Exploring young migrant children's ‘funds of knowledge’ through documentary photography (with a focus on revision and wisdom)

Horsley, Karen (2021). Exploring young migrant children's ‘funds of knowledge’ through documentary photography (with a focus on revision and wisdom). In: 29th EECERA (European Early Childhood Education Research Association) 2021 Online festival., 1-17 Sep 2021, University of Zagreb, Croatia..


The rich home voices and stories of young children whose families have migrated to the UK are largely invisible in ECE contexts. This research aims to render their everyday lives lived and knowledge visible through documentary photography. Increasingly participatory research employs visual methods. This study draws on photography as a ‘democratic visual art’ (Ewald, 2001, p.14). The enquiry brings together insights from Documentary Photography, Visual Sociology, Early Childhood and the sociocultural theoretical concept of 'funds of knowledge' as a participatory pedagogical resource (Moll et al. 1992). In this interpretivist qualitative research case studies with four 3-4-year-old children were generated at home and in a nursery over four months with an ethnographic sensibility. The British Educational Research Association guidelines (BERA, 2018) informs the research process. Consent was agreed with parents and practitioners, and children’s ongoing assent. Children reflected on what’s close as they revisited their photographs with wisdom, warmth and humour, re-storying and analysing in their own authorial voices. The layers within and between children’s photography can be intimate, emotional, bringing and bridging touching connections and ideas between children, families, practitioners and other children. Documentary photography is an invitation for rich, nuanced visual storytelling and conversations from children's perspectives on their lives lived among others. This new application of funds of knowledge with a critical visual methodological approach offers possibilities for developing participatory pedagogies that encompass diverse, overlapping and alternative visual voices and knowledges - past, present and future.

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