Dr Joanna Kidman

Dr Kidman is involved in an international research project into how indigenous children engage with science knowledge in their classrooms.

Te Arawa, Te Aupouri

What are your research interests?

As a sociologist involved with indigenous youth studies all of my research is centred on understanding how children and young people interact with their cultural and social environments and how they develop a sense of belonging or, alternatively, social dislocation. I'm interested in how young people cope with issues that affect them in contemporary society, such as dealing with racism, or responding to poverty or hardships. I am also interested in understanding how young people develop social and cultural networks that help them to make sense of the world.

Tell us about a current research project

At present I'm working on a project about how indigenous children engage with science knowledge in their classrooms. This is an international collaboration that involves indigenous communities in New Zealand, the United States, Hawai'i, the Altai Republic of Siberia, Taiwan, and Belize. Our team is particularly interested in how children and young people think about science and whether their cultural understandings of the natural world link up with what they learn at school. We are interested in finding out how learning works when there is more than one system of knowledge at work.

What do you enjoy most about doing research?

My research has taken me all over the world. I've worked with indigenous children and young people who live in villages high in the mountains of central Taiwan, in small Māori communities in different parts of New Zealand, in rural schools in the United States... a lot of different places where young people live quite close to the land and their tribal areas.

Vice-Provost Research Centre