ESRC Festival of the Social Sciences 

ESRC-funded £2k per project

From 2011 to 2015 I took part in the ESRC’s Festival of the Social Sciences. The aim of this festival is to provide people beyond Universities with insight into academic research. Speciafically, I was interested in how we can provide children with insight in to academic research, especially given that my research is always with them. 

Apps for Play & Creativity 

With Jackie Marsh

This event sought to disseminate findings on an ESRC-funded project about apps that promote play and creativity. The event took place in the Sheffield Winter Garden and children were invited to play apps that had been found to beneficial for children in the study. Children’s play was projected on a large screen in the centre of the Winter Garden in a style that mimicked e-sports. Giant bean bags were spread around the space to encourge children and families to sit and watch. 
The key findings from research study about what kinds of apps promote play and creativity were offered to families attending the event. 

Emoji Quilt: Materialising Emotions

With Caroline Claisse & Xinglin Sun

This was a workshop concieved of by Caroline and Xinglin as a way to disseminate our AHRC network on developing videogames for hospitalised children. It took place at Weston Park Museum in Sheffield because of its location opposite the Children’s Hospital. They chose the idea of a quilt, and its multiple layers that come together t build comfort. To represent these layers they provided three transparent babbles, which participants then used to respond to one of the images of play used in the card game Hospital Heights. Participants then responded to the image by (1) drawing a face on one babble (similar to the emoji idea used in an earlier Tangible Emotion Workshop), (2) a story along with the chosen image and (3) materials to represent their emotions in relation to their story.  

Keep taking the tablets: children exploring research on ipad story apps with professionals from children’s media industry

With Jackie Marsh

Hide and Seek: Children as social scientists

With Lisa Procter

The event was an opportunity to showcase social science research to a young audience and also provided an opportunity for children to practice social science as a means of finding new ways to engage them in research findings that concern them.  In doing so, it took the belief that children are social scientists at every stage of the research process. The children who attended the event were given a chance to explore two ESRC-funded projects (one belonging to me and one to Lisa Procter). These were two projects that involved child participants in the role of data collectors, and demonstrated innovative and original research about how spaces and places contribute to children's well-being. We showed the festival participants how other children acted as social scientists in the aiding of data collection for the studies. Additionally the key findings from the projects demonstrate that promoting children's spatial agency is integral to their well-being, especially given that many spaces for children are designed and managed by adults.

We also sought to allow child-participants to see how they can also be social scientists in their engagement with the research findings. The event aimed to have a positive impact on the young participants' lives by reflecting back to them that the way they see the world is important.  To do this children created small clay sculptures in response to the research projects. We then captured the children’s key interests in research by asking them about their sculpture. Children were then invited to walk through their city, and  place their sculptures in spaces of their own choosing (i.e. a small hole in a wall, on a seat in a bus shelter). Each sculpture will be accompanied by a Twitter hashtag, encouraging passersby to leave a message on Twitter. 

Children, Young People & Research

With Jackie Marsh, Abi Hackett and Lisa Procter

At this event, hosted by the School of Education at the University of Sheffield as part ofthe ESRC Festival of Social Sciences, educational researchers and young researchparticipants will present a range of educational research projects engaging with diversetopics includingchildren’s literacy,playground games and rhymes,emotions in educationandlearning beyond the classroom.The hands-on event will enable young people and adults to interact with the research in anengaging, reflective and playful way. Through doing so we aim to explore, together, howresearch relates to young people’s everyday lives in and beyond school, from theirperspectives.This is afree eventrun in two sessions. Children, teachers, parents and members of thepublic are welcome to attend one or both sessions

Reflecting upon research with children and young people- Dylan Yamada-RiceIn this workshop children, young people and adults will together create an art-piece to beexhibited after the event. Through creating this art-piece participants will reflect upon howbest to involve children and young people in educational research, what can be learnt fromdoing so and how this research can be used to benefit education.