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Young Carers Research Group - Loughborough University

YCRG - Current Research

"Pictures of Young Caring"
Dr. Jo Aldridge and Dr. Darren Sharpe

We aim to test the usefulness of photographic participation and elicitation research methods among a group of young carers. The study uses photographs taken by young carers as the basis for a study into the effectiveness of ‘visual diaries’, as a specific research tool, to use with these vulnerable groups of children/young people. A further aim of the study is to provide deeper insight into the young caring experience and the nature of caring and parent-child relationships when parents have serious mental health problems. Such data may prove useful in terms of informing current UK health and social care policy and practice. Previous visual research in this field undertaken by the award holder (Jo Aldridge) and the research associate (Darren Sharpe) has shown that children/young people enjoy participating in photographic research. We also know from our research studies that some children are unable or unwilling to participate fully in conventional research approaches, for example semi-structured interviews. Thus, it is hoped that this study will allow children to involve themselves more directly in the research process and reflect upon features of caring that they would have made visible and/or named.

Research methods
Twenty children/young people (from Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire) will be provided with disposable cameras in order to illustrate photographically their experiences of living with, and caring for, parents with mental illness (participation). The children will also be encouraged to talk about the photographs they have taken (elicitation) in a semi-structured interview.

Length of project
Ten months: starting January 2006

The Economic and Social Research Council

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Now available here on the YCRG website
, and printed version. In addition, exhibitions of the children/young people’s photography will be shown at sites in Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire.