Teacher-Researcher Reflection by Amy Brown

I am interested in researching how to teach students to read diverse literary voices sensitively and appreciatively. Poet and polemicist Audre Lorde wrote, ‘Difference must be not merely tolerated, but seen as a fund of necessary polarities between which our creativity can spark like a dialectic.’ Fuelled by this imperative, I intend to explore what a contemporary Australian écriture feminine might be. To answer this question, I will focus upon Ellen Van Neerven’s innovative short-story collection, Heat and Light, and compare it with Maxine Benebe-Clarke’s polyvocal Foreign Soil and Ceridwen Dovey’s genre-bending Only the Animals. With access to the University of Melbourne Archives, I would investigate how diverse, feminist short-story writers are (under)represented and reviewed in Australian journals. I see this opportunity as a chance to gain depth and rigour in my own understanding of these texts and their place in Australian literature, which is seldom possible (but sorely craved) during the rush and routine of classroom teaching.

~ Amy Brown, Secondary English Teacher-Researcher on Pilot Study