AHRC Project – Stories to connect with: disadvantaged children creating ‘phygital’ community artefacts to share their life-narratives of resilience and transformation (2015-2017).
We are a multi-disciplinary group of researchers from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) and Lancaster University, committed to understanding children and young people as experts of their own lives. This project has been instigated in response to an idea put forward by a group of young people , involved in UCan (the young researcher group working with the Centre for Children and Young People’s Participation). They wanted to create opportunities to utilise participatory research as a means to share other children’s and young people’s stories of resilience and transformation within the wider community.
This project aims to harness the power of the interactivity and connectivity of sharing children’s and young people’s stories of resilience. The project has been instigated to respond to aims set by a group of young people associated with Barnardo’s ‘Include me 2’ project, who wish to create further opportunities for participatory research and storytelling, building on work they have previously carried out with UCLan. Using their definition of community as ‘a group of people who work together to help each other out’, children in care and disabled young people involved with ‘Include me 2’ participation work will reach out to other children and young people who use Barnardo’s services in Lancashire such as ‘Early Family Intervention’, ‘Targeted Youth Support’, ‘Young Carers’, ‘Edge of Care’ and ‘Short Breaks for Young People with Disabilities’. Such families’ particular circumstances mean that they often occupy a marginal place in and at the edge of wider society, and it is this ‘edge’ that we intend to dissolve. Young researchers will be trained to conduct interviews and collect stories from other children and young people using these services. The young researchers will work with well-known children’s authors including Melvin Burgess and Adele Geras to refine their stories; they will co-design bespoke Internet of Things (IoT) ‘phygital’ (physical-digital) artefacts with the project designers; and they will use these unique interconnected phygital objects to re-tell the stories to a wider community of children, parents and other stakeholders. The aim of using phygital objects is to re-present these stories in a very tangible manner and provide a greater range of dissemination and interaction modalities, thereby helping the children and young people to fulfil their desire to ‘work together to help each other out’ and improve both the lives of and links between members of their community, especially those on the edge of care. Recognizing children and young people as experts on their own lives, the research will be supported by Barnardo’s in partnership with academic researchers in Literacy/Education (Dr Candice Satchwell), Design (Dr Paul Coulton), Social Work (Dr Cath Larkins), Literature for Children and Young People (Dr Helen Day), and Health (Prof Bernie Carter) from the University of Central Lancashire and Lancaster University.