Voices in a Pandemic: Listening to the Voices of Children in a Pandemic Through Arts-Based, Deep Mapping Methods Adapted for Online Delivery

Abstract

The VIP-CLEAR (Voices in a Pandemic—Children’s Lockdown Experience Applied to Recovery) project aims to explore younger children’s experiences of lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to inform their recovery and resilience to future social shocks. Focused on designing research methods that magnified their un-brokered voices, we wanted to provide opportunities for children living in socio-disadvantaged areas of Bristol (UK) to tell their stories and experiences of the lockdown through images and words. Our design of a series of arts-based methods aimed to break down barriers of language and literacy, enable oblique, informal, and holistic exploration of their experiences, and maximize accessibility through their interpretative approach. As well as reflecting on our use of researching online with children, this case study focuses, in-depth, on the first element of deep mapping. We highlight the issues, successes, and challenges that we faced as we delivered this method online. In exploring the intersection of deep mapping, children and online delivery, we reflect on our experiences of flipping this method from face-to-face to online and discuss some practicalities that influenced success. Recommendations from our lessons learnt include general considerations in preparing online research with children, and specifics about deep mapping. We argue that, through the necessity to “flip” methods online, researchers have exciting opportunities to trial, adapt, and develop new and innovative child-centered research methods.

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