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The mesh of playing, theorising and researching in the reality of climate change: creating the co-research playspace.

Rousell, DS and Cutter-Mackenzie, Amy (2019) The mesh of playing, theorising and researching in the reality of climate change: creating the co-research playspace. In: Research handbook on Childhoodnature: assemblages of childhood and nature research. Springer International Handbooks of Education . Springer. ISBN 9783319672854

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Abstract

This chapter develops the concept of the ‘co-research playspace’ as a methodological figure for working with children as co-researchers and co-artists. This concept emerged through our collaborative research and artistic co-production with 135 children who participated in the Climate Change and Me project (2014-2016) in Northern NSW, Australia. Drawing on Winnicott’s concepts of ‘transitional space’ and ‘transitional objects’ in relation to children’s art and environmental play, we locate the co-research playspace within the mesh of children’s playing, theorising and researching in the reality of climate change. In developing the concept of the co-research playspace, we specifically focus on that ways that iPads functioned as transitional objects within the Climate Change and Me project. This leads us to further analyse the ways that children used digital video as a ‘transitional medium’ that allowed them to experiment with new forms of co-production and creative resistance. Through our analysis of films produced by children in the project, we outline a series of three political-aesthetic modes of response to climate change that break with the predominant moralistic discourse surrounding the issue: I. critical interventions in public space; II. wild, absurd, and improvisational disruptions; and III. the creation of thought experiments and alternative worlds. The chapter concludes with the consideration of ‘children as para-academic researchers’, a concept that emphasises children’s abilities to invent their own modes of co-creation and critical inquiry that disrupt normative research protocols and associated adult expectations.

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