The aim of this workshop is to promote critical discussion and reflection amongst participants about the meaning, scope and challenge of a commitment to a research philosophy and practice that supports and enhances children’s human rights. It poses the central questions:
• What exactly is children’s rights-informed research?
• Why is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) relevant to my research?
• How can I ensure that my research is consistent with the UNCRC’s core principles?
While the majority of educational researchers will be aware of the existence of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and rhetorical support and enthusiasm for its core principles may be strong, fewer are confident about dealing with the tensions, contradictions and complexities involved in realising these principles in their research practice. Indeed such difficulties are underplayed in the academic and professional literature. In this sense, while those committed to a children’s rights-informed approach to researching children’s lives are able to draw upon various conceptual and practical resources to guide their research practice, there is less help available to assist in dealing with the ‘messy’ reality of the challenging journey along the research road.
The presenters of this workshop bring a wide and varied interdisciplinary and international expertise to this subject. As members of EERA Network 25, they share a commitment to children’s rights in their research practice. During the workshop they will share their experiences and personal reflections on their own research journeys, highlighting some of the difficulties and challenges they have encountered and how they have sought to overcome them.
The workshop will begin with a short presentation to contextualise the subject, highlighting some of the theoretical, epistemological and ontological debates that currently inform our understanding of what it means to conduct children’s rights-informed research. This will include deliberations about the nature and status of ‘the child’ and ‘childhood’; about the tensions between ‘rights in theory’ and ‘rights in practice’ and about how ‘research’ is conceptualised, categorised and practised. From here the workshop will take the form of a ‘conversation’ between presenters and participants, where participants will be encouraged to ask questions, share their views on the issues raised, and reflect on their own research journeys.
Vicki Coppock (on behalf of Network 25)
Reader in Social Science: Childhood Studies and Mental Health
Edge Hill University, England