Dr Rick Flowers
Since 2008 Rick Flowers has been Head of Adult Education and Postgraduate Programs in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). In this portfolio there are courses in popular education and social change, organisational and workplace learning, adult literacy and numeracy teaching, applied linguistics, TESOL, e-learning, Indigenous Studies, journalism, public relations, organisational communication, information and knowledge management, media arts production, creative writing and international studies.
Rick was Director of the Centre for Popular Education at the University of Technology, Sydney from 1999 to 2007. The Centre for Popular Education undertook research in environmental education and advocacy, community cultural development, health education and community development, the pedagogy and politics of working with young people, union and community organising, and community leadership. The Centres research annual income varied between $50,000 and $700,000. In 2005 it employed six contract researchers, a full-time manager, two research assistants. Seven tenured staff also worked with the Centre. In this time, Rick led over 20 commissioned action research, evaluation and curriculum projects. Clients have included national, state and local government agencies, philanthropic foundations and NGOs. Rick conceived and convened a series of three-day international conferences plus one-day symposia that earned him and the Centre
Previous work includes appointment as a Research Fellow (ARC grant) investigating Aboriginal adult educator training needs, co-ordinator of a rurally based community development training program, and community work in Western Sydney.
Rick has undertaken an extensive amount of pro bono work serving on boards of management with a range of community service and sporting organisations including a football club with almost 2,000 players, a regional football association, a youth refuge, a legal services body and youth sector training organisation.
Rick is currently collaborating with Elaine Swan. Drawing on Ricks research on collective action and learning, and Elaines work on whiteness, gender and public pedagogies, they are developing a major research programme on food pedagogies. They use the term to explore the way that the growing, buying, preparing, cooking, tasting, eating and disposing of food have become the target of intensified pedagogical activity across a range of domains including cooking programs, social movements, activist films and public health education. In other words, no longer is it just your physical education and home economics teachers, and parents, who teach/preach what food is good for you, but there are now countless TV programs, advertisements, magazines, blogs, festivals, restaurants, supermarkets, growers markets and shops also teaching. Their research seeks to analyse the moral economy of constructions of learners, food knowledges, skills, expertises and how these are racialised, classed and gendered. In less than two years, Rick and Elaine have published four journal papers, and are editing a special issue on Food Pedagogies in the Australian Journal of Adult Learning to come out in November 2012, plus editing a book with Ashgate.
They are undertaking fieldwork in southwestern Sydney. The research is significant and innovative a number of different ways. First, this project focuses upon an under researched and under theorised food pedagogy: the ethnic food tour. There is important literature on culinary tourism and some of this discusses issues of race, ethnicity, class and gender. Second, the research is significant and innovative methodologically: we are using innovative research methods such as walking ethnography, and visceral fieldwork which can contribute to the field of food studies and adult education. Very little of this has attended to issues of race and ethnicity. Thirdly, much public pedagogy research stays at the level of media analysis and does not look at how pedagogies may be constructed by the teacher and received by the imagined learners. Fourthly, we are seeking to internationalise our research by undertaking cross-cultural comparison in order to understand the interface between state tourisms, multiculturalisms, histories and constructions of food, ethnicity and in particular, Asia and Asianness. Fifthly, we are bringing new methods and ideas of bodies and senses to the study of public pedagogy.
Ricks track record led to repeat invitations to lead action research projects in the fields of capacity building for the advocacy-oriented environment movement, grassroots community leadership initiatives, health promotion, and Aboriginal community development. His work has played an important role in raising the profile of popular education.
All of Ricks doctoral students focus on education for citizenship and community development and their settings traverse schools, technical and further education colleges, health promotion, community arts and democracy-building struggles in the face of dictatorships.
New Media and Social Change
Global Problem Solving
Organisational Learning and Change: Local and Global
Adult Learning and Program Development
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