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CfP – Engaged Research with Children and Young People

Call for Papers

The presence of children and young people in the public space and their participation in the social and cultural life of cities can be seen as a litmus test of what works and what not in terms of social, environmental, and generational justice.

In this scenario, the social navigations of those who experience urban marginality are particularly meaningful because they uncover how structural inequalities are reproduced, and opportunities for social transformation are shaped. Their knowledge and views about the world, however, are largely disregarded and delegitimised in hegemonic discourses.

Political and media narratives tend to depict urban marginality through stereotyped and essentialised descriptions, either as a site of resentment, insecurity and decay; or as a field where dominant norms about “worthy futures” are believed to trigger upward social mobility aspirations.

Picture from the project “Fare Rione, Fare Scuola” carried out by Orangotango at the Stefano Barbato Primary School (Naples) in the framework of the action “Schools of Tomorrow” supported by Haus der Kulturen der Welt.

Children and young people experiencing multiple forms of urban marginality are then described through alarmistic or pietistic imageries. What is often overlooked, however, are the constraints and negotiations that shape their navigations across urban inequalities. Their ability to cope with the (re)production of marginalities as part of contemporary urban transformations as well as their strategies to deal with the making of new boundaries, hardly enters into mainstream narratives but is rather neglected and invisibilised. These phenomena have become especially visible in the context of the current pandemic.

Building on this, the session aims to collect contributions from scholars who with their work aim to co-create spaces of legitimacy, communication and imagination with those children and young people who rarely talk for themselves in the public sphere. The panel will provide a space to share research practices and to debate theoretical, methodological and ethical dilemmas.

We welcome experiences of multimodal research that actively involve participants in knowledge production processes; dialogue or collaborate with social movements; take advantage of the opportunities generated by digital technologies; support children and young people to construct new narratives about themselves through creative practices; enact reflexivity in research practices; and explore the limits of research as a transformative force.

Short movie authored by grade 4A pupils of Gómez Moreno Primary School (Granada) with the support of Francesca Cogni in the framework of the project “Albayzín, human heritage”.

We are inviting paper submissions addressing the following questions:

  • What are the principles to be considered when embarking on engaged research projects with children and young people experiencing urban marginality? In what way should these principles guide the research process, and what methodological choices do they bring about? Do we need principles at all?
  • What do creative and experimental approaches uncover about the methodological potentials of uncertainty and failure? How can we integrate inconsistency into our research projects?
  • How do the narrative spaces created by multimodal research approaches contribute to reshaping the imageries and the experiences of urban marginality?
  • What are the main ethical dilemmas and criticisms that researchers face in their attempt to address power relations and inequalities within and beyond their research?
  • What are the methodological and ethical implications of the pandemic for multimodal and engaged research with children and young people?

The main format of the session will be paper presentation. However, given the focus of our call, we encourage participants to share multimodal contributions.

Abstracts must be submitted by 04 December 2020 through the conference website via the following link:

For any question and doubt, please write to Kitti Baracsi and Stefano Piemontese

Download the Call for Papers