Little Learning in Big Worlds

lcj-20-coverJayson Cooper & Maureen Ryan

LCJ: Special Issue: New Connections in Education Research, 20, pp. 82-93

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Cooper, J., & Ryan, M. (2016). Little Learning in Big Worlds. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts [Special Issue: New Connections in Education Research], 20, 82-93. DOI:



Young peoples’ worlds are valid and authentic spheres of knowing that communicate a range of issues. Through little aesthetics the artistic work in this project engages with what Hickey-Moody (2014) terms ‘little publics spheres’ (p. 117). Artistic expression is one way for adults to engage with children’s little public spheres. Situated within the larger field of public pedagogy little publics acknowledge the civic, social, economic, political worlds of young people. Through artistic re-presentations, we position little publics as a way to foster intercultural understanding and expression of self. The international collaboration between Gallery Sunshine Everywhere and Eritrean Australian Humanitarian Aid draws on the relational worlds of children through art.  Drawings from two schools in Kassala, East Sudan were given to students at Flemington Primary School, Melbourne, who wrote evocative stories in response to the drawings. These little public expressions invite adult worlds into the intellectual presence of young people’s perceptions and re-locate the roles of learner and teacher within and beyond structures of formal schooling. The concept of little publics validates children as important producers of culture, knowledge and learning contexts. 


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