232 – Voices and narratives of children in Brussels neighbourhoods

Presentation - ECV2022-232

Voices and narratives of children in Brussels neighbourhoods

Kaat Verhaeghe, Centre of Expertise Urban Coaching and Education, Brussels, Belgium (Kaatmartine.verhaeghe@ehb.be)
Geert De Raedemaeker, Erasmus Brussels University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Brussels, Belgium (Geert.de.Raedemaeker@ehb.be)
Joke Den Haese, Brussels Open Living Lab, Brussels, Belgium (Joke.den.Haese@ehb.be)

Background: Starting from the sociology of childhood, every child is seen as an ‘Other’ and equal social actor who constructs childhood and influences society. Education is an intergenerational process in which children and adults try to live together in a common world.

Aim: This research wants to capture the voices and narratives of children in Brussels neighbourhoods by improving the participation of young children (5–10 years old) in the construction of a common world. It wants to create a sense of being and belonging for children by challenging the perspectives of society through ‘narrative meeting’.

Method: A three year (2022–2025) participatory child-centred research to make visible the unseen and unheard stories of children in Brussels neighbourhoods will use art-based methods and photo-voice to uncover these stories.

Results: Possible ways to support ‘the being child’ and challenge adults’ views. Illustrations of art-based and photo-voice methods to capture voices and narratives of children in a participatory way.

Conclusions: To unveil children’s narratives, a specific attitude of the adult is needed. Being conscious of their own perspective and image of child is preconditional to enable the child to be and to belong. Photo-voice wants to make social change possible by empowering members of marginalised groups. Alongside art-based methods can challenge the limitations of conventional language-oriented research methods to overcome power imbalances.

Implications for children and families: This research wants to support you, children, to make your voice heard. Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: “to express your own views freely in all matters affecting the child and giving these views due weight.”

Implications for practitioners: Based on critical pedagogy, this research wants to transform oppressing institutions or social relationships and open space, for you, adults, to become aware of how your child image and perspective influence the space for children to be and to belong. 

Key words: children’s voices, qualitative methods, child image, participatory approaches, narratives

This presentation relates to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

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