#MessagestoSocialWorkers – A film created by Care Experienced Young People

We worked with a group of young people in care who attend a project run by the Roots Foundation Wales and the South West Wales Reaching Wider Partnership – Swansea University to create this film. The film represents the key messages that young people wanted to share with social workers.

The group meets regularly and offers care experienced young people the opportunity to meet together for social events, educational opportunities and a range of activities. In January and February 2019 we worked with the group make our first collaborative film #FromYoungPeopleForYoungPeople – Find Your Tribe

In the summer of 2019, we met up again to think about what other messages were important and who should hear these messages. We started by brainstorming ideas and deciding on the main messages then got to work on scripting and creating visual elements for the film. We used story boards to try and put together the group’s ideas then experimented with drawing, stickers and fuzzy felts.

The original images made by the group were used as the basis for the film animation, bringing to life the messages the young people wanted to share with the help of Like an Egg. These messages were created by young people based on their experiences. The film represents their ideas about how they would like to work with social workers in the future. These are their #messagestosocialworkers. We hope you enjoy the film.

Dawn Mannay – School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University @dawnmannay

Rachael Vaughan – CASCADE: Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre, Cardiff University @VaughanRach

Helen Davies – South West Wales Reaching Wider Partnership – Swansea University @ReachingWiderSU

Emma Jones – Roots Foundation Wales @RootsWales

Workshop report: The ‘Case of Ethics’, using creative methods for ethical research practice

On the 10th of September ExChange welcomed Dr Victoria Edwards and a practitioner workshop on the ‘Case of Ethics’: using creative methods for ethical research practice. The interactive workshop explored participants understanding of ethics in research, how Vicky approached this in her own research, the practicalities of using creative approaches in research and finally for participants to create their own ‘mini-case’.

The workshop began with two group activities. The first exploring what participants already knew about ethics in research, by considering what things are essential for an ethical encounter. Some of the topics discussed included, volunteering to take part, consent, understanding what would happen and power imbalances.

The second group activity involved defining what is meant by consent, confidentiality and anonymity. Participants were asked to consider when they became familiar with these terms and in what context. Discussions around this topic where generated when participants shared their ideas across the room in a ‘snowball fight’. Crumpling up their definitions on paper and throwing them to another table to be read out. Some of the key messages from this discussion highlighted that there can’t be an assumed understanding of these term especially when working with young people.

Wide-shot of ExChange workshop participants

Having set the scene, Vicky moved on to talk about her own research and how she approached ethics. Her study explored young people’s video game culture across two special schools, one a mainstream school where the young people were part of a nurture class and the other at a college. All the young people involved in her study had some level of additional learning requirements. The study itself used a range of creative methods including, doll creation, video production and t-shirt design as well as some more traditional methods such as a whole school survey and focus group workshop.

Close-up of workshop apparatus

When developing her ethical approach to research with this cohort of young people, Vicky drew on wider literature in this area including the work of Professor Emma Renold and Dr Dawn Mannay both Cardiff University researchers. She focused on creative methodologies where ethics are not an ‘add on’ to the process. It is with this in mind that the ‘Case of Ethics’ was invented. Using a second-hand vintage travelling salespersons suitcase with many different compartments, Vicky was able to fill it with objects to start conversations with young people about what they were getting involved with.

The objects included a voice changer, mask, tracing paper and audio recorder. Having the case in the room enabled the young people (and the researcher) to always be aware of the nature of consent and refer to any ideas that were discussed, touched and felt when introducing the work. This was also an engaging and fun way to explain to participants why she was recording information and what would happen to it.

Close-up of workshop participant (hands)

Examples of how the objects reflected conversations about consent and the research;

Voices changer: Do you enjoy talking? Who will hear your voices? Why do we alter voices? What is anonymity?

Masks: Why do we protect your identity? What happened to the information collected about you?

Tracing paper: Why would we want to obscure an imagine in a research project? Where are images kept? Why won’t researchers identify your school.

Audio recorder: Why is your voice being recorded? Am I allowed to stop the recording? How do I feel about being recorded?

Most children loved using tactile materials but other didn’t like them at all – what works for one person can be very different for another. The key was showing understanding and being open to discussions. As an example, using the case highlighted the wished of one of the young people named Terry. Terry had a physical reaction to the felt in the case, he jumped back from the table saying, ‘I can’t touch that’. Whilst most of the young people really enjoyed playing with the voice changer Terry though it was horrible. These reactions allowed Vicky to talk to Terry about how he felt about being recorded and taking part in certain activities. She found out that he was fine with recording and transcribing the interview but didn’t want to hear it back, and later on he didn’t want to have his voice included in any video work. Vicky highlights that discussing these issues with objects adds real meaning than merely trying to explain the process may miss.

Next it was time for workshop participants to start thinking about a project they were working on and coming up with some objects to put into their own mini-case of ethics. Participants were tasked to draw or write on a piece of paper an object/objects that could be used to introduce their project or activity. This was put into their mini-case and shared with the person next to them. From here their partner would spend some time coming up with some questions based on the object and thinking about what the project might be about. This was an opportunity for participants to try out developing a creative representation related to their project and start reflecting on how things are introduced or explained. Vicky also encouraged participants to consider how it might feel be exploring projects and activities in this way.

Finally, the workshop concluded with discussions around the barriers to ethical encounters and coming up with solutions. Some of the discussions included resources, time and having the confidence to be creative. A key point raised was the fine balance between ongoing ethical discussions and recruiting enough participants to complete projects in tight timelines.

Many thanks to Vicky Edwards for a thoroughly enjoyable workshop. I left with my own mini-case of ethics and lots of creative ideas to engage young people in ethical discussion about my work!

#MessagestoSocialWorkers – A film created by care-experienced young people

In the #MessagestoSocialWorkers project, we worked with a group of young people in care who attend a project run by the Roots Foundation Wales and the South West Wales Reaching Wider Partnership – Swansea University to create this film. It represents the key messages that young people want to share with social workers.

The group meets regularly and offers care-experienced young people the opportunity to meet for social events, educational opportunities, and a range of activities. In January and February 2019 we worked with the group to make our first collaborative film: #FromYoungPeopleForYoungPeople – Find Your Tribe.

In the summer of 2019, we met up again to think about what other messages were important as well as who should hear them. We brainstormed ideas and decided on the main messages and got to work on scripting and creating visual elements for the film. We used storyboards to try and put together the group’s ideas then experimented with drawing, stickers, and fuzzy felts.

The original images – created by young people based on their experiences and made by the group, were used as the basis for the film animation, bringing to life the messages the young people wanted to share, along with help of Like an Egg Productions. The film represents their ideas about how they would like to work with social workers in the future. These are their #messagestosocialworkers.

Dawn Mannay – School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University @dawnmannay
Rachael Vaughan – CASCADE: Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre, Cardiff University @VaughanRach
Helen Davies – South West Wales Reaching Wider Partnership – Swansea University @ReachingWiderSU
Emma Jones – Roots Foundation Wales @RootsWales

Important Messages from Young People in Care about their Education

These comic strip posters illustrated below have been developed from stories shared with us from care experience young people from across Wales.

We worked with young people from Voices From Care Cymru as part of the CASCADE Voices research advisory group and with Tribe – a group of young people involved in the Reaching Wider ‘Diamond Project’ at Swansea University. We asked young people what stories about their experiences at school or college they would like to share with other care experienced young people. Looking for a creative and engaging way to share these inspiring stories #FromYoungPeopleForYoungPeople we are pleased to present these vibrant comic strips with you.

We would like to thank all the young people for sharing their stories with us and Like An Egg for developing these wonderful posters.

Rachel Vaughan – CASCADE: Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre – vaughanr5@cardiff.ac.uk

Video to Celebrate Care Leavers

This Foster Care Fortnight, the CareLeaverSophia channel is creating a video to celebrate the achievements of Care Leavers. With the negative stereotypes which have recently taken centre stage in the media through the Stoke-On-Trent Children’s Home press coverage, I think a video such as this is well needed. This isn’t linked to any charity/foster care agency, it’s very much a video by Care Leavers for the World. Most importantly, let’s show children in care that the future can be bright!

What I need from you guys is two videos:

1.   Answer the question “what is your proudest achievement”

2.   “My name is [xyz] and I am proud to be a Care Leaver”

Neither video should be longer than 8 – 10 seconds and can be recorded on a mobile phone or camera. The upload link can be found here https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/18IMQIb34FkqynjzFiDn9qfyXMcOo7g3D?usp=sharing

Deadline: Sunday 12th May 8pm

Sophia Alexandra Hall @sophiahallsax

#FromYoungPeopleForYoungPeople

We worked to develop a video from young people for young people.

The group we worked with meet weekly and offers care experienced young people the opportunity to visit the university and take part in activities aimed at raising educational aspirations and their awareness of university life.  The activities include workshops in science, history and criminology, university tours, one-to-one visits, residential experiences and working with other care experienced young people and university students.

Across two session in January and February 2019 we worked with the group to come up with messages around education to share in a video to other young people. We started by brainstorming ideas on what they would like to share with their peers. What things help them in education? What makes a difference? And finally, what inspires them? Deciding on their main messages they then got to work on scripting and creating visual elements for the video. We used story boards to try and put together the group’s ideas then got creative with drawing and even used fuzzy felts.

The original images made by the group were used as the basis for the video animation below, bringing to life the messages the young people wanted to share.

We would like to thank the inspirational young people for sharing their stories and all their hard work on the film. We would also like to acknowledge all the support staff who have been working with the group, especially Helen Davies from Reaching Wider at Swansea University. We hope you enjoy the video.