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Girls' Tales: experiences of schooling 

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The project explores female experience encountered while attending Australian secondary schools as a schoolgirling process. An empirical study was undertaken that included a qualitative online survey (153 participants), followed by individual, semi-structured, filmed interviews (14 participants) and a focus group (11 participants).

Two intergenerational participant groups recount pedagogical interactions, experienced as affective encounters in the classroom, in a direct performative dialogue that is filmed. The intergenerational participants’ testimonies enable some insights into why entrenched gendered pathways for schoolgirls still persist despite implementation of gender equity programmes in Australia for the past forty years. The importance of this research lies in unhinging practices that continue to be productive of inequity as a material, social, economic, physical and psychological consequence for students.

Girls’ Tales: experiences of schooling, consists of three thirty-minute episodes. This performative documentary compiles a series of interviews regarding recollections of experiences and opportunities of two intergenerational groups of Australian schoolgirls whilst at secondary school. 

Episode One recounts instances of happiness and belonging at secondary school alongside incidences of non-belonging. Experiences retold include issues of negotiation surrounding the requirements of wearing school uniforms that inform a conception of desirable bodies.

Episode Two recounts student interactions with teachers and others involving injurious speech acts in entanglement with educational participation. It also recounts the impact of school spaces and illustrates the dynamism of matter. This episode discusses subject/activity participation and elucidates a particular troubled relationship for these female bodies with mathematics.

Episode three considers affective interactions encountered that include experiences undergone connected to sex education and sex talk at school. These accounts inform how exclusions were explicitly made through the reductive production of difference and retell experiences of bullying.