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Researching creative intersubjectivities – a journey from language-based collaborations to embodied dialogues

CenCSE Visiting Speaker Seminar - Professor Eva Vass (Western Sydney University)

Collaborative learning research generally investigates how school-based peer interaction mediates children’s intellectual development, focusing on the ‘relationship between language and thinking’ (Mercer & Littleton, 2007). There is a paucity of socio-cultural studies exploring the embodied and affective dimensions of peer collaboration, especially in creative contexts (Vass et al, 2014). My earlier work on children’s collaborative creative writing revealed the significance of the affective dimensions in the observed dialogues (Vass et al, 2014). My current research examines the links between music, body perceptions and imagination. The data document participants’ free movement improvisations and collective reflections. This enables the study of bodily imagination in vivo, as it spontaneously evolves during delicately scaffolded opportunities to experience and respond to music via improvised movement. This presentation charts my methodological journey from the study of children’s collaborative discourse towards the analysis of embodied dialogues in order to capture the nature and evolution of creative intersubjectivities.

Event details

I am a lecturer in the School of Education, Western Sydney University, Australia. At WSU I coordinate ‘Researching and Developing Engaging Pedagogies’, a capstone pedagogy unit of the Master of Teaching Programme (Primary).

My research is framed by socio-cultural theorizing. My main research work concerns children’s creative development, with a special focus on collective creativity (e.g. shared creative writing, collaborative creative design or musically inspired imagination). Currently, I am exploring the ways in which musical experiences – such as free movement improvisations to music – facilitate empathy, other-orientation and shared experiences of imaginative being and becoming.


This is a Centre for Research in Creativity, Sustainability and Educational Futures research seminar. Please see the centre website for details of our further activities.




North Cloisters 141