Community, urban futures and faith belonging in children’s art

Year: 2019

Author: Hickey-Moody, Anna

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper examines identity and faith belonging in collaboratively created images of urban futures made by children involved in a multi-sited ethnographic research project, which in part aims to generate and document religious children’s perspectives on their worlds. As part of a broader research programme, the multi-sited ethnographic project includes arts workshops with children in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, as well as in London and Manchester, UK. The social and political settings of these comparable and dominantly Anglo, diversifying contexts are often dominated by negative discourses in relation to Islam, and its relationship to contemporary incidences of terrorism (as observed during fieldwork during the Manchester and London attacks in mid-2017). That being said, the ways that child participants understand, and negotiate, place based religious discourses and mediated representations prompts discussion regarding the extent, and nature, of young people’s media engagement. Recent events both in the antipodes and the UK, provide an opportunity to interrogate the nature, and role, of the “performance” of public memorial in community life. Further, the increasing de-industrialisation and gentrification of a number of project fieldwork sites in both Australia and the UK prompts consideration of the ways children and young people feel that they identify/do not identify with their home and community (as evidenced through their own observations, and artwork creation) and how, and why, this is potentially shifting over time.