Prof Neil Selwyn interviews Dr Adam Wood

Dr Adam Wood completed his PhD at ESRI in January 2017. The title of the work was ‘A School’s Lived Architecture: the politics and ethics of flexible learning spaces’. Since leaving us he was awarded a Leverhulme Study Abroad Studentship on ‘Italy’s school-building programme: designing space for people? – Italy and Australia.’

Currently hosted at Monash University, you can listen to a conversation between Adam and Prof. Neil Selwyn.

You can read more about Adam’s work on his personal site or the Architecture and Education blog.

Loneliness Connects Us – A youth co-researcher reflects

My involvement with the Loneliness Project stemmed from joining 42nd Street as a Peer Ambassador, in July 2017, halfway where the team had started the write-up of their findings and were beginning to develop the story for the immersive theatre production, Missing.

Fast forward to a year later, to July 2018, me and the team received the pleasant news we had been nominated for the ‘Most Inspiring Campaign’ at the Spirit of Manchester Awards ceremony to be held in October. Consequently, this would fall within the same week that I would be asked by the BBC to speak on Radio 5 regarding the experiences of youth loneliness and how youth are able (or not able) to support themselves.

I arrived at Media City just in time for my appearance on the show, as it was my first time in the studio, I was not aware one had to wear headphones. At precisely 8.04am, the producer was showing with her hands, what I was to do.

As soon as i wore the headphones, the question was posed from a producer in the room adjacent to me. He shouted;

I spoke to a man earlier who said loneliness meant he stayed at home and didn’t leave, is this something you can relate to.

Though this is the image perceived in one’s mind, in fact, I enjoy my time at home. I expressed to the radio presenter that loneliness for young people, exhibits during school hours, during holiday season, and surrounded by family and friends. The research is truly vital for voicing this issue in our society as young people are the future. There needs to be more initiatives to encourage young people to speak up about their feelings of loneliness, to encourage social media detoxes and to develop community work.

BBC Radio 5 Live link (Monday 1st October 2018, 8 am) https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0000jbd

I left the Studios feeling slightly sad, my feelings stemmed from the reality that, though I was able to contribute to this amazing research, there are still many young people who do not have access to community spaces for young people such as there are for me and many others in major cities such as Manchester, Birmingham, London.

Anyways, I was on the way to work and around 11am, I recieved a call from James from 42nd Street, who said that there’s a journalist who wants to speak to you about the research, it will be aired at 12.45 pm that day on Newsbeat. The journalist, Gurvinder, had stated that this would be pre-recorded and she asked me questions, similar to the morning interview around my personal experiences of loneliness. Again, I was not sure if what I was saying made any sense, but I had simply expressed that young people need not be afraid of being alone. It is a chance to invest in yourself. I started to learn German during a summer, between my A-Levels.

BBC Newsbeat (Monday 1st October 2018, 12.45pm) https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0000j6l 

The project is immensely important to me, and I am grateful to hear that the BBC had commissioned their own research and found that levels of loneliness are higher in younger people with 40% feeling lonely, compared with only 27% of over 75s.

The survey results indicate that 16-24 year olds experience loneliness more often and more intensely than any other age group. 40% of respondents aged 16-24 reported feeling lonely often or very often, while only 29% of people aged 65-74 and 27% of people aged over 75 said the same.

Over 55,000 people aged 16 years and over took part in the survey exploring attitudes and personal experiences of loneliness, making it the biggest survey of its kind. The survey was developed by academics at the University of Manchester, Brunel University London, and the University of Exeter, and supported by a grant from Wellcome.

Noor

Young People and Democratic Life in Greater Manchester: Launching The Chancellor’s Fellowship

Following discussions with Cllr Rishi Shori, who leads on Community Cohesion and on The Greater Manchester Combined Youth Authority, and in partnership with Youth Focus North West; Janet Batsleer has launched a new stage of our work on participation and democracy with a local flavour.

The recently completed PARTISPACE project explored the spaces and styles of young people’s participation in eight European Cities. The findings focussed on the importance of recognition of young people’s own negotiations of spaces in the city and the styles they develop in which to participate. In the UK, the idea of ‘youth participation’ has become very much focussed on those under 18 who are preparing to become active citizens, on the one hand, and on the development, improvement and ‘youth proofing’ of services on the other. But this focus on services and on formal representation is only one part of democratic engagement.

One of the recommendations of PARTISPACE is the development of a living Youth Charter, to be developed on a European wide basis, but with an open process and builds up a city-to-city network. At the same time as the process of exploring the Youth Charter idea is beginning here in Greater Manchester, colleagues in Frankfurt and in Rennes are also taking it forward.

On Friday July 20th a reference group comprising key stakeholders from across Greater Manchester Youth and Arts Sectors came together to explore, critique, debate and develop the idea of the Youth Charter. Using participatory methods facilitated by Dr James Duggan, a key member of the team from MMU, we explored the current challenges facing youth participation in Greater Manchester and began a process of imagining what a Youth Charter process might be.

From the perspective of the PARTISPACE findings, Janet Batsleer emphasised the following:

  • The importance of a grass roots focus, beyond the wealthier centres of the Greater Manchester conurbation.
  • The importance of supporting creative and open approaches

Download (PDF, 940KB)

The intention is to connect various communities and age cohorts, ranging from the 16-16 cohort on the one hand to the 26-30 cohort on the other hand. To explore the widest possible set of issues, based on a recognition of the needs and interests of the particular communities we are engaging with but to build a process that will bring people together both across Greater Manchester and potentially with other European groups.

To affiliate with the idea of the Charter, work should include the following elements:

  • A commitment to identify very specific and achievable targets, within the current system.
  • A commitment to enable young people (and their wider communities) to recognise and make a claim to their rights, even when these rights are not lived as a reality currently.
  • A commitment to enable young people to imagine things as being lived differently, such that these claims, to rights and also to life and flourishing, become a reality.
  • In terms of work with the Greater Manchester Youth Combined Authority, it is intended that these experiments in extending our understanding democracy will support the representatives on the Youth Combined Authority and also the Curriculum for Life/Greater Manchester Living Curriculum working group.

The Reference Group will gather again in December 2018.

Immediate suggestions for developing the Youth Charter will be held by Janet Batsleer (email: J.Batsleer@mmu.ac.uk) and the developments undertaken during the autumn will be shared then. So far suggestions include sharing the ‘Safer Person’ initiative led by The Proud Trust; events linked to the International Day of the Girl Child, led by Empowerment People; a Playful Charter (led by James Duggan) – there will certainly be more. Exploring the links between the inter-personal space and the online world of connection will be to fore and was a significant thread of this initial discussion, as was the question of how best to respond democratically in a life which is shaped by intense monitoring, surveillance and control.

Janet Batsleer

Arts-based Methods Group: End of the academic year get together

Monday 9th July 1-4:30pm

Room 1.66 Brooks Building

All welcome, no need to book

Using poor theatre to research poor theatre

Janet Batsleer, MMU and Jenny Hughes, University of Manchester

 Janet Batsleer and Jenny Hughes have a long standing Manchester-based collaboration and interest in the ways applied theatre and critical street based and community projects collide, cooperate and unsettle both welfare and  arts practice. In this session, Janet will invite Jenny Hughes to talk about how she used theatre as a research method in the recent Poor Theatres project.

http://blog.poortheatres.manchester.ac.uk/

Feeling Odd in ….

Kate Pahl, MMU

This AHRC funded project explores the concept of ‘Odd’ through an interdisciplinary lens that includes art practice and new materialism, drawing on site specific creative co-productive work in schools with teachers and young people. One initial project has worked with the idea of ‘Odd boxes’ and has involved re-imagining the idea of ‘Odd’ from the point of young people. In this presentation, we discuss the intersection between co-production, theoretically driven research and practice-oriented approaches to consider the possibilities of ‘Odd’ research within the academy and beyond. We engage with the different traditions of research, from artistic methodologies including practice-as-research, residency-as-method to participatory modes of inquiry with children and young people. The ‘Odd’ project throws up issues of voice, feeling, affect and collaborative inquiry, all key areas for arts-based research and wonders what it is like to be ‘Odd’ in the world of research.

Telling Stories: objectivity, uncertainty and agency with practice-as-research

James Oliver, Monash University

This workshop (or interactive seminar) is focussed on our ‘methodological’ imagination and the formations (or relationality/praxis) of methodology as content. Participants should bring with them an object (or ‘thing’) that in some manner pertains to their research practice, research situation or research identity. This ‘thing’ will be used to develop a story on objectivity and agency for the participants.

For more information refer to the arts-based methods website.

Youth loneliness research on @SVT

The Loneliness Connects Us youth co-research was featured on Swedish TV @SVT station’s Correspondents series. As the programme billed it:

The epidemic of loneliness. The lack of human contacts is as dangerous as high blood pressure or extreme overweight. What can Sweden learn from a small British city, where it managed to stop the epidemic? Program leader: Lena Scherman and Bengt Norborg. Part 10 of 10.

ESRI at American Education Research Association 2018 conference

Academics from ESRI presented their research last month at the 2018 AERA conference in New York. The overall theme of the conference was ‘The Dreams, Possibilities, and Necessity of Public Education’, and with over 17,000 attendees, the annual conference is organised around a number of Divisions, Sections and Special Interest Groups (SIGs).

David Menendez Alvarez-Hevia and Karen Pashby presented (on behalf of co-authors Edda Sant and Jane McDonnell) “Agonistic Controversial” Issues as a Pedagogy for Global Citizenship Education“, within the Democratic Citizenship and Education Special Interest Group. The paper described findings of research workshops aimed to generate an agonistic space in which ideas on global citizenship were discussed without seeking consensus. Karen Pashby also presented (on behalf of co-author Louise Sund of Malardalen University) ‘Rethinking Teaching Sustainability and Global Ethics for U.N. Sustainable Development Goal Target 4.7: Engaging Swedish Upper Secondary Teachers’.

Liz de Freitas presented a paper ‘Dyscalculia, neuroscience and time: Rethinking the biopolitics of the body’ (on behalf of co-author Nathalie Sinclair), within the Disability Studies in Education SIG. David Rousell presented three papers in the Environmental Education SIG. His papers were titled Creatures of Experience: Towards an ecological aesthetics of childhood in an age of climate change (w/ Amy Cutter-Mackenzie). Ecological Aesthetics: New spaces, directions, and potentials (w/ Dilafruz Williams); and The ChildhoodNature Companion: Art, writing and research by children and young people (w/ Joshua Russell).

 Sarah Truman presented in four sessions across various Special Interest Groups including: ‘Inhuman Literacies’ in Division B; ‘Racial Ontologies and the New Materialisms’ in the Qualitative Research SIG; ‘Walking methodologies in a more-than-human world’ in the Qualitative Research SIG; and ‘Public Pedagogies and the Arts’ in the Arts-Based Educational Research SIG. (Sarah’s attendance at AERA was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and WalkingLab.) Also as part of the symposium ‘Walking methodologies in a more-than-human world‘, Michael Gallagher presented ‘Sound beyond meaning: listening walks as pedagogy‘ on behalf of my co-authors Jonathan Prior, Martin Needham and Rachel Holmes.

Kate Pahl convened a symposium on ‘Rethinking Literacy Ontologies Through the Eyes of Participants, Objects, and Sites: Public Pedagogies of Possibility’. This was part of the Writing and Literacies Special Interest Group. As part of this symposium. Kate Pahl and Hugh Escott gave a paper on ‘Prescriptivism and Inhuman Literacies: Rethinking Language and Schooling for Public Pedagogies’. Christina MacRae also presented in this panel her paper called ‘Colliding bodies and vibrant objects’, uses Harraway’s notion of ‘tentacular’ thinking to explore ‘object conflict’ in a class of two-year olds. Finally, also in this symposium Abigail Hackett and Pauliina Rautio presented ‘Corresponding with the world as early childhood literacy ontology’, in which they offered a new orientation for early childhood literacy, away from mastery of and naming of the world towards a deepened entanglement with the more-than-human.

“It was my first AERA and I found it extremely enriching and overwhelming. I had the opportunity to attend to some presentations that provided me with a flavour of some of the main trends, concerns and interest in educational research in the context of USA. It allowed me to come out of the “UK-European bubble”.

David Menendez Alvarez-Hevia, Senior Lecturer, School of Childhood, Youth and Education Studies

 

“I was immensely proud of the breadth of ESRI’s research represented at AERA and the world-leading nature of the papers. As Head of ESRI it is a privilege to witness my colleagues’ amazing work”.

Kate Pahl, Head of ESRI

Bibliotherapy Day – Manchester, 5th September

Booking is now open for the bibliotherapy day in Manchester on 5th September.

Join us for a day of sharing and discussion about bibliotherapy – the use of books and other reading materials to support health and wellbeing.

The event is open to anyone, whether you’re new to bibliotherapy or have experience of using fiction, poetry or self-help materials for wellbeing.

The morning will include a choice of workshops, including ‘Using wellbeing-themed stories and poems’; ‘Playful methods of bibliotherapy’; ‘Creative writing as bibliotherapy’; and ‘Running and setting up a reading group’.

The afternoon will see discussions on a range of topics, to be chosen in consultation with delegates.

We’ll also be celebrating the launch of our book, Bibliotherapy.

You can book a place here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/bibliotherapy-day-tickets-45975304373

Investigating the impact of the Street Child World Cup

Investigating the impact of the Street Child World Cup: Researchers head to Moscow, ahead of the FIFA World Cup

Over 200 street-connected young people from across the world will come together today in Moscow for the third Street Child World Cup and researchers from Manchester Metropolitan University will be joining them to explore the tournament’s impact.

The Street Child World Cup uses the power of football to raise awareness and tackle the widespread stigma faced by street-connected children, inspiring countries, governments and communities to better protect, respect and support street-connected children everywhere.

The international football competition will bring together 24 national teams, made up of girls and boys, to represent their countries on the pitch. Off the pitch, the young people will make their voices heard at a festival of arts and Congress for their rights, calling for the rights of millions of children living and working on the streets worldwide.

Dr Su Lyn Corcoran, Research Associate at the Manchester Metropolitan University’s Education and Social Research Institute, and Dr Jeremy Oldfield, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, will be exploring the impact participating in the Street Child World Cup has on the young people who take part, the communities they belong to, and the organisations who support their participation.

Understanding the impact

Dr Oldfield said: “As advocacy is increasingly played out on international platforms, this research is important to understand how the ‘ambassador’ role as a voice for other street-connected young people affects the players’ own particular journeys away from the street.”

Examples of advocacy campaigns, like the Street Child World Cup: The Future Depends on You 2018, can provide young people with opportunities to journey to a new country, or countries.

Such journeys can develop positive representations of the communities that these young people belong to and provide audiences and potential donors with first-hand experience or ‘relationships’ with them.

They are also used to amplify the voices of the young people participating, offering them an opportunity to be heard advocating for themselves.

Run by Street Child United in association with Save the Children and leading Russian telecoms operator MegaFon, the Street Child World Cup offers researchers the opportunity to explore an international advocacy campaign’s impact on participants, multiple organisations from many different countries and the wider communities to which the young people belong.

Post-event, Dr Corcoran and Dr Oldfield will have the opportunity to investigate the extent to which taking on the role of self-advocate positively impacts upon the continuation of a young person’s reintegration journey away from the street and how they figure their own identities as having been street-connected within the publicity of participation in a high-profile event.

Dr Corcoran said: “In events such as the Street Child World Cup, competitors leave their homes in predominantly impoverished areas of large towns and capital cities to become the centre of attention for two weeks before returning to their ‘normal lives’. Exploring their experiences and their later transitions back into home communities means we can better understand the impact of participating in such events.

“This could inform the development of frameworks for both the organisation of similar events and managing the transition of participants returning home. Understanding both the positive impact and challenges arising from participation could also inform the development of programmes that model similar opportunities locally and internationally – especially those that change aspirations and build on these aspirations for the benefit of the participants and their communities.”

Dr Su Corcoran is fundraising for the 2018 #StreetChildWorldCup. 
Support by texting SCWC47 £10 to 70070 or visiting https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/su-scwc

Reposted from https://www2.mmu.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/story/7721/

Loneliness Connects Us: All our emotions are important

The Loneliness Connects Us youth co-research developed by researchers at ESRI and young people from 42nd Street has been republished as part of the Co-op Foundations’ new report All our emotions are important: Breaking the silence about youth loneliness – below. The report supplements the arts-based, qualitative research with a survey of 2,000 young people on perceptions of youth loneliness and barriers to talking about the issue.

Download (PDF, 20.01MB)

Loneliness Connects Us – Bury Seminar, 23rd June

Building on the Loneliness Connects Us research and in particular the Youth Seminar, we are supporting groups in Bury, Greater Manchester, to host a participatory seminar to develop community-based strategies for reducing loneliness.

Download (PDF, 6.09MB)

Loneliness Connects Us – Bury Seminar event is being run by St Michael’s and St Bernadette’s Parish, with MMU and 42nd Street.

23rd June, 10am – 4pm, St Michael’s Hall, Whitefield, M45 8JN

The starting point is that loneliness is of major concern and not only affects the old but the young and the whole community.

The event aims to raise awareness and explore effective support within the community.

The intended audience are teachers and councillors, parents, GPs, social services, mental health services, young people, youth leaders, and members of the community.

This will be a collaborative event, full of research-informed and arts-inspired, activities to help us collectively create solutions to reduce loneliness.

So join us for an interactive seminar that will enable you to voice your ideas and opinions to end loneliness.

For more information and to register visit the Eventbrite page