This page has information on the wide range of research projects that we are involved in. Please scroll down for more details of our completed projects to date and our ongoing research projects. Research projects are arranged with the most recent research appearing first.
Completed projects include 'Animated debate', 'Websites made by young people', 'Shared spaces; Informal learning and digital cultures', 'Making playful learning visible' and 'Connect 2000'.
Our starting point
For all children and young people, we know that it is good to develop self-esteem as well as to have fun, to play act and to experiment in the arts. At WAC, we encourage all children and young people to try out and then develop their skills in the performing arts. This might be to complement their academic skills or sometimes to be the first step towards working with others in a positive way.
Our research work is mainly concerned with examining the role that the arts and 'informal education' has in engaging with children and young people. We also want to know if these qualities could be transferred across to the formal education system to keep children and young people motivated, engaged and working productively towards their life objectives. We hope to work towards reducing the numbers of exclusions and to help keep, particularly marginalised, children and young people on track to personal success and achievement.
Our research programme aims to develop a model of 'informal education'. We hope to describe diverse models of informal 'pedagogy', types of teaching and learning, and also to consider how teaching and learning might be situated in the different social context of a community-based, training-orientated arts organisation.
We believe WAC, and organisations like it, make a significant contribution to the identification of effective teaching and learning approaches with young people. If our sector were able to engage in productive dialogue with formal education and to share models of good practice, we believe this would have important implications for the development of curriculum and pedagogy within schools and colleges.
To this end, WAC is engaged in a series of research projects exploring both young people's learning at WAC, and also how young people's experience of arts and media cultures outside schools might influence future development in education and training.
The target group for 'Animated debate' consisted of socially excluded young people from each of the partner nations and we ran computer animation workshops for children and young people between the ages of ten and twenty years old. Please click on Animated debate for more detailed information about the project, or go to the following web page: http://www.teatrgrodzki.netpol.pl/cd_guide/pages_eng/debate.html
Websites made by young people
The outcomes of this research were published as: 'Style, genre and technology: the strange case of youth culture online' by O'Hear, S. and Sefton-Green, J in Snyder, I. and Beavis, C. [eds] Doing Literacy Online Cresskill, NJ: New Hampton Press (2004)
Shared spaces: Informal learning and digital cultures
This project looks at a range of learning situations involving digital technology and asks how educators can engage with children and successfully bring these experiences into the classroom.
Please click on 'Shared spaces ' for more information about this interesting project.
Making playful learning visible
Two pilot projects were carried out during this period. This evaluation considers how MPLV was set up and run, how the participants interacted during the project and what they may have learnt. It also examines how MPLV might be developed further in later incarnations, the nature of the learning experienced during the project and how such principles might be further articulated. It concludes with a set of final recommendations for taking the idea further.
To find out more about the Making Playful Learning Visible project, please click on MPLV final report which gives an in-depth account of the full study.
1. to define and compare the 'informal' education sectors in which the programmes are being mounted;
The results of this research were published in the report: 'Making Connection: Media Education and Social Inclusion' by Lord, P., Paul Doherty, P. & Sefton-Green, J. Leicester: National Youth Agency (2002)
Ongoing research projects :
The biographical approach will allow for a study of specific life-moments and subjective conceptualisations of the barriers, pathways and opportunities which supported and hindered employment.
Small business support
This research begins by summarising the literature and agencies available which support small business growth. It offers four detailed case studies of the businesses developed at WAC. These track key moments which influenced the direction of the business and analyse how the key individuals involved have used forms of social capital to develop their enterprises.
The results are analysed to provide key strategies for supporting businesses of this kind in this sphere.
Links to more research:
For more information on this work, please click on the New Spaces link or go to the following web page : http://www.unisa.edu.au/hawkeinstitute/publications/workingpaper.asp#35