One of our central proposals is the integration of practice and research to the extent that the two processes become a unified activity that cannot be meaningfully separated. The ultimate aim of this process is the co-creation of an environment that is both a school and a research institute; a living laboratory of learning extending the frontiers of educational understanding in collaboration with young people.
But what exactly is research? In pop culture, a researcher is often imagined as a person in a white coat conducting experiments in a laboratory. This image does represent a real form of research, and a valuable one, but it is only one of very many. The Cambridge Dictionary defines research as 'a detailed study of a subject, especially in order to discover (new) information or reach a (new) understanding'. Research is a diverse class of activity.
There are many methods for conducting 'detailed study' in education. Each of them offers a unique way of seeing and produces a particular form of knowing. Over time we intend to explore and apply a diversity of approaches to produce an increasingly rich understanding. In all cases, unlike the scientist in the white coat who does research on things, we will do research with people. In our living laboratory of learning young people are not guinea pigs, they are co-researchers, actively involved in the co-construction of new knowledge.
Co-creating an integrated centre for practice and research is an ambitious aim that will take time to realise. To guide, advise, and whenever possible directly collaborate, we have assembled an incredible research panel. The panel consists of a rich mix of academics and researchers with deep expertise in a range of research paradigms and leaders of other innovative educational centres around the world. It would be hard to imagine a stronger foundation for the development of our research program. It is a real honour to have such high calibre collaborators.