Children's Picture Books to Promote Solidarity and Acceptance in the Age of Refugees: Thinking through a Framework of Evaluation

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 15:30
Oral Presentation
April MANDRONA, Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, Canada
Ej MILNE, African Centre for Migration and Society, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University, United Kingdom
Claudia MITCHELL, McGill University, Canada
Michaelina JAKALA, Coventry University, United Kingdom
This paper presents initial findings from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada funded project “For Us by Us”: Children's Picture Books to Promote Solidarity and Acceptance in the Age of Refugees. The research connected children with refugee experiences and adult collaborators in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Coventry, England through the creation and sharing of picture books that reflect their perspectives. It also sought to better understand young refugees’ social experience of, and engagement through, storytelling and art making, and interrogated the notion of children’s art and literature as ‘neutral’ categories of cultural production, seeking to illuminate how children’s picture books transmit loaded, didactic information.

Using the various forms of data generated (visual, reflective, and textual) we offer a sample framework to assess the relevance and meaning of picture book making as a visual methodology and the potential it has to create change in the lives of participants. Of particular interest is the enactment of an ethics of engagement, which includes relationships between participant produced art materials as items of cultural consumption beyond the research setting, such as use of the picture books by adult community members, libraries, and academic institutions.