Virtual Cabinet of Curiosities

20. A model of three friends and a love heart (painted salt dough), Dr Louise Holt

In participatory research, young people (aged 7-16) were asked to examine ‘friends’, using their own methods. Responses ranged from pictures and models to role-plays and a street dance.

These activities were video-recorded to examine young people’s interactions. They were followed by paired discussions. We were interested in how young people forge identities around disability, ability and ‘Special Educational needs’, and also gender, race/ethnicity, religion and so on.

A key finding is that friendships are key to young people’s experiences of school (at least as important as ‘formal’ lessons). We found that small things can make an important difference to young people’s friendships: flexible transport, time and space to spend together to find out if young people have shared interests and/or simply ‘get on’ and access to activities.

More about Louise's research