Tin Shed Science: Girls, Aesthetics, and Permeable Learning

  • Lucinda McKnightEmail author
Reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


This chapter provides a partial account of an intimate case study of an after-school science club for young girls in a garden shed in suburban Melbourne, Australia. While hybrid learning spaces merging home and school have been described before (Moje, Ciechanowski, Kramer, Ellis, Carrillo, and Collazo, Reading Research Quarterly 39(1):38–70, 2004), particularly in relation to girls and science (Barton, Tan, & Rivet, American Educational Research Journal 45(1): 68–103, 2008), such descriptions are limited to the hybridity of discourses and do not acknowledge the aesthetic, material, or sensuous dimensions of scholarship. Instead, the study on which this chapter is based involves diffractive artworks taking place notionally some years “after” the science club, forming this chapter assemblage.

The chapter combines images of the science club shed with further assembled fragments of original pedagogical intent via planning documents and other arts-based interventions by the organizer/writer. Emerging with this work is the concept of permeable learning, based on understandings that design is multiple and human intentionality as curriculum is a thin-skinned and fragile fiction despite humanist insistence, particularly in neoliberal contexts, that it is otherwise. Permeable learning incorporates intra-action (Barad, Meeting the universe half-way: Quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning. London: Duke University Press, 2007) as both human and nonhuman entities merge, thus calling each other into being. So students and the gases they create and breathe in their experiments become new entities of indiscernible boundaries, as do school and home, art and science, mud and hands, public and private pedagogies, teacher and student, memory and experience, girl and bird, and shed and garden.


Curriculum Pedagogy Permeable learning STEAM Gender Science Arts-based 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Education, Faculty of Arts and EducationDeakin UniversityMelbourneAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • David Rousell
    • 1
  • Dilafruz Williams
    • 2
  1. 1.Manchester Metropolian UniversityManchesterUK
  2. 2.Portland State UniversityPortlandUSA

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