News

January 2017  Remembering Victor Kiam, the man who liked the razor so much he bought the company, I liked the IWUN project so much (see news item below), I joined the team.  I now have a part time Research Associate role for work package 2, looking at Cultures and Values within the Improving Wellbeing through Urban Nature (IWUN).  Am utterly delighted and excited about this huge Sheffield-focussed interdisplinary project which is led by Professor Anna Jorgensen and involves collaboration with many local and national stakeholders.  I’ll be working chiefly with Dr Clare Rishbeth who leads one work package and Professor Brendan Stone from Departments of Landscape and English respectively – both in the University of Sheffield – as well as Dr Sarah Payne at Heriot Watt University. Too many people to mention across the whole project but more updates soon….Follow the project on twitter @IWUNproject and look out for its soon to be launched website www.IWUN.uk

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October 2016  Attended the launch of a fantastic new project: Improving Wellbeing through Urban Nature (IWUN). Faces old and new – stakeholders from so many backgrounds. I talked to someone from Sheffield libraries; a youth worker; a landscape architect from Green Estate; Sheffield Environmental Movement; someone working at Sheffield Hallam on the Move More campaign; a producer working on the Ruskin in Sheffield programme , not to mention some lovely folk from Sheffield’s Blue Loop. This represented just a handful of the people who attended a great day of information sharing and workshops run by the Department of Landscape,  the School of Health and Related Research and Urban Studies and Planning (University of Sheffield). They are collaborating with Universities of Derby Cardiff and Heriot-Watt.

IWUN aims to ‘develop a more nuanced understanding of the geo-political distribution of urban natural environments and health inequalities in an aging and diverse population, find out more about which aspects of the natural environment deliver positive Health and Wellbeing outcomes, and develop approaches to valuing and integrating Green/glue Infrastructure and health service delivery’.

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Summer and early autumn 2016 meant a set of glorious camping and festival breaks with my family. I love festivals and camping spaces for so many reasons: their impermanence and utopian qualities; all that time we get to spent outdoors when we camp; being with other people who look like they are getting kicks out of the same kinds of things.

There was hugely interesting work and work/play too:

  • Research consultancy for a project using historical material to explore health professionals’ perceptions and experiences of issues surrounding childbirth and health
  • Literature review work around migrant children. (Nearly half of all refugees are children says Unicef)
  • More reading and thinking around the ways in which children might be seen to be experiencing posthuman childhoods and in posthuman spaces. I’ve been thinking about new materialisms and for some time now, I’ve been pondering on how I might give more thought to emplacement and, more broadly, to  children’s material lives than I’ve done so far.  This has meant delving more into the work of Karen Barad, Karen Malone, Andrew Pickering, Paulina Rautio, and Hillevi Lenz Taguchi.

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July 1016  CSCY 6th International Conference “The Social, the Biological and the Material Child” at Kenwood Hall Hotel, Sheffield.

I’m back with the Designing with Children team to present a paper on 5th July: ‘Authenticity, creativity, connection: children’s design participation’.

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May 2016. I ran a session on Ways of Listening to Children – for Abi Hackett’s Research Methods for Exploring Children’s Experience of Museums, at CSCY, The University of Sheffield on 27th May.

Before the day, I talked to Vicky Cave, museums consultant, researcher and exhibitions developer. She kindly allowed me to record her wise words and pass on some of her extensive experience of listening to and working with young children in museums contexts.

My encounters with architects who design and build spaces in close collaboration with children, involving them in co-design roles, also provided more insight into ways of listening to children through inviting their making, movement and looking.

I finished off with a whirlwind tour of some of my own research experience and techniques for listening to children – noting some tricky moments, surprises and challenges with role play and drawings and those who ‘gate keep’ children.

It was great to hear others’ work in this area, including the wonderful PhD research of Elee Kirk who asked 4 and 5 year olds to photograph aspects of their visit to the University of Oxford Museum of Natural History. The day was clearly enjoyed by museums professionals and educators  from the likes of Yorkshire Sculpture Park, The British Museum, The V&A, Sheffield Museums, Museum of London, Science Museum and beyond.

See a storify which Abi created, documenting the day’s talks and activities.