Speculative Fictions and Curricular Futures

Envisioning Rural Educational Utopia


  • Rachael Bell First Nations Education Lead with Anglophone School District - North in New Brunswick
  • Adrian Downey Mount Saint Vincent University
  • Alicia F. Noreiga University of New Brunswick, Faculty of Education
  • Courtney Pyrke University of New Brunswick




Situated within the local context of New Brunswick—a small, mostly rural, Canadian province with an aging population and a steady influx of new residents from other countries—this article speculates new curricular possibilities beyond the post-industrial and neoliberal structures of current curriculum and schooling. The authors approach their speculation creatively through a collectively-authored narrative meant to engage the idea of educational utopia within their shared place. In a subsequent discussion of the narrative, the authors reflect on the global phenomenon of neoliberal ideological intrusion into curriculum as manifest in New Brunswick, as well as the myriad forms that intrusion can take. Specifically, the authors discuss: the continued modeling of the school system on adult work, the rigid control of time and the dangers of flexibility in schooling, the desire to expand concepts of community involvement in education, and the urgent necessity of racial equity work in rural spaces. In concluding their discussion, the authors highlight the potential of dreaming new curricular possibilities to disrupt the status quo of education locally and globally.

Author Biographies

Rachael Bell, First Nations Education Lead with Anglophone School District - North in New Brunswick

Rachael Bell is a First Nations Education Lead with Anglophone School District - North in New Brunswick. She has an undergraduate degree from Western University in History and Jewish Studies, as well as a Bachelor of Education and a Master of Education in Critical Studies from The University of New Brunswick.

Adrian Downey, Mount Saint Vincent University

Adrian M. Downey is an Assistant professor at Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU). He has undergraduate degrees from Bishop's University in education and music, as well as a Master of Arts in Education from MSVU and a PhD in Educational Studies from The University of New Brunswick.

Alicia F. Noreiga, University of New Brunswick, Faculty of Education

Alicia F. Noreiga is a PhD candidate at the University of New Brunswick: Faculty of Education, where she pursues studies in Rural Education. She has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and a Master of Education Degree (Curriculum and Education Leadership) both from the University of New Brunswick.

Courtney Pyrke, University of New Brunswick

Courtney Pyrke (they/them) is a PhD student at the University of New Brunswick in the Interdisciplinary Studies program. They have an undergraduate degree from the University of New Brunswick, as well as a Master of Library and Information Sciences degree from the University of Western Ontario.


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