Decolonising the Childhood Studies Curriculum

This workshop will tell the story of our attempts to decolonise the Childhood Studies curriculum for first year undergraduates. We will draw on theory about decolonisation to highlight what worked and the challenges we are still grappling with. Our work has involved exploring issues around transgender childhoods, notions of disability and children from the Global South. The key link through these topics has been one of introducing authentic voices.
We have been interested in how examining these topics has challenged us to question our own perceptions of the values and experiences our students may hold.

We will use tablets and the whiteboard/projector to allow participants to interact with elements from three different Childhood Studies sessions:

  • Transgender childhoods: videos then focused discussion
  • Disabled childhoods: online exhibition linked to the Human Rights Act
  • Global childhoods: narratives of street-connected children

Participants will experience these activities and then have opportunities to examine how such activities can allow students to:

  • Reflect on their own values and experiences in relation to different childhoods
  • Have the space to ‘speak out’ and say things that are challenging
  • See themselves reflected in teaching and learning materials
  • Be prepared for working in a sector where understanding diversity is key

The workshop will conclude with a discussion about how this work can be transferred beyond the module sessions and principles that might apply to other areas of the curriculum.

Dimi Kaneva, Jo Bishop and Nicole Whitelaw