Keynote Alicja R. Sadownik, PhD

Associate professor at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

Children’s Playful Entanglements as a Matter of Sustainable Economies and Justice-to-Come

This short lecture will shed light on sustainable economies and social justice as matters of landscapes for children’s playful engagement with different forms of materiality. Even if the global economy has in recent years offered interesting circular, regenerative, and redistributing models (such as Kate Rawroth’s ‘Doughnut Economics’ ), this lecture will try to approach economic issues by taking a departure in children’s exploration, play, learning, and theories that embrace these activities in context. Two large theoretical perspectives, the Cultural-Historical Wholeness Approach and New Materialism, will be entangled in an analysis of diverse empirical examples of children’s exploration, non-compliant learning and play in kindergartens, museums, and health centres. As both theoretical approaches underline the context’s constitutive role in activities for children, I will discuss the possibilities of rethinking sustainable economies and social justice that lie within these theories. Regardless their joint focus on the context, each theory offers a different ontology (of activity, exploration, and play) that can be applied to other aspects of economy and social justice.


About the speaker

Alicja R. Sadownik, PhD, is an associate professor at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences and a researcher at the Kindergarten Knowledge Centre KINDknow. Her research is concentrated on children and families in highly diverse contexts in which diversity is related to social justice and equal opportunities for participation and play. Alicja has been active for several years in interdisciplinary projects with the City of Bergen, engaging the health and culture sectors to co-create sustainable changes across institutions involved in early childhood. She has published articles in international and Scandinavian journals focused on childhoods and education. Her keynote lecture will intertwine several of her publications:

Sadownik, A. R., Bastiansen, G., & Gabi, J. (2022). Noncompliant Learning: Diffracting SpaceTimes, Intra-active Ropes, and a Museum’s Roping into the City through a Curious Child, Video Journal of Education and Pedagogy (published online ahead of print 2022) doi:

Sadownik, A. R., & Gabi, J. (2021). (Re)imagining Entangled Sustainability: A Human and Nonhuman Theorisation of Belonging to Safeguard Sustainability’s Holism. Sustainability13(9), 4714. doi:


Sadownik, A. R. (2020). Superdiversity as a trajectory of diversity in Norwegian early childhood education and care: From a collection of differences to participation and becoming. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood21(4), 284-296


Sadownik, A. R. (2017). Dark play as a misrecognized need for redistributing (digital) goods: An example from an egalitarian society. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood18(2), 127–144.