The visual and material culture of children and childhood

Within this strand of research, we explore children, childhood and parenthood from visual, cultural and material perspectives. The research cuts across research fields such as visual culture, consumer culture, child culture, tourism, leisure activities, the media and everyday life.

The uniqueness of our research approach is that we focus on children’s leisure time both outside and within social and cultural establishments. We examine how families come into being through consumer and cultural heritage activities. We explore the social meaning of money in children’s everyday lives, the image of the child as well as children’s own image production.

Another important topic is the relation between young children, sexuality and visual culture. Here, we explore the practice of looking; who can be seen, who looks at whom, where and when? We also examine the notion of the paedophilic gaze and the paedophilication of children’s everyday lives.

Theoretically, this research area focuses on how the material and non-material worlds are being made in and through practice. We discover and stay with the entanglements, mess and motions that make up children’s everyday lives. We take a critical approach to how taken-for-granted norms and values are enacted in and through both material and non-material practices concerning children and childhood; we call this Child Studies Multiple.

Methodologically, we work with visual research methodologies using video recordings, digital media, photographs, photo elicitation, drawings and art. We conduct visual and sensory ethnographies, interviews and focus group discussions.

Examples of research topics

  • Child sexuality
  •  The visual and material culture of children and childhood (e.g., advertising, TV)
  • The visualisation of fatherhood/parenthood
  • Charity
  • Cultural establishments for children and families (Amusement parks, theme parks, science centres and children’s museums)
  • (Disabled) children’s and young people’s leisure activities
  • Adoption return trips and family memory tourism
  • Culture by baby
  • Child culture Children’s consumer culture

Child Studies