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Childrens Lives Project

The Children's Lives project website is presently UNDER CONSTRUCTION
and will go live soon...

The Project

Children’s Lives, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, will be the first major project in Birmingham and the West Midlands to consider children’s lived experiences from the 18th century to the present day. The project consists of a series of interrelated activities and will draw on the nationally acclaimed collections of archives, artefacts, oral histories and film material relating to the lives of children in the past held by Birmingham Archives & Heritage, Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery and the Media Archive of Central England.

Children's Lives

The exhibition in Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery will run from 24 March to 10 June 2012. It will explore the different ways people have thought about childhood as a stage of life, the relationships of children with their families and peers, the experiences of children in school, at work, and at the hands of various welfare institutions, and the ways that children have imagined the world. The exhibition will present the diversity of the city in all its forms, for example, ethnicity, gender, class, and disability. Children’s Lives will draw extensively on Birmingham’s collections to bring the voice of the child out of the archive and museum and in so doing will draw the past and the present into sharper focus.

Photo by Lisel Haas

Children's Lives Website

The website will have a substantial digital presence which will echo the physical exhibition while also incorporating galleries of additional archival material. It will also provide links to useful resources as well as project blogs.

Children's Lives
Blogs is a series of blog entries by the project team allowing visitors to keep up with activities around the exhibition and website. is a blog written by the two school groups where they can communicate with each other, both within their own school and with the partner school, along with the project team at Birmingham Archives & Heritage.

A third blog will provide an historical aspect by recounting school days from the past.

Young People's and Schools Project

Children’s Lives will also include a section on contemporary childhood in the 21st century curated by young people from two local schools. This part of the project aims to work directly with young people to enable them to record, research, document, and communicate the histories and experiences of children and young people by:

  • Providing access to rich and diverse archive collections

  • Providing training for young people to record oral histories

  • Providing support and training to enable young people to develop and establish a Children’s Lives archive at Birmingham Libraries & Archives

  • Providing support and training to enable young people to research, interpret and curate their own exhibition as part of the Children’s Lives exhibition at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

  • Supporting young people to deliver a young people’s exhibition launch event

  • Establishing an online presence by creating a contemporary digital archive

  • Developing the transfer of skills, knowledge and confidence in a number of heritage and broader cultural and educational spheres of activity; enabling young people to make a significant contribution to present-day and future learning and research.

Children's Lives
Project Team

The project is managed by Dr Sian Roberts, Head of Collections Development at Birmingham Archives & Heritage.

The University of Birmingham will be represented by Professor Ian Grosvenor, an acknowledged expert on the history of education and childhood.

The involvement of young people in the project will be run by Izzy Mohammed and Nikki Thorpe, outreach and learning officers at Birmingham Archives & Heritage.

Keep checking back for the latest project news...


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