ESRC

2019 Festival of Social Science Event

Mothers and fathers from one-parent families are invited to discuss their experiences – Thursday 7 November, 10am-1pm, at the Yorkshire Children’s Centre in Huddersfield

SINGLE parents still face stigma and social isolation.  Now, a special event organised by a University of Huddersfield researcher will enable mothers and fathers from one-parent families to get together and discuss their experiences.  At the end of the day, they have the chance to contribute to a film that celebrates their achievements and challenges unhelpful stereotypes.

Taking place on Thursday 7 November at the Yorkshire Children’s Centre in Huddersfield, the free event – which includes a free, staffed crèche – has been devised by Dr Nicola Carroll.  Her PhD was funded by the University and she now works as an associate lecturer in the Division of Criminology, Politics and Sociology.

“Despite one in four children now growing up with single parents, those I interviewed during my research often felt isolated and voiced extreme frustration about negative media representations that do not reflect the realities of their family lives,” said Dr Carroll.

“The parents I spoke to also expressed intense pride in their children and their achievements ­– and particularly in balancing being both the main carer and the main breadwinner for their families in most cases.  So, this event is a chance for single parents to get together in a welcoming environment, share their stories and refute myths that are still perpetuated,” she said.

Dr Carroll’s PhD study, which was supervised by Dr Tray Yeadon-Lee, focused on the experiences of lone mothers in diverse situations living in two locations in the North of England.  Now, for the event on 7 November, she is keen to also involve single fathers.  They might not experience the same media misrepresentation as single mothers, but they may be more marginalised as they make up only ten percent of single parents, according to Dr Carroll.

The workshop at the Yorkshire Children’s Centre is being held as part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s 2019 Festival of Social Science.  There will be brief presentations by Dr Carroll and her University of Huddersfield colleague Dr Berenice Golding.  Then there will be a range of thought-provoking activities enabling participants to tackle prejudice and develop more positive messages about lone parenting.

One of the activities on 7 November will be an opportunity for participants to write messages concerning lone parenting on large sheets of card.  Then a film will be made in which they hold up the cards – covering their faces to preserve anonymity – as a way of sharing the themes of the day with a wider audience.

  • Titled Challenging Single Parent Stereotypes, the event on 7 November (10am-1pm) is at the Yorkshire Children’s Centre, Brian Jackson House, New North Parade, Huddersfield HD1 5JP.  To book a free place, email n.carroll@hud.ac.uk or visit https://bit.ly/2lZXmiI.  Free refreshments are provided and a free, staffed crèche is available, although booking is required as places are limited.

Here is the video produced during the workshop as they wrote down the messages describing the ups and downs of bringing their children up on their own.