Showcasing Child Voice: Research with and by children

The QUT Centre for Child and Family Studies holds the view that children should be heard and be part of everyday decision-making, this is core to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Child Voice is a key priority area for the centre with research by centre members employing methods and methodologies that actively promote children’s voice and provide opportunities for children to be included as co-researchers and analysts of their own experiences, and for their ideas to be listened to and acted upon.

Children’s Week is an annual event celebrated in Australia whereby events and activities are organised at National, State and Local levels to celebrate the rights of children to enjoy childhood. In the lead-up to Children’s week which runs from the 22nd October to the 30th of October this year, the QUT Centre Child and Family Studies hosted a very successful online forum Showcasing child voice: Research with and by children. Two experts in the field of child voice studies Dr Caron Carter and Dr Harry Shier and upcoming QUT HDR expert Cynthia Hicban responded to this topic as they spoke about their current research with and by children.

Some highlights were hearing from Harry Shier about positioning children as researchers and as experts on certain topics and supporting them to do the research, including data collection, analysis and presenting findings at conferences and to policymakers. Caron Carter shared her research into how friendships were maintained between children during the pandemic. A key tenet from Caron’s research was to ensure children have a range of ways to express themselves. Data collected included children using collage to represent their views, draw their ideas or take photographs to share their perspectives. This combination of choice allowed children to exert agency within the research. Cynthia Hicban is a children’s author and PhD candidate within the Centre for Child and Family Studies. Cynthia shared her learnings from working with children and in particular the ways in which children’s voices are expressed, the importance of listening to children right from the beginning and committing to the fact that some of your research will be steered by the children. Cynthia also raised the question “Why should we listen to children?”– because they have a right to participate in research that is meaningful to them.

Over 140 participants registered to attend the event with many accolades to the speakers at the end of the night for sharing their inspiring work, you can view a recording of the forum below which goes for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Find out more about children’s week here.

Find out more about the Centre’s research priority area Child Voice here.

A very warm thank you to our excellent speakers Dr Caron Carter, Dr Harry Shier and Cynthia Hicban. Dr Harry Shier has made available the slides from his presentation and you can view the slides here.

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