Professor of Childhood Studies Helen Lomax, Research Fellow Kate Smith (Centre for Applied Childhood, Youth and Family Research), Ellie Brickwood, Jo McEvoy and Kathrine Jensen, alongside Visual Artist Belinda Walsh have developed a project to work with primary schoolchildren, supporting them to visually chronicle life during the coronavirus pandemic and what supports their wellbeing. The research project runs from July 2020-March 2021.
The research team developed a creative approach to meet the specific challenges of carrying out research with children during a time when the pandemic measures meant face-to-face research was not possible.
Working with Belinda Walsh, a set of seven digital animations were created by and for children - this one introducing the project and one for each activity during Phase One (English school holidays - July-August 2020). These combine stop-start animation, cartoons, line drawings, collage and photographs to visually communicate the project as well as illustrating the variety of creative possibilities and the encouragement to work with 'any combination of these’.
There were six weeks of activity in this first phase of the project, each with a theme and an associated activity sheet with creative resources which provided a digital and printable text to prompt, stimulate and encourage children’s reflections.
The six themes were developed from research by the Children’s Society Ways to wellbeing: Exploring the links between children’s activities & subjective wellbeing (2014) which have been adapted to help children to reflect on their experiences during the pandemic.
The activity sheets and videos, which are freely available to teachers, parents and anyone interested in supporting and/or researching with children during the pandemic can be downloaded here. Please cite as: Lomax, H.; Smith, K. and Walsh, B. (2020). CHEER digital resources. University of Huddersfield. https://doi.org/10.34696/es1k-0976
What have you noticed at home, outside or somewhere else?
Have you been doing anything to care for the environment?
Did you help someone with something?
Who are you spending time with?
How have you been active during the pandemic?
What have you learned during pandemic?
Evidence has already been submitted to the Education Select Committee on the impact of school closure on children's wellbeing.
The team are currently conducting virtual photo-elicitation interviews with the children now that they have returned to school. Children will also take part in arts workshops to generate key messages for parents, teachers and policy-makers about what has supported them and what has challenged their mental and physical health and learning. The children’s digital animation will be available early next year.
For updates about the research, including the animation made with children and free resources for working creatively with children, please go to our website Back Chat: Developing arts-based methods of knowledge generation and exchange with children during times of global crisis or follow @LomaxHelen on twitter.
Story by Kathrine Jensen and Helen Lomax.