The daily struggles that some children face at school, where there is pressure to conform can be overwhelming. Feeling ‘out of place’ at school, while not always traumatic, can be troubling for those who experience it.
Figures from Young Minds suggest that three children in every classroom have diagnosed mental health issues.
Rachel Holmes from Manchester Met has been awarded £294k by the Arts and Humanities Research Council to explore the impact it has on pupils.
The research recognises the ethical urgency of tackling the idea of difference in innovative ways, in response to the daily struggles some children face.
Many children struggle from the stigma of 'feeling different'
Through working with a primary school community, including parents/carers, staff and children themselves, the research will explore the concept of ‘odd-ness’: what odd means; what its value is and why this matters, what it tells us about ordinary, everyday encounters with one another, places and things.
“Many children struggle from the stigma of feeling different, and while the government has invested in promoting young the resilience of children and many schools celebrate difference, there are still issues for those who fall outside of educational and social norms,” Rachel said.
“Our research aims to provide knowledge about odd-ness and its effects, as a way of engaging with and informing policy and contributing to the training of healthcare and education professionals.”
Running for three years, the project will be carried out in collaboration with Becky Shaw, an artist and researcher from Sheffield Hallam University, Steve Pool a freelance artist, Amanda Ravetz, Research Professor in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities at MMU and Kate Pahl who is Director of the Education and Social Research Institute at Manchester Met.
Professor Richard Greene, Pro Vice Chancellor of the Research and Knowledge Exchange Directorate, said: “These projects are significant, not just in terms of the value of the funds they have been awarded, but also in terms of the potential impact they have on our education system.
“I congratulate our colleagues in the Education faculty for receiving these awards, and look forward to the outputs that their research will deliver.”