Annual Report 2015, Budapest
ECER 2015 gave further evidence of both the range of interests and the originality of research carried out by network members and these papers have become increasing available to a wider audience through a series of new publication initiatives. This year we were pleased to welcome a number of new members to our Network Meeting. We also had a special session to discuss the refugee situation and the relevance of research in children’s rights to this. An agreed statement from the network arising from this session is available below. Arising from this, it was agree that each year the Network will have a dedicated session to discussion of a key political and /or social issue and the relevance of a children’s rights perspective to this.
Whilst we held fewer sessions than last year, attendance across most of our sessions showed an increase over that in previous years.
The sessions this year were as follows:
- Safety and the Right to Protection
- Actively Seeking Children’s Views
- Children’s Rights, Policy and Practice
- Promoting Students’ Self Expression and Development: Some Problematics
- Children’s Rights in Education
- Children’s Rights in Early Childhood Contexts
- Participation as a Theme in Children’s Rights Research
A number of papers made explicit linkages to the 2015 Conference theme: "Education and Transition. Contributions from Educational Research".
This year Network 25 organised a special session to reflect upon the relevance of research in children's rights to the present refugee situation and to thinking about Europe. The session was well attended and the ensuing discussion both in-depth and far-reaching in scope. The following statement was agreed by those who attended:
As researchers we acknowledged the complexity of the present situation, politically, economically, socially and educationally, that can be approached at many different levels; many felt ‘lost for words’ in the light of this. This complexity referred both to making sense of the immediate situation but also when thinking through some of the broader implications, whether spatially, across the world, and also temporally, when a broader time frame is brought to bear, both in terms of precipitating conditions and future educational implications.
As educationalists, with a specific focus upon research in children’s rights in education we identified various responsibilities that we have in speaking to the situation and in enabling others to make different sense from the kinds of framings that are presented in the media. In this regard, we have specific theoretical resources and tools of analysis to offer, that we might use to engage broader audiences to offer opportunities to think again about how the present situation is framed, rather than ‘research’ being limited to technical issues. In this respect we might provide ways of undoing images that dehumanise, and that limit hospitality to difference. For example, we have expertise in ‘giving voice’ and one initiative has given digital cameras to refugees to document their experiences. In terms of education, we have a responsibility to provide opportunities for in-depth discussion in both schools and higher educational contexts where commitment to a pre-determined curriculum can severely limit opportunities to engage political events in a meaningful way. In this regard, it is not simply a matter of knowledge, but one of perception and sensibility and we discussed the contribution that a rights-informed approach might offer especially in view of the right of children to understand and form views upon what is going on (UNCRC Article 29).
One of the outcomes from this discussion was a decision by network members that in future at least one network session be set aside to discuss a pressing and current political or social issue in relation to children's rights, and the bearing that such research might have on this.