Transforming Childhoods Symposium
14th June 2017
1.00pm – 4.30pm
Venue: Dalhousie Building
This session is being run by the Transforming Childhoods Research Network.
Participatory and inclusive practices that recognise children and young people’s perspectives as being fundamental to working effectively and respectfully across generational boundaries have made significant advances in recent years. This includes increased recognition of the complex power relations that influence all aspects of participatory and inclusive practice. Despite this, Northern methodological discourse has tended to remain focused on how to enable a child to express their voice; while this is an essential aspect to participatory practice it overlooks the complexity of how power influences all aspects of children’s lives, from the development of language and processes of communication through to the very real power differentials in legal disputes over parental care and responsibility. Further, the compartmentalised nature of modern life means that practitioners are required to work with children from one perspective or focusing on component of their lives, often linked to the service provided. However the child’s reality is not compartmentalised and despite the attention given to interdisciplinary working, variations in theoretical understanding, practice approaches, and professional objectives result in the child needing to negotiate a range of relationships that differ both methodologically and with regard to desired outcomes. Essentially, the reality remains that participatory practice is too often interpreted to be about enabling the child to engage in adult life rather than challenging the adult-centricism that permeates everyday experiences.
The aim of this short symposium is to begin a dialogue that extends across professional and generational boundaries to identify how we can deepen participatory and inclusive practices with children and young people. While not offering solutions, this event will be an opportunity to initiate a dialogue that will enable recognition of good practice alongside identifying the key challenges to developing participatory practices that respond to and are led by children and young people.
This event is funded by the Institute of Social Sciences Research.