University Of Tasmania

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Supporting multidisciplinary networks through relationality and a critical sense of belonging: three 'gardening tools' and the Relational Agency Framework

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 13:31 authored by Iris DuhnIris Duhn, Fleer, M, Harrison, L

This article focuses on the Relational Agency Framework (RAF), an analytical tool developed for an Australian review and evaluation study of an early years' policy initiative. We explore Anne Edward's concepts of relational expertise, building common knowledge and relational agency to explore how Edwards' concepts, which she refers to as 'gardening tools', and the RAF work together to support early years multidisciplinary networks. We argue that early childhood professionals who come together in a multidisciplinary network develop their collective capabilities through relationality and a focus on belonging. The RAF embeds Edwards' relational concepts and enables the exploration and articulation of how network participants' individual, discipline-specific knowledge and expertise augments to support collectively transformative practice within their network, their place and wider community. We conclude that a sense of belonging is foundational to the emergence of such relational agency in networks. Tools such as the 'gardening tools' and the RAF offer possibilities for addressing the challenges of how to support collaboration between government, early years professionals and communities to work holistically in the best interest of all children and their families.


Publication title

International Journal of Early Years Education








Faculty of Education



Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Early childhood education