Children’s Lives Research Initiative is part of the Hallmark Research Initiatives, developed by the University to foster interdisciplinary partnerships within the University and to increase collaborations with our external partners. Our team involves researchers from three faculties within the University of Melbourne, including Melbourne Graduate School of Education; Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences; and the Melbourne Law School. High-level external engagement will be sought to identify and tackle the most pressing issues for children and young people today.
The Children’s Lives Research Initiative is underpinned by the concept of a rights based approach, where children and young people’s evolving capacities and expertise are valued. Under a rights based approach, there is an expectation that children and young people’s views will become far more active and influential in the development of policy and research agendas that affect them. The Children’s Lives Research Initiative aims to make children, young people and their families more visible as research participants and use innovative developmentally appropriate methodologies to engage children and young people.
The Children’s Lives Research Initiative provides a unique opportunity to realise the potential for the University of Melbourne to make a positive significant difference to the lives of children and young people in the 21st Century. This Initiative will make it possible to support cross-discipline and cross-sectoral collaborations within and external to the University to examine the underlying complexity of circumstances impacting children and young people’s capacity to thrive and to identify complex practice and policy relevant solutions.
We are really excited to be working on this Initiative together, to strengthen new and existing partnerships and to make an impact on the lives of children and young people. If you would like any further information, please feel free to contact either of us, or the Academic Convenor (Dr Elise Davis, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Associate Professor Lisa Gibbs and Professor Collette Tayler
Co-Chair – Associate Professor Lisa Gibbs
Associate Professor Lisa Gibbs is Director of the Jack Brockhoff Child Health and Wellbeing Program and an internationally renowned public health researcher with expertise in child participation, complex interventions and community partnerships.
Co-Chair - Professor Collette Tayler
Professor Collette Tayler holds the Chair in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) at The University of Melbourne. Professor Tayler is leading the Effective Early Educational Experiences (E4Kids) national longitudinal study that follows the care and educational experiences of up to 2,800 young children aged three to eight years, and their families, over a five-year period.
The Steering Group will guide the research program and support the Chairs.
Steering Group Members include:
- Professor John Hattie (Director of Melbourne Education Research Institute)
- Professor John Tobin (Professor, Melbourne Law School)
- Professor Louise Harms (Professor of Social Work)
- Professor Cathy Humphreys (Professor of Social Work)
- Dr Sarah Wise (Social Work, University of Melbourne)
- Dr Jane Page (Melbourne Graduate School of Education)
Dr Elise Davis is the Academic Convenor of Children’s Lives Research Initiative. Dr Davis is Associate Director of the Jack Brockhoff Child Health and Wellbeing Program. Her research focuses on the promotion of health and wellbeing for children and their families, with a focus on children with a disability.
Barely a day goes past when a complex issue concerning children and young people does not arise in Australian society. Indeed the question of what it means to be a child living in the 21st Century is a hot topic. The Children’s Lives Research Initiative aims to be a world-class interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral program that understands the challenges experienced by children and young people growing up in the 21st Century, and identifies potential solutions and appropriate responses to these challenges.
It is concerned with the generation of research that will address not only the protective needs of children and young people (such as protection from violence and abuse) but also their developmental needs (in areas such as education and social services), their health needs (with lifecourse considerations), and the measures required to enable their evolving autonomy needs (in areas such as citizenship and freedom of expression).
Critically, researchers across fields such as public health, epidemiology, law, early childhood, education, social work, government, social and environmental policy, communications, and digital technologies, must come together with their respective industry and community partners, and children and young people themselves, to generate contemporary evidence which will inform policies and practices to improve the lives of children and young people.
The Children’s Lives Research Initiative aims to examine the following questions-
- What are the major priority issues of concern for children and young people, and the common determinants and opportunities for solutions for children growing up in 21st Century?
- What are the major new opportunities to support children and young people that have not yet been realized in the current economic and social climate?
- How can an evaluation base be developed to upscale major beneficial programs for children and young people?
In December 2016, the Children’s Lives Research Initiative hosted the ‘Research With and For Children’ half-day seminar, supported by the Melbourne Social Equity Institute. The seminar attracted a diverse group of academics, community practitioners, non-for profits and higher degree students.
On the basis of this event, it became evident that a network was needed to connect researchers and practitioners across the University of Melbourne and externally to support the practice of research with and for children. This network was established in early 2017.
We welcome anyone with an interest in this area to join our mailing list, to keep up to date with further activities and to facilitate learnings from one another.
A/Prof Lisa Gibbs, presenting at the Research With and For Children Half-day Seminar, Frank Tate Room, MGSE, The University of Melbourne (Dec 2016)