Children Framing Childhoods

Wendy Luttrell, Urban Education
Project Website: Children Framing Childhoods

CFCicon-webpageAt the core of Wendy Luttrell’s scholarship is an abiding interest in explaining how gender, race, class and sexuality systems of inequality take root in people’s own self-evaluations and actions, including our sense of exclusion, entitlement, constraint, possibility, success and failure. Her research brings distinctive qualitative data to bear on complex social and psychological processes; extending the tradition of ethnography by offering research participants an active role in representing their worlds, as they understand them. She has designed image-based, arts-informed research activities as a means to offer young people/children an opportunity to express, alter, and be in control of their self-representations.

Children Framing Childhoods follows thirty-four diverse, low-income (mostly immigrant) children from elementary school to high school and identifies the roles that gender, race and immigrant status play in how they portray their social and emotional worlds. In this visual ethnography project, young people took pictures of family, school, and community life that emphasize their participation in, and insights about, larger social structures, processes, and ideologies—including the global migration of people, poverty, gender, and the American Dream. Such large-scale processes are not often understood from the perspective of children as social actors, but this is the goal of the project.