“A Day in the Life” is an interdisciplinary approach to studying thriving people, often very young children, that has been taken up and adapted in many different global locations. This website is an umbrella to showcase the work that has been done by several international teams of researchers since 2002. At the centre of the innovative project methodology is the videoing of ‘A Day in the Life’ of resilient individuals, whether children, youth, or much older people and then the iterative reviewing of some of that data with project participants. Teams of researchers, bringing their various disciplinary backgrounds and experiences, discuss and analyse their results.
Two Day in the Life teams have recently presented symposia at the Reconceptualising Early Childhood Literacies: an international conference in Manchester in March 2019. Catherine Ann Cameron chaired the symposium: A day in the life: developing innovative methodologies to research literacy, multimodality and resilience in diverse locations. Other contributors were Nora Didkowsky, Independent scholar; Anne Hunt, University of New Brunswick; Giuliana Pinto, Università degli Studi di Firenze; and Julia Gillen, Lancaster University.
Julia Gillen chaired a symposium: A day in the digital lives of children aged 0-3: the tablet and TV. Other contributors were: Cristina Aliagas, Spain; Yehuda Bar-lev, Ben-Gurion University, Israel; Rosie Flewitt, University College London, UK; Ana Jorge, Catholic University of Portugal; Kristiina Kumpulainen, University of Helsinki, Finland; Jackie Marsh, University of Sheffield, UK; Mitsuko Matsumoto, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain; Raquel Pacheco, Portugal; David Poveda, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain (Discussant); Helena Sandberg, Lund University, Sweden; Heidi Sairanen, University of Helsinki, Finland; Fiona Scott, Sheffield University; Ulrika Sjöberg, Malmö University, Sweden; Ebba Sundin, Halmstad University, Sweden; Vitor Tomé , Portugal.
A paper is being prepared by Julia Gillen, Ebba Sundin and Mitsuko Matsumoto for presentation at the American Educational Research Association Conference in Toronto in April 2019.
The first three projects
Project 1: A day in the life of children aged 0-3: an ecological approach 2002-2010
The original project involved two-and-a-half-year-old girls at home in Canada, Italy, Peru, Thailand, Turkey, the UK and the USA. The multidisciplinary, international project team studied the girls’ interactions with their environments, including members of their families. Participatory understandings were developed through watching and discussing parts of the original data with the families and subsequent detailed scrutiny of the video records and transcripts. The project team was led to pay attention to diverse activities including humour, musicality, swinging, drawing, place-making, eating, play, joint book reading and many others that demonstrated reciprocity in the development of understandings. The project contributed to studies of human culture as it is woven in the everyday.
This work led to another project that developed its methodology in new directions. Susan Young directed MyPlace: MyMusic: an international project to explore everyday music in the home among seven-year-olds in diverse locations, including Brazil, Singapore and Kenya. The key publication from this project is Children’s Home Musical Experiences Across the World, edited by Susan Young and Beatriz Illari, published by Indiana University Press in 2016.
Project 2: Negotiating Resilience
Using a range of visual methods, the second project explored the resilience of adolescents in diverse locations around the globe as well. Teenagers in four locations in Canada partnered with in four locations abroad (China, Thailand, India and South Africa) are being studied to determine the themes emerging from observing the days in their lives that indicate the roots of their thriving. This team’s research can be accessed through the Resilience Research Centre at Dalhousie University in Halifax Nova Scotia. Themes of the contributions to thriving of traditional culture, identities, security strivings, and humour are emerging in this work.
Project 3: A day in the life of children in transition to school
The third initiative, in Canada, studied a ‘day in the life’ of children in transition to school, and in particular, transitions of children from cultures different from the culture of the larger community in which the school is located. This project engages scholars and early years educators in six cultural contexts chosen for their initiatives in fostering vibrant transitional experiences in transitions to school.
Other Day in the Life projects have their own pages
The Day in the Digital Life of Children aged 0-3 is a research strand of the Working Group 1 Digital literacy in homes and communities of the COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) programme The Digital Literacy and Multimodal Practices of Young Children. See here for more information.
See here for more information on Um Dia na Vida, the Day in the Life project in Brazil.
The projects have published several books, journal articles and book chapters. We have contributed to many international conferences. You will find more details here.