Studentship Available Object Lessons: Encouraging Children’s Language through Actively Engaging with Museum and Art Gallery Artifacts

Faculty of Education

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Project Summary:

The studentship will be located within ESRI’s Centre for the Cultural Studies of Children and Childhood (CCSCC), as well working in conjunction with two external partners: Manchester City Art Gallery and Manchester Museum (The University of Manchester). The studentship will undertake research into young children’s (6 months- 4 years) active engagement with museum and gallery artifacts in order to build on and extend their early language/interaction skills. The studentship will have a community focus aimed at brokering links between the museums, families, children and early years educators. A key question for the research is ‘in what way can learning that arises from external embodied activity with museum objects enhance internal cognition?’ Further exploratory questions could include:

What sorts of museum and gallery based activities could be designed and implemented where the focus is directed towards children’s affective and embodied engagement with artifacts aimed at developing their communication and interaction skills?

What sorts of processes would be involved in evaluating these activities in terms of children’s learning, particularly when learning is understood outside of mainstream cognitive development?

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What sorts of process will be involved in terms of working with early years practitioners when their customary ways of assessing children’s early learning is challenged?

What are the repercussions in terms of the structure and organisation of galleries when the focus is on young children’s embodied encounters with artifacts and objects skills, where language is not necessarily an indicator of learning?

What skills and process will have to be developed by museum/ early years practitioners that will enable them to involve the child’s home community when there is an emphasis on utilising embodied encounters with objects?

How might the research contribute towards the development of CPD programmes?

What is the relationship between embodied learning and school readiness?

The studentship will work alongside a knowledge exchange project, focusing on the development of a learning platform that will enable early years settings, schools, communities and researchers to share their experiences, ideas and practices.

The research will take an ethnographic orientation within the museum settings and will include case study data.

We are interested in hearing from candidates with a recent first or upper second in a relevant undergraduate degree and preferably candidates who have a masters degree that has included research training. Relevant subject areas include education, art gallery and museum studies, cultural and social anthropology.

The studentship is fully funded by MMU’s Research and Knowledge Exchange and The Policy and Evaluation Unit (PERU) and will cover tuition fees (Home/EU only) and a bursary for a fixed period of 3 years (tax free stipend of £12,000 per year).

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There may be opportunities to earn additional income through teaching activities subject to satisfactory progress on the studentship.

Closing Date 21 July 2013

For more information and how to apply click on the ‘Apply’ button below.

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