Centre for Innovation & Research in Childhood and Youth

Interdisciplinary, international & in the real world


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MA in Childhood and Youth Studies Dissertation refelctions


It’s our Masters Graduation on Friday the 22nd and we’re looking forward to celebrating the graduates of MACYS 2015.   We wrote to some of our graduates and asked them to reflect on the process of writing their dissertations.  Candice and Claire both received awards for their fantastic empirical research projects.  Below they briefly describe their work and have a few handy tips about approaching a masters thesis.

Claire Durrant – ‘An exploration of the emotional health and well-being of severely dyslexic children in mainstream primary school and the role of teachers in supporting them.’

My main motivation for conducting my research project was a personal one. When my severely dyslexic son’s needs were not met at mainstream primary school he developed extremely low mood and self-esteem and became very anxious. Through my involvement with online forums and local support groups I became aware of other severely dyslexic children who have had similar experiences. With one in ten children in the UK affected by dyslexic (Dyslexia Action, 2014) and around 4% experiencing it severely (National Literacy Trust, 2015), I felt that the emotional health and well-being of severely dyslexic children was an issue of wider significance. Continue reading


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Mass Observation and the ‘My Object Stories’ Hackathon

In the second of a series of blog posts, Suzanne Rose and Anthony McCoubrey from the Mass Observation Archive reflect on their participation in the ESRC Festival of Social Science event: the ‘My Object Stories’ Hackathon and the significance of ‘object stories’ for the Archive.  Re-blogged from Everyday Childhoods Blog

This was the third year in a row that the Mass Observation Archive (MOA) has taken part in the ESRC Festival of Social Science, which takes place nationally to promote social science research to non-academic communities and the wider public. The MOA hosted two events, which were part of a programme of over 200 events taking place across the country celebrating the social sciences.

'Mo', the Mass Observation Archive mascot, volunteers to pilot the fiducial tracker.

‘Mo’, the Mass Observation Archive’s teddy bear mascot, volunteers to pilot the fiducial tracker.

This year our events we focused on engaging young people with the MOA  and considered how archives relate to the digital age. One event was a day long workshop for pupils from Ratton School at the MOA at The Keep and the other was the My Object Stories Hackathon. This was designed to be a public event targeting young people, which would provide an opportunity for them to develop their understanding of the MOA and experiment with digital technology.


Working in partnership with CIRCY, the Department of Social Work and UoS Humanities Lab, provided a fantastic opportunity to engage the young people with the latest technologies and to invite them to share their objects and their stories with the archive in unique and interesting ways. Continue reading


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Hackathons as participatory methodology?

Reblogged from Everyday Childhoods blog

by Liam Berriman

Hackathons have become an increasingly commonplace methodology for exploring and experimenting with data. Recent examples of this trend have included calls from archives for programmers and software developers to come and ‘hack’ their collections, and the growth of competitions where young people are invited to play with open-access datasets. Bridging these events is a growing sense of hackathons as a space for playing with archives and data.

The ‘My Object Stories’ workshop was my first experience of organising (and taking part in!) a hackathon. Over the past year, I’ve become interested in hackathons as a methodology for engaging young people with their own research data – providing a creative space for playing with the re-animation (or ‘hacking’) of data (McGeeney, 2014). Continue reading


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Talk to me.

Reblogged from Everyday childhoods blog

by Rachel Thomson

On Saturday 14th November I had the pleasure of taking part in an event billed as a ‘Hackathon’ hosted by the Sussex Humanities Lab, CIRCY and the Mass Observation Archive. Hackathons are ‘events in which computer programmers and others involved in software development and hardware development, including graphic designers, interface designers and project managers, collaborate intensively on software projects’.

The day was called ‘my object stories’ and the shared project was to explore ways in which we could bring to life young people’s stories about favourite everyday objects – building on work that we have been doing as part of the Curating Childhoods project which is creating a new multi-media collection within Mass Observation called ’Everyday Childhoods’. The shared task was to invent strategies through which everyday objects – cherished by young people – might talk to an audience and enrich the archive. This might be a pair of Dr Martens boots, a book, a guitar, plastic animals…. Continue reading

transistional childhoods

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Home and Away: Transnational Simultaneity

By Benji Zeitlin

It took about half an hour after landing in Dhaka at the beginning of my fieldwork with British Bangladeshi families from London for the feeling to hit me. I shuffled off the flight from Doha in a haze and gradually awoke as a taxi drove me into the city. The sights, smell and sounds of Dhaka took me back vividly to the years of my childhood spent in the city. The powerful, confusing feeling, I now think of as a combination of nerves about the beginning of my fieldwork, the weary guardedness of being alone in a far away country, and a sense of being at home, as the car honked and harried its way through the traffic.

I was on my way to Sylhet to meet a British Bangladeshi family from London who were participating in my research. A brief stopover in Dhaka allowed me to revisit some of the places I had known as a child. Being in Dhaka felt like being in the eye of a ferocious cyclone. All around was chaos of breath taking scale and complexity. The traffic had swelled to fill every shred of road, but it competed with flows of wires, goods and busy people in a city-system that was dense and diverse, seemingly on the edge of collapse and yet somehow fantastically resilient. The city had exploded into a monstrous mega city, a building site of concrete and reinforcing rods extending in all directions as far as one could see. At the same time, at the centre of this cyclone, inside I felt a sense of calm that I could not reconcile with the surroundings. It came from a subconscious, affective feeling connected with my childhood memories of the place. Continue reading


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Spending stars

By Isabella Wells, 1st year BACY student

bridgeI didn’t have any idea of what Rotterdam would be like, all I knew was that the Dutch have a friendly reputation and their educational system has been rated positively. When I arrived in Rotterdam I was surprised by how modern the city is, everywhere you look you will be mesmerized by a structure or building. The exchange University fulfilled their reputation by making us feel welcome, always making sure we have a tea and coffee in our hand and generally making sure we were ok.

I’m going to speak about one of the two work places that I experienced with Nikki and Ollie, as this day was the most eye opening for me. Continue reading


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We’re All Going To MMU…

A couple of summers ago a colleague mentioned that she’d been to the Summer Institute in Qualitative Research at MMU and had found it hugely stimulating. I remember at the time regretting that I had not been sharper in making time to go. So when a couple of colleagues mentioned that they’d signed up this time around, I decided to commit.

I could misrepresent what has happened since. I could massage a narrative that suggests that we all – with some gendered empathetic synchronicity – agreed that we would love nothing more than to offer ourselves en masse as a ‘Sussex Symposium’ to present at the event. In reality it happened a little differently and involved me unashamedly imposing my will upon the group in terms of a kernel of an idea I’d had of what we might do and how we might do it. Continue reading


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