Project

Living Archives in Residential Child Care: using the past to inform the future

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Collaboration with Aberlour Child Care Trust, National Records of Scotland and University of Osnabrück, Germany.

This research project first analyses from, a historical perspective, how memories of places and relations in group care have been stored in existing archives. Second, alternative digital archives will be developed with young people presently living in care and care experienced adults in both Scotland and Germany. It will be undertaken in two stages:

(1) Drawing on methods derived from content analysis and theories of post custodial archiving the existing archives from one children’s home in Germany and one in Scotland will be examined. This will focus on the ways in which the everyday, group experience has been captured. (2) By working in partnership with children, care experienced adults and staff in one residential children home in Germany and one in Scotland this research project will co-produce digital, virtual ‘living archives’ of children’s homes accessible to current and past staff, residents and ex residents. Over three years the research will explore the contents of the archives, how these are determined and the how the ethics of group living and shared memories in a regulated and politically controlled environment are managed.

The transnational methodology of the research will show how the often taken for granted national context implicitly shapes children and young peoples’ memories as well as the preservation of these memories. Throughout the project, the ways in which the differing contexts of care in Scotland and Germany influences the process of archiving, as well as the accessing and use of the archives will be examined offering rich and unprecedented insight into the ways in which policy and culture impact on case recording practice and responses to the ‘future adult’ of the children in care. In addition, the project team will develop and pilot a range of internationally relevant resources including a guidance pack and training materials to support other residential children’s homes to create their own archives and to develop practice in relation to case recording.

Total award value £284,238.00

People

Dr Ruth Emond
Dr Ruth Emond

Associate Professor, Social Work

Dr Sian Lucas
Dr Sian Lucas

Lecturer, Social Work

Mr Karl Magee
Mr Karl Magee

University Archivist, Administration