Museums Partnership, this research will understand young children’s experiences of museums, galleries and outside spaces, as they begin to open and welcome family groups. In particular, we are interested in what this situation might have to teach us about the emergence of young children’s language and its relationship with place.

The emergence of literacy in very young children: place and materiality in more-than-human world.
British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship (2017-2021)
This major ethnographic study of young children’s literacy practices in community settings in Northern England, has investigated the role of place, materiality and the body in the emergence of literacy in young children between the ages of 12 and 36 months.

KINDKNOW The Centre for Systemic Research on Diversity and Sustainable Future
Norwegian Research Council, PI is Elin Eriksen Odegaard (Sept 2018 – August 2023)
I am international co-operating partner with University of Tromso on a workpackage entitled The methodology of place – in between local tradition and the development of place in kindergartens for the future. This is part of Kindergarten Knowledge Centre for Systemic Research on Diversity and Sustainable Development, a major Norway wide five year research centre project. 

Publications (selected)

Hackett, A. 2022, Beyond Transparency: more-than-human insights into the emergence of young children’s language. Literacy, 56 (3), 244,252.

Hackett, A. 2022, Unruly Edges: Toddler Literacies of the Capitalocene. Global Studies of Childhood, 12 (3), 263-276.

Hackett, A. 2021, More-than-human Literacies in Early Childhood. Bloomsbury.

Hackett, A. Holmes, R. and MacRae, C. 2020, Working with Young Children in Museums; Weaving Theory and Practice. Routledge.

Hackett, A. MacLure, M, and Pahl, K. 2020, Literacy and language as material practices: re-thinking social inequality in young children’s literacies. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy 20 (1).

Hackett, A. Holmes, R. Macrae, C. and Procter. L. 2018, Young children’s museum geographies; spatial, material and bodily ways of knowing. Children’s Geographies 16 (5).

M. Tesar, I. Duhn, SN. Nordstrom, M. Koro, A. Sparrman, et al. 2021. Infantmethodologies. Educational Philosophy and Theory. Online first.

Myrstad, A. Hackett, A. and Bartnæs, P. 2020, Lines in the snow; minor paths in the search for early childhood education for planetary wellbeing. Global Studies of Childhood. Online first.

Hackett, A. MacLure, M. and MacMahon, S. 2021, Reconceptualising early language development: matter, sensation and the more-than-human. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 42 (6), 913-929.

Truman, S. Hackett, A. Pahl, K. Escott, H. and McLean Davies, L. 2021, The Capaciousness of No. Affective Refusals as Literacy Practices. Reading Research Quarterly, 56 (2), 223-236.

Hackett, A. and Rautio, P. 2019, Answering the World. Young children’s running and rolling as more-than-human multimodal meaning making. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 32 (8), 1019-1031.

 

Publications

Journal articles

Hackett, A. (2022). Beyond transparency: more‐than‐human insights into the emergence of young children's language. Literacy, 56 (3), 244-252. http://doi.org/10.1111/lit.12297

Hackett, A. (2022). Unruly edges: toddler literacies of the capitalocene. Global Studies of Childhood, 12 (3), 263-276. http://doi.org/10.1177/20436106221117575

Tesar, M., Duhn, I., Nordstrom, S.N., Koro, M., Sparrman, A., Orrmalm, A., ... Malone, K. (2021). Infantmethodologies. Educational Philosophy and Theory. http://doi.org/10.1080/00131857.2021.2009340

Hackett, A., MacLure, M., & McMahon, S. (2021). Reconceptualising early language development: matter, sensation and the more-than-human. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 42 (6), 913-929. http://doi.org/10.1080/01596306.2020.1767350

Hackett, A. (2021). Kim Lenters and Mairi McDermott, Affect, embodiment and place in critical literacy assembling theory and practice. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 21 (2), 310-313. http://doi.org/10.1177/14687984211003189

Myrstad, A., Hackett, A., & Bartnæs, P. (2020). Lines in the snow; minor paths in the search for early childhood education for planetary wellbeing. Global Studies of Childhood. http://doi.org/10.1177/2043610620983590

Boycott‐Garnett, R., MacRae, C., Hackett, A., Otito Tamsho‐Thomas, T., & Holmes, R. (2020). Bonbonnieres in the gallery: (re)presenting sugar in a family gallery space. International Journal of Art & Design Education, 39 (4), 754-769. http://doi.org/10.1111/jade.12320

Truman, S.E., Hackett, A., Pahl, K., McLean Davies, L., & Escott, H. (2020). The Capaciousness of No: Affective Refusals as Literacy Practices. Reading Research Quarterly. http://doi.org/10.1002/rrq.306

Hackett, A., MacLure, M., & Pahl, K. (2020). Literacy and language as material practices: Re-thinking social inequality in young children’s literacies. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 20 (1), 3-12. http://doi.org/10.1177/1468798420904909

Hackett, A., & Rautio, P. (2019). Answering the world: young children’s running and rolling as more-than-human multimodal meaning making. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 32 (8), 1019-1031. http://doi.org/10.1080/09518398.2019.1635282

Hackett, A., Procter, L., & Kummerfeld, R. (2018). Exploring abstract, physical, social and embodied space: developing an approach for analysing museum spaces for young children. Children's Geographies, 16 (5), 489-502. http://doi.org/10.1080/14733285.2018.1425372

Hackett, A., MacRae, C., McCall, K., Penfold, L., Wallis, N., Bates, E., & Cooke, L. (2018). Coda: posthumous conversations. A reading group to discuss the work of Dr Elee Kirk. Children's Geographies, 16 (5), 571-577. http://doi.org/10.1080/14733285.2018.1497142

Hackett, A., Holmes, R., MacRae, C., & Procter, L. (2018). Young children’s museum geographies: spatial, material and bodily ways of knowing. Children's Geographies, 16 (5), 481-488. http://doi.org/10.1080/14733285.2018.1497141

MacRae, C., Hackett, A., Holmes, R., & Jones, L. (2018). Vibrancy, repetition and movement: posthuman theories for reconceptualising young children in museums. Children's Geographies, 16 (5), 503-515. http://doi.org/10.1080/14733285.2017.1409884

Gallagher, M., Hackett, A., Procter, L., & Scott, F. (2018). Vibrations in place: sound and language in early childhood literacy practices. Educational Studies, 54 (4), 465-482. http://doi.org/10.1080/00131946.2018.1476353

Hackett, A. (2017). Parents as researchers: collaborative ethnography with parents. Qualitative Research, 17 (5), 481-497. http://doi.org/10.1177/1468794116672913

Hackett, A., & Somerville, M. (2017). Posthuman literacies: Young children moving in time, place and more-than-human worlds. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 17 (3), 374-391. http://doi.org/10.1177/1468798417704031

Procter, L., & Hackett, A. (2017). Playing with place in early childhood: An analysis of dark emotion and materiality in children’s play. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 18 (2), 213-226. http://doi.org/10.1177/1463949117714082

Hackett, A., Pahl, K., & Pool, S. (2017). In amongst the glitter and the squashed blueberries: crafting a collaborative lens for children’s literacy pedagogy in a community setting. Pedagogies: An International Journal, 12 (1), 58-73. http://doi.org/10.1080/1554480x.2017.1283994

Hackett, A. (2016). Young Children as Wayfarers: Learning about Place by Moving Through It. Children & Society, 30 (3), 169-179. http://doi.org/10.1111/chso.12130

Hackett, A., Pool, S., Rowsell, J., & Aghajan, B. (2015). Seen and unseen: using video data in ethnographic fieldwork. Qualitative Research Journal, 15 (4), 430-444. http://doi.org/10.1108/qrj-06-2015-0037

Hackett, A. (2014). Zigging and zooming all over the place: Young children’s meaning making and movement in the museum. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 14 (1), 5-27. http://doi.org/10.1177/1468798412453730

Hackett, A., & Dennell, R. (2003). Neanderthals as fiction in archaeological narrative. Antiquity, 77 (298), 816-827. http://doi.org/10.1017/s0003598x00061755

Book chapters

Hackett, A., & MacRae, C. (2023). Observing-without-reading; material attractions to stone and water. In Post-developmental Approaches to Childhood Observation. Bloomsbury

Hackett, A. (2022). Literacies Yet to Come: Young Children’s Emergent, Provisional and Speculative Literacies for Precarious Futures. In Unsettling Literacies. (pp. 131-145). Springer Singapore: http://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-6944-6_9

Holmes, R., MacRae, C., & Hackett, A. (2020). Introduction to Part I. In Working with Young Children in Museums. (pp. 15-26). Routledge: http://doi.org/10.4324/9780429434457-2

Hackett, A., Holmes, R., & MacRae, C. (2020). Introduction. In Working with Young Children in Museums. (pp. 1-12). Routledge: http://doi.org/10.4324/9780429434457-1

Hackett, A., MacRae, C., & Holmes, R. (2020). Introduction to Part II. In Working with Young Children in Museums. (pp. 77-86). Routledge: http://doi.org/10.4324/9780429434457-9

MacRae, C., Hackett, A., & Holmes, R. (2020). Introduction to Part III. In Working with Young Children in Museums. (pp. 135-143). Routledge: http://doi.org/10.4324/9780429434457-16

Gallagher, M., Hackett, A., Procter, L., & Scott, F. (2019). Vibrations in Place. In Sonic Studies in Educational Foundations. (pp. 129-147). Routledge: http://doi.org/10.4324/9780429329388-8

Books

Hackett, A. (2021). More-Than-Human Literacies in Early Childhood. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Seymour, J., Hackett, A., & Procter, L. (2016). Children's Spatialities Embodiment, Emotion and Agency. Springer.

Hackett, A., Holmes, R., & MacRae, C. (Eds.). (n.d.). Working with Young Children in Museums. Routledge. http://doi.org/10.4324/9780429434457

Postgraduate supervision

I have supervised doctoral projects on topics including early childhood literacies, coproduction with communities, young children, arts and museums,  and post-qualitative methodologies. I welcome applications from students interested in my areas of research.

 

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