Petra Vackova is a Researcher for the Research Mobilities in Primary Literacy Education project in the Sheffield Hallam Institute of Education, Sheffield Hallam University. The ESRC funded research project draws on sociomaterial theories to explore the movements of research in primary literacy education, and how multiple actors combine to mediate, broker, propel or stall literacy research. The aim of the project is to reinvigorate and challenge current one-sided debates about the relationship between research and practice among stakeholders-- educators, schools leaders, policy makers, literacy charities and other educational organisations.
She is also a co-convener of the Posthumanist Collective at the Open University with whom she is developing thinking around creative, care-full, and communal ways of working and inquiring in the academia. The group has recently presented an interactive session titled Rooms of possibilities: Making spaces for posthumanist (un)doings at the European Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, 2022. The group also published a podcast for the Open University Graduate School on Spotify, titled Weaving-thinking-becoming-with: introducing the Posthumanist Collective, 2021.
Petra has an interest in feminist new materialist approaches to education, Baradian philosophy, post-qualitative methodologies, and the reimagination of childhood studies. Her research focuses on issues of and approaches to educational justice, with a particular interest in the role of the arts in early childhood education. She engages posthumanist, ‘new’ materialist, and feminist theories and frameworks to develop interdisciplinary, innovative methodologies that challenge traditional discourses and work against narrow, market-oriented approaches to justice in education. For her work she has received the BERA Master dissertation commendation (2017), The Open University Wels Postgraduate Research Award (2020), and the AOUG Vice-Chancellor Lord Perry of Walton Award (2020).
Petra has received her BA and BFA at Millsaps College in Mississippi, the US. She later finished her Master’s in Contemporary Art History and Theory degree at Leiden University and Master’s in Fine Arts at the Dutch Art Institute in the Netherlands. She has also received a MRes degree at the Open University where she is finishing her PhD in Education now. Before working in the academia, Petra was a museum educator and an artist working closely with very young children and their families in and around the arts in both the US and the Czech Republic. She also proudly worked as a museum janitorial staff and a carer before that.