THE University of Huddersfield's Professor of Childhood Studies Helen Lomax from the School of Education and Professional Development and Senior Research Fellow Kate Smith from the School of Human and Health Sciences have been awarded a prestigious grant by the British Academy.
The project - 'Back Chat' - will work inclusively with children living in different and disadvantaged localities in the north of England, prioritising hearing directly from children about the impacts of pandemic policies on their lives. Developing collaborative, socially-distanced arts-based methods with children, the research will also explore representations of children in policy and policy reporting during times of global crisis.
'Back Chat' responds to the critique that children have few opportunities to articulate their views on UK policy, their voices have been silenced and their participation actively marginalised during the pandemic in the UK. This includes children’s compliance with each new restriction on free movement, offering little opportunity for children to ‘answer back’.
Facilitated by the team’s expertise in emerging new practices of ‘distanced’ participatory action research, over the next eighteen months children will visually chronicle their experiences using creative, digital art-based media.
Findings will be captured in visual outputs from the research to support the exchange of key messages from children to policy makers, educators and other children. Children’s requests to be heard by these audiences was identified in earlier research undertaken by the team - ‘Corona Chronicles’ – which was carried out at the outset of the pandemic with children who chronicled life in early national lockdowns and school re-openings.
The team will be presenting their findings from the Corona Chronicles research study at a HudCRES research seminar on Thursday 18 March at 4pm titled: Beyond the Headlines: Children, Young People and Families during Covid19.