Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth #cscy

Yesterday I attended a launch event for an exhibition put on by the Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth here at Sheffield University. The pictures are from the research exhibition. The Centre's website is at
There were short presentations about three interdisciplinary projects. Firstly, Kate Pahl talked about a project funded by the AHRC's Connected Communities programme, Communication wisdom: a study of the uses of fishing in youth work. Their aim is to consider the role of fishing in youth work. It is participatory research, including working with young people to make films and online texts to produce a "Compleat Angler 2.0". They identified that the calm and concentration experienced whilst fishing was helpful to the young people, and indeed to the adults working with them. There was also an intergenerational angle, in that older, experienced anglers were teaching the young people to fish.

The second project was Beyond Family Centred Care, which Penny Curtis introduced. This focuses on the care of children in hospital, where "family centred care" has been the approach for some time in the UK: in other words involving parents in care and decision making. However "parenting in public" like this can be stressful, and nurses can find it difficult to share decision making. Additionally, there is still a lot to be discovered in terms of what children want and how they experience the care.
The project aims to get three perspectives (children's, parents' and nurses') through an ethnographic study. From initial findings: there seems to be a division between clinical care (done by nurses) and everyday care (done by parents). The parents seem to feel that they should be, and they are expected to, look after their child in hospital 24/7, which can be very stressful when the parents cannot do this. The children perfer a parent to help with basic care, but if they are in hospital for longer, they would like more (different) company, which means they have to be proactive in finding someone. There is limited information given to parents and children when they're on the ward (it might be assumed by nurses that people would remember from a previous admission, but that's not necessarily so).

The final presentation was from Rosie Parnell, on Designing with Children, funded the Leverhulme Trust. The research question is: what do spatial designers learn from creative dialogue with children and what impact does this have on the design process? There is a nice website at and are looking for more examples where designers have involved children in the design of spaces. If any blog reader knows of one (e.g. in designing a children's library or school library) do contact them! The researchers then follow up to find out how the children were involved and what the impact was on the designers and the ultimate design. Some early findings included: that designers valued the children's lack of attention to the conventions e.g. saying if they didn't like something, and being less constrained by issues of cost or social convention. They also felt that it, for example, gave the designers possibilities to be more playful in design.

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