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Seminar Series

Child in the World Seminar Series

The Child in the World project hosts a series of public seminars connected to the project’s wide research themes. These are held at the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green and the audience is made up of students, researchers and members of the public.

Please contact a member of the project team if you would like to receive email updates. The project team would also be pleased to receive suggestions for future speakers

 

Monday 18 March 2013

Forgetting or Remembering - Child Migration in Museums

How do we represent the experience of child migrants in museums and heritage? What is included or excluded, remembered or forgotten? Whose identity and voice are represented and how do we engage adults and children from all backgrounds in thinking about migration? This seminar draws on the experiences of Kindertransport refugee children in the 1930s; child migration schemes from the UK to Australia and Canada between the 1860s and 1960s including from Dr Barnardo's homes in Barkingside and Stepney; and more recent migration of Eastern European children to Glasgow.

Tony Kushner explores how a country such as Britain, which prides itself on its innate tolerance and decency, remembers past intolerance. Moments of perceived generosity such as Kindertransport are often celebrated at the expense of migrants who were excluded or deported. This talk will explore the ethical dimensions to remembering and forgetting and the significance this has for museums.

Rachel Mulhearn shows how child migration schemes had profound consequences for those involved, raising questions of belonging, identity and personal agency. She explores the interpretation approaches used in the exhibition, On their Own: Britain’s child migrants (Australian National Maritime Museum 2010), including how the identity and voice of the migrant child is represented.

Carrie Ann Newman shares her experience of enabling children to think across cultures and share their perception of migration through photography, visual art and creative writing. The project drew on research by Strathclyde University into East European child migrants’ experiences and resulted in the exhibition At Home Abroad: Migration Through Children’s Eyes (Scotland Street School Museum 2012).


Past Seminars

‘The Child Reader and the Birth of Children’s Literature, 1700-1840’

Dr Matthew Grenby, Newcastle University

14 May 2012

Children's literature, it is often said, was an invention of the eighteenth century. But who owned and read these new books, where did they get them, and what sort – and how many – of them were they likely to own? Moreover, how did these young people actually use this new-fangled product, and what did they think of it? Since children leave so few reliable records of their lives these are all difficult questions to answer. But by combining many unused and unusual kinds of evidence – inscriptions, marginalia, journals, letters, portraits, and the contents of the books themselves – it has been possible to discover much about this first generation of readers of children's literature, and, from this, to say with much more certainty how children's literature began.

 

‘Researching Children’s Everyday Lives’

12 March 2012

This event offered complementary perspectives on children’s everyday lives. Dr Olivia Stevenson (University of Glasgow) discussed her work on children, families, technology and domestic space within the recent project ‘Young Children Learning with Toys and Technology at Home’ at the University of Stirling. Mary Guyatt (Studentship One) turned to the family lives of middle-class children between 1870–1914 and the sources available from the period.

 

‘India, Canada and the British Family: Empire, Class, and Communication in the Late Nineteenth Century’

23 May 2011

Dr Elizabeth Buettner (University of York), author of ‘Empire Families: Britons and Late Imperial India’, spoke about the late-Victorian letters and keepsakes exchanged between parents and children living separately in different parts of the British Empire. There was also an opportunity to examine some children’s items connected with the British in India.

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