Tracing the real and the mediated in children's cultural worlds.
Face 2 Face is a 12 month project that aims to develop methodological tools for researching the temporal rhythms of children's everyday lives - be these the long and slow processes that might be captured in stories that children and families tell about themselves, or the more intensive temporalities that structure the course of a day or characterise the life cycle of a 'craze' or an argument. Funded by the National Centre for Research Methods, the project will develop and evaluate a range of methods for exploring the movement between face-to-face and online interactions.
Starting in September 2013, the project comprises two linked parts. The first extends family case studies developed as part of the ESRC-funded Making Modern Mothers research (2005-10) through which children - now eight years old - were followed from before birth. The original research team will re-visit five families and repeat methods originally piloted with adults: a 'day in a life' observation, 'favourite things' object-based interviews, and a 'recursive scrapbook'.
The second part of the research will run concurrently to establish a new panel of co-researchers aged 12-14 with whom the team will develop intensive, mobile methods for exploring movement between face-to-face and online interaction, combining ethnographic observation and widely available technologies for tracking and collating digital material. The research will focus on the ways in which families define interactions in temporal terms, for example 'play time', 'screen time', 'family time', 'homework', 'down-time', etc. and the transitions between these. Wherever possible, methods will be shared and adapted across the two parts of the study, facilitating the scaling-up of findings over time and space.
A key objective of the project is to work collaboratively with co-researchers and a media partner to see what kind of ethically sensitive, open-access documents of everyday childhoods-over-time it might be possible to create. These documents will be curated by participants for publication online generating a significant record of contemporary childhoods. In doing so, the project team will contribute to the development of ethical understandings in researching children's lives, informing critical debates concerning the tensions between child protection, and participation in researching childhood in a digital age.
For more information, contact Liam Berriman, Research Assistant: