Published 22.07.2021
by Kids’ Own

Introducing our Digital and Cultural Access for Children researcher: Dr Amy Hanna

We are excited to have Dr Amy Hanna on board as our new Independent Researcher into Digital and Cultural Access for Children and Young People in the Northwest. Over the last few months, Amy was exploring how our child-led, child-centred model of engagement with professional artists can be brought to children and young people, particularly those who have limited access to technology and who are from communities already experiencing social exclusion and disadvantage.

Amy is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for Children’s Rights at Queen’s University Belfast. She is a secondary school teacher of English and taught in schools in both England and, most recently, Australia, where she taught young people with disabilities. Throughout her teaching practice, Amy noted that children’s participation rights and voices are regularly not asked for, and therefore remain silent. This is often because teachers are unaware of how to implement these rights in education. Her research interests are in children’s participation rights, and in seeking out the voices of young people who are not heard.

Amy and Kids’ Own worked with a Young Person Advisory Group, who advised and guided Amy’s research, including shaping her questions and approach. We also had a separate group of children and young people involved as participants in this study. They shared their lived experiences with us in order to help us to explore these issues of digital and cultural access.

This initial and limited scoping study had three main points of focus:

  • Who might benefit most from online creative programmes that allow for open-ended, meaningful engagement with the arts?
  • What are the needs of the children and young people that have been identified by the study, in terms of digital and cultural access?
  • How can Kids’ Own develop a pilot online arts programme in response to the results of the scoping study?

This study was kindly funded by RTE Does Comic Relief and the Community Foundation for Ireland. We will be publishing a report on these findings in the coming months.