Child Research Projects

Department of Education and Lifelong Learning

Child Research Projects

Valuing the past, sustaining the future. Education, knowledge and identity across three generations in coastal communities; a comparative approach

Management: Professor Anne Trine Kjørholt

This project addresses education, knowledge and identity formation among girls and boys across three generations (as perceived by youth, parents and grandparents) of diverse ethnic backgrounds in coastal communities in five countries (Norway, Australia, Cyprus, The Faroe Islands and Ireland). It involves basic research with the expected impact of providing a deeper knowledge base about the shifting and dynamic interplay between education (non-formal/formal), society and working life, bridging past-present-future. The methodology is a comparative qualitative design across three generations, supplemented with applied research, providing a basis of new empirical knowledge to contribute to evidence-informed policy and action. The ambiguous aims and scopes call for an interdisciplinary approach, mobilising a wide range of national and international experts.

AAU-NTNU Partnership to Promote Knowledge on Children and Sustainable Development (NORPART-2018/10068)

Project leader: Professor Tatek Abebe
Funded by Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education (Diku). Amount: NOK 5, 000,000. 

Project period: 01.01.2019–31.12.2023

This partnership between academic and public policy institutions generates and transmits knowledge on the connections between childhoods, culture and sustainable development. It creates bilateral long-term mobility opportunity for 21 masters and nine PhD students, and short-term mobility for academic staff in Addis Ababa University (AAU) and Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). The partnership addresses key challenges linked to student diversity, gender imbalance, interdisciplinarity and internationalization of research and education on issues related to childhood. It has also a shared vision of promoting perspectives on the United Nation’s 2030 agenda on sustainable development to improve the life chances and psycho-social well-being of girls and boys. Through collaborative training, lecturing, supervision, curriculum development, research and publishing, the partnership supports sharing of expertise and cross-cultural learning about childhood among researchers found in different stages of their academic careers. The partnership involves research and policy institutions that support us to identify research gaps, facilitate MA students’ entry into fieldwork and internships, and increase policy uptake of research results. Summer schools will provide training for PhD students, researchers and practitioners on topics of children’s rights, child-focused methodology and ethics. Knowledge exchange forums connect research findings with policy and planning. Over time, the partnership fosters the creation of a critical mass of scholars that 1) undertake evidence-based research and teaching about childhood and 2) engage with policies and practices linked to improving children’s rights and well-being in Ethiopia and Norway. The partnership will culminate with the establishment of a network/consortium that will strengthen the production of cross-disciplinary knowledge as well as context-sensitive advocacy for and with children.

Effects of civil societies’ activities related to early childhood care and development in Ethiopia and Zambia

Management: Professor Anne Trine Kjørholt

High-quality early childhood care and education are now recognised as a core strategy for poverty reduction. Effective policies and practices aimed to support young children and their families living in poverty, therefore, represent core challenges to fulfil children’s rights as these are stated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and the African Charter on Children’s Rights and Welfare. ECCD programs have an increased priority among various actors, such as policymakers, NGOs and others. However, there is a need for increased knowledge about the effects of various ECCD programs as well as the degree to which the programs are community-based and anchored in local cultural practices.

This project aims to investigate the effects of ECCD programs in Zambia and Ethiopia aimed at improving children's rights and welfare. Save the children is a key collaborative partner in the project. A critical review of the thinking and conceptualization of the child, development and education that are embedded in the programs are crucial to investigate long term effects on children, their families and communities. A key question is formulated as follows:

To what extent do the ECCD programs apply a 'culture-sensitive' and community-based approach connecting the content and practices in ECCD programs to local cultural knowledge and practices, and dialogue with families in the communities?

Methodologically we use a mixed-methods approach, including multigenerational narrative interviews with elders and grandparents in the communities.

Research partners: Zambia (UNZA), Professor Robert Serpell (psychology), Ethiopia: (Addis Ababa University and Dilla University): Associate professor Teka Zewdie (psychology) 

Children's Migration in Historical and Cross-cultural Perspectives (2017-2020)

Project leader: Professor Tatek Abebe

Funded by Nordic Council of Research on Humanities and Social Sciences (NOS-HS). Funding amount NOK 500,000

Project period: 01.01.2017–31.12.2020 

This project seeks to understand the complex structures, realities, narratives, discourses,
and policies linked to children who migrate on their own in spatial and temporal perspectives. By bringing together perspectives from history, childhood studies, and migration studies, the project addresses issues of interest to academics and policy makers through three thematic workshops, exploring: A) How Nordic countries have historically employed child relocation as an integral part of child upbringing, exploring similarities and differences between relocation practices in history and contemporary child migration, B) The link between mundane forms of child migration, cultural expectations, safety, nurture, education, and improvement of economic prospects among populations experiencing poverty and C) Nordic institutions’ engagements with discourses, policies, and practices linked to child migration, particularly in the global south. Applying historical and interdisciplinary perspectives, we bring together stakeholders to improve intervention practices for migrant children. The outcome of the workshops includes an edited anthology, and joint grant application for further research.

African Futures and the Futures of Childhood in Africa

Management: Professor Tatek Abebe

This annual Child and Youth Institute financed by the Council for Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) convened in Dakar, Senegal, (September 25–October 6, 2017). The Institute focused on the timely topic of African Futures and the Futures of Childhood in Africa. It engaged with the interface between future aspirations of children and versions of African futures to develop insights into how children are both living embodiments of history and prospective agents of social change in African communities. Its point of departure was the idea that children’s ideas about their future are important for their present actions. Based on the research of laureate drawn from ten Anglophone and Francophone African countries, the institute elucidated that children’s individual aspirations not only reflect collective expectations but also inform and are informed by ideas about the contingency of development. A book that brings together the outcome of the institute is being edited by Tatek Abebe and will be published by CODESRIA in 2019.

Nordic Network of African Childhood and Youth Research (NoNACYR)

Management: Professor Tatek Abebe

Nordic Network of African Childhood and Youth Research (NoNACYR) aims to enhance collaboration among scholars in Nordic countries who carry out research and teaching in childhood and youth studies focusing on the African continent. The Network comprises key research groups and PhD students from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Its task includes promoting interdisciplinary dialogue on empirical research findings, collaborative research and publication, and academic and policy debates on research on, about, and/or with children and young people in Africa. The specific objectives of the network are:

1. To facilitate the exchange of research findings and information on African children and youths. This includes theoretical, conceptual, methodological, practical, and ethical knowledge and experiences emanating from diverse disciplines, research projects, and fieldwork contexts.

2. To initiate and foster policy debates between Nordic academics and practitioners on matters affecting children's and youth's well-being in contemporary Africa.

3. To institutionalize links between Nordic childhood and youth researchers and students on the one hand and African child researchers and research units on the other. The collaboration and acquired competence will enhance research, training, and capacity building in the Nordic countries not only in terms of multidisciplinary perspectives but also the human rights and well-being of children and youths in Africa.

Kindergarten data

Management: Professor Randi Dyblie Nilsen

NOSEB and Trøndelag R & D Institute assist the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training in yearly surveys in the kindergarten sector.

Completed projects:

Integration for improved public health. Refugee children as receivers of health care.

Management: Professor Vebjørg Tingstad

Systematic mapping of food advertising of HFSS food and beverages towards children and young people on TV, social media, web pages and blogs

Management: Professor Vebjørg Tingstad.

This is a research cooperation between NOSEB and Annechen Bugge at National Institute for Consumer Research (SIFO).

The modern child and the flexible labour market: Institutionalisation and individualisation of children in the light of changes in the welfare state

Management: Associate Professor, Director Anne Trine Kjørholt and Professor Jens Qvortrup

NOSEB is conducting a research project on the extent to which day-care centres are part of modern discourses about flexibility, neo-liberal approaches and user-orientation, as they are found in the labour market. The project includes five interrelated projects and has an important comparative profile and also endeavours to contrast main trends of institutionalisation with so-called nature day-care centres in terms of for instance participation. Subprojects are included: 1 Childcare policy in the flexible working life, 2 Flexibility, user-orientation, and quality: children as participants and users, 3 Welfare state policy towards small children at a crossroad? An historical-comparative study of Norway, Sweden and Germany, 4 ‘Natural childhood’ in Norwegian day-care centres? 5 Institutionalisation: the generational context.

Children as new citizens and ‘the best interest of the child’: A challenge for modern democracies

Management: Associate Professor, Director Anne Trine Kjørholt and Professor Jens Qvortrup

The aim is to develop research-based insights about the relationships between global discourses on children’s rights, welfare policy and children’s experiences and perspectives of their welfare. The project explores from different perspectives and on different societal levels (cf. Welfare Programme, p. 3) how global discourses on children’s rights to participation (art 12) and the principle of the best interests of the child (art 3) in the CRC are interpreted and practised in different societies. It seeks to elaborate larger concerns about the changing nature of democracy, childhood, and young people’s experiences of their welfare, and critically investigate the concepts and approaches embedded in the global rights' discourses. Subprojects are 1 Children's perspectives on citizenship and nation-building in a comparative perspective, 2 Childhood’s ambiguity – politics and practice on children’s rights in the context of family change, 3 Refugee children, citizenship and ’the best interests’ of the child. A comparative perspective is firmly included in the project.

Consuming Children: Commercialisation and the Changing Construction of Childhood

Management: Professor David Buckingham and Associate Professor Vebjørg Tingstad

The project aims to study marketing to children and to assess the role of commercialisation and consumer culture in changing the definitions and lived experiences of childhood. The project seeks to integrate three aspects of this phenomenon - namely, marketing, the product and the consumer. Sub-project 1 will explore the historical dimensions of marketing to children, the contemporary practices of the media, advertising and related industries, and the competing discourses on these issues that circulate within public and policy debate. Sub-projects 2 and 3 will consider the nature of marketing to kindergartners and tweens. Sub-project 4 will explore the implications of these developments both for media regulators and for educationalists.

Children, young people and local knowledge in Ethiopia and Zambia

Management: Associate Professor, Director Anne Trine Kjørholt, Norway and Dr Fikre Dessalegn, Ethiopia

The project, based on a network collaboration of researchers and academic institutions (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Dilla University in Ethiopia and University of Zambia) aims to produce cross-cultural knowledge about children and young people in the context of development. Its core objectives are to a) carry-out multi-disciplinary research on how children and young people participate in economic, social and cultural reproduction of society; and b) enhance the capacity of partner institutions through exchange of expertise, knowledge and experience.

Day-care centres in transition: Inclusive practices

Management: Professor Randi Dyblie Nilsen

In a collaboration with the University College of Nord-Trøndelag and the Department of Health and Social Work at NTNU, this project aims toward new knowledge and further understanding of the day-care institution as an arena for inclusion by concentrating on professional practices related to child diversity, which involves majority-minority relations concerning disability as well as multi-cultural questions. Four subprojects are carried out: 1 The day-care centre: An inclusive social institution; 2 Pre-school teachers’ practices in a cultural and historical context with a particular emphasis on children with special needs; 3 Cultural identity and the day-care centre. 'Children with disabilities - values and practices in day-care centres' is a PhD project which is also part of the project.

COST A19, Children’s Welfare

Contact Information NOSEB

Contact Information NOSEB

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