About the project

The Children’s Photography Archive (CPA beta) is the first archive in the world of its kind, featuring the photographs of child photographers. The project tests the scaling up of the CPA for the creation of evidence-based and openly accessible methodologies and learning resources for a child-authored, multimodal citizenship curriculum in primary schools. The social innovation grows out of our ERC-funded research (the ‘CONNECTORS STUDY’) on the relationship between childhood and public life with six- to eight-year olds that demonstrated how children connect to and produce rich multimodal stories (using text, image, sound) about their experiences of public life. The project will also create and make sustainable the first-ever Children’s Photography Archive 2.0 (CPA 2.0) for citizenship education that provides educators and pupils methodologies and tools for a child-authored, multimodal citizenship education. The project seeks to (1) address the challenges faced by teachers in delivering citizenship education; (2) develop adult/educator capabilities for understanding children’s visual communication in relation to citizenship; (3) provide an infrastructure to support and recognise children’s visual communication. The CPA 2.0 will innovate on citizenship education by offering multimodal content and methodology created by and designed with children and teachers, and will test the scaling up of the CPA for child-authored, multimodal citizenship education in real-world settings, at the same time as providing a platform for children photographers to display their work and increase public understanding of children’s photographic forms of expression. There is an urgency to this project as we enter a critical time for Europe’s future. As such, geographically located at the edges of Europe (Greece, United Kingdom), this project will yield complex and emerging multimodal stories of what it means to grown up ‘European’ which will serve educational and cultural purposes. 

The project is being delivered in two phases:

‘Children’s Photo-Stories of Citizenship’: Creating child-designed and multimodal educational resources for citizenship teaching in primary schools.

The purpose of phase one is to develop educational materials for the teaching of citizenship in primary schools. There are very few resources available for teaching citizenship education in schools, and none that are created by children for children. The CPA/Proof of Concept (PoC) is an innovation project that aims to address this gap. We do this by collaboratively working with children and teachers to produce ‘photo-stories’ (photographs and stories) about the things in the world that matter to primary aged children and to work out how best to use these resources for teaching citizenship in the classroom.  We call this the ‘workshop’ phase of the project. We will also be carrying out an evaluation of the workshops. 

Children’s Photography Archive: Setting up a functioning archive where children can submit their photos. 

The purpose of phase two is to establish the Children’s Photography Archive (CPA) that can receive photographic submissions from children photographers, and projects working with children and photography. In order to do so we will be developing protocols and good practice in the archiving of children’s photography which follows GDPR legislation, ethical visual practice, and submission procedures so that children under 18 can deposit their photographs to the archive and the archive is ready to receive and create ‘collections’ of children’s photography. 

Project team

Melissa Nolas is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is the co-Director of the Childhood Publics Research Programme and the Children’s Photography Archive and the co-editor of the online journal entanglements: experiments in multimodal ethnography. Her research interests are in human agency and everyday life; childhood, youth and family lives; women’s health; social and economic change; civic and political practices across the life course; multimodal ethnography and creative research methods; archives and photography; publics creating methodologies.

Christos Varvantakis is an anthropologist working at Goldsmiths, University of London in the Department of Sociology. She is the co-Director of the Childhood Publics Research Programme and the Children’s Photography Archive and the co-editor of the online journal entanglements: experiments in multimodal ethnography. His research interests are in the intersections of childhood and public life; politics and urban environments; visual and multimodal research methodologies; ethnographic cinema; archives and photography.

Gabriella Giannachi, FRSA, MAE, is Professor in Performance and New Media, and Director of the Centre for Intermedia and Creative Technologies at the University of Exeter. Her research interest are in art and technology; mobile interpretation and user-generated documentation of art and sport events; the creation, exhibition, and sharing of archival resources within an exhibition context; mixed, augmented and virtual reality; presence research; museum studies and digital curation; new media and digital curation; oral history and digital heritage; creative technologies and public humanities. Gabriella is advising Melissa and Christos on the set up on the Children’s Photography Archive.

Johannes Schöning is Professor of Human-Computer Interaction, University of Bremen, the co-director of the Bremen Spatial Cognition Center (BSCC) and a member of the TZI (Technologie-Zentrum Informatik und Informationstechnik). His research interests lie at the intersection of (HCI), geographic information science and ubiquitous interface technologies. In his HCI lab he and his colleagues investigate how people interact with digital spatial information and create new methods and novel interfaces to help people interact with spatial information. This includes the development and evaluation of wearable technologies, mobile augmented reality and virtual reality applications, interactive surfaces and tabletops, and other “post desktop” interfaces.

The team are supported by an interdisciplinary reference group:

  • Alice Corble, Sociologist of Libraries and Librarian/Academic Services Supervisor, University of Sussex
  • Catherine Fehily, Head of College, CIT Crawford College of Art and Design
  • Elsa Guily, Artist and Doctoral Student, Universität der Künste Berlin
    Vangelis Karamanolakis, co-director of ASKI Contemporary Social History Archives and Assistant Professor of Theory and History of Historiography, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
    Penelope Petsini, Photographer and Post-Doctoral Researcher, Department of Political Science and History,Panteion University
    Annebella Pollen, Principal Lecturer in the History of Art and Design, Brighton University
    Catherine Sloan, Career Development Fellow, University of Oxford

Information sheets

We have created an information sheet for members of the public who are approached by children participating in the ‘Children’s Photo-Stories of Citizenship’ project and the Children’s Photography Archive. Click on the link below for more information about what it means to have your image included in the project and how you can withdraw your image.

Public Information Sheet_Feb 2020


European Research Council (ERC-PoC-874454).