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Dr Nikki Fairchild

Senior Lecturer | 01243 816287

I am the programme lead for BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies. This role includes the strategic direction of the programmes and part of this is to manage the delivery and student experience of the degrees. I take a lead in teaching, mentoring and assessing students across a range of courses and supporting their academic journey with us.

My specialist areas are professionalism, leadership and practitioner identity and my teaching mirrors these interests. I also teach on the level BA (Hon) Early Childhood Level 6 Top Up and the Foundation Degree in Early Years. Furthermore, my role also includes engaging with current and future students during induction and open days.

My PhD research interests and publications see me using Posthumanist theorising, including the work of Deleuze and Guattari and New Material Feminists to extend existing theorisations of professionalism and professional identity in Early Childhood Education and Care. I am also part of an international network working with post-qualitative research creation events in Europe.


Funding awarded from external sources:

1. The Sociological Review Foundation (2018-19) Kickstart Grant for the research project ‘Unsettling Early Childhood Education and Care classrooms: Ecological relations, professionals and more-than-human subjectivities.’ (Value £3,400)

This project engages with posthuman methodologies to unsettle humanist visions of subjectivity and professional identity for Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) professionals. It explores how ECEC Professionals (working with children from birth to five) negotiate classrooms and outdoor spaces to reveal ecological relational connections with human and non-human bodies activating expanded forms of subjectivity and enactments within a more-than-human world. Adopting a 'walking-with' methodology (Springgay and Truman, 2018) ensures humans are not the only ‘object’ of study but that a host of other materialities, affects, elements, things and objects deserve attention as vital ontological players. In this conception matter has agentic potential and breaking nature: culture binaries open up more generative visions for relational more-than-human connections (Barad, 2007) which can help theorise ‘other-than-socially-constructed components of subjectivity’ (Lara et al., 2017: 31).

2. HEA funding (2014) for a research project into professional identity formation with 2GEP Early Years Professionals (Value £1,250).

This project funding enabled a small scale research project into teaching and learning on the Graduate Entry Pathway (GEP) Early Years Professional Status (EYPS) course. It explored the EYPS candidates’ perceptions of the University taught sessions and how this impacted them in their practice placements and ultimately their future employment. From these findings suggestions were made as to how these taught sessions/placement impacted their shifting professional identity.


  1.  Principal investigator on ‘An evaluation of the Boogie Mites Parent Music Education Programmes in respect of parents and practitioners’ (£10,000, Commissioned by Boogie Mites UK Ltd). Completed November 2013. (Fairchild, N. and Karousou, R. (2013) An Evaluation of the Boogie Mites Early Years Music Education Programmes in respect of parents and practitioners).





Conference Presentations

Fairchild, N. (2018) ‘Early Years Teachers – A posthuman identity’ paper presented at the Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network Meeting, London Metropolitan University, United Kingdom. 7 July 2018.

Rantala, T. and Fairchild, N. (2018) ‘(Play)fulness, politics and encounters in feminist (post)qualitative inquiry: diffractive experi(m)ents with ecological bodies to materialize gender-in-the-making’ paper presented at PhEmaterialisms conference, UCL and University of Middlesex, United Kingdom. 8-9 June 2018.

Carey, N., Fairchild. N., Koro-Ljungberg, M., Benozzo, A., Taylor, C. and Elmenhorst, C. (2018) ‘(Un)mannered places: tables as spaces of (mis)rule’ paper presented at the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA. 17-20 May 2018.

Fairchild, N. (2018) ‘Posthumanism and the ethics and politics of Early Years Teacher identity’ invited panel member and contributor to ‘Sociology and the New Materialisms’ paper presented at British Sociological Association conference, Northumbria University, United Kingdom. 10-12 April 2018.

Fairchild, N., Carey, N., Koro-Ljungberg, M., Benozzo, A., Taylor, C., Cozza, M. and Elmenhorst, C. (2018) ‘Working through/with nomadic (post)research: Bag experimentations’ paper presented at European Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, Leuven, Belgium. 7-9 February 2018.

Carey, N., Koro-Ljungberg, M., Benozzo, A., Taylor, C., Cozza, M., Fairchild, N. and Elmenhorst, C. (2017) ‘Autopsy goes rogue: a theatrical experiment on method’ paper presented at After method in organization studies III.  Malardalen University, Vasteras, Sweden.  27-29 September 2017.

Fairchild, N. (2017) ‘Earthworm disturbances in/through Early Years Teacher Assemblages: a reconfiguration of methodology and methods’, paper presented at Summer Institute in Qualitative Research: Putting Theory to Work, Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom. 10-14 July 2017.

Elmenhorst, C., Fairchild, N., Taylor, C., Koro-Ljungberg, M., Benozzo, A. & Carey, N. (2017) ‘Bag experiments: Working the borders of gender fluidity’ paper presented at the Gender and Education Association Conference, Middlesex, United Kingdom. 23-25 June 2017.

Fairchild, N. (2017) ‘Cyborg fusions in a (class)room of goddesses’, paper presented as part of Taylor, C. and Fairchild, N. ‘Research-Creation-Workshop: Viscous Porosity and the Micropolitics of Bodily Fusions’ at the Gender and Education Association Conference, Middlesex, United Kingdom. 23-25 June 2017.

Abbot, R., Fairchild, N., Lyndon, S. and Mikuska, E. (2016) ‘Problematising the concept of ‘voice’ in Early Childhood research’. Innovation Session presented at BERA Conference, Leeds, United Kingdom, September 2016.

Fairchild, N. (2016) ‘Working in the umbra: methodological uncertainty and affective flows.’ Paper presented at Gender, Work and Organization 9th Biennial International Interdisciplinary conference, Keele, United Kingdom, July 2016.

Fairchild, N. (2015) ‘Early Years Teacher – A Posthuman Identity’. Paper presented at BERA Conference, Belfast, Northern Ireland, September 2015.

Fairchild, N. (2014) “‘A New Direction’: The changing face of English Early Childhood Education and Care Policy.” Paper presented at BERA Conference, London, United Kingdom, September 2014.

Fairchild, N. (2014) “A deconstruction of English Early Childhood Education and Care Policy – the Early Years Foundation Stage.” Paper presented at the Education Research and Development Showcase, University of Chichester, United Kingdom, May 2014.

Fairchild, N. (2014) “Employment Based Routes: an exploration of the next steps for Early Years Initial Teacher Training”. Paper presented at the Monro Conference, University of Chichester, United Kingdom, May 2014.

Fairchild, N. (2013) “Early Years – Formal Education Too Soon”. Paper presented at the University of Chichester Research Conference, Chichester, United Kingdom, July 2013.

Fairchild, N. (2012) “All that effort to get here: now what? – Early Years Professionals reflect on their journey in light of the Nutbrown Review in England”. Paper presented at the TACTYC Conference, Birmingham, United Kingdom, November 2012.

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