Experiences of Growing up in Visibly Different Households


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Experiences of Growing up in Visibly Different Households

This research project is funded by the Economic and Social Science Research Council, and being conducted at the Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London by myself (Ann Phoenix) and two Research Officers, Elaine Bauer and Stephanie Davis-Gill. The research explores the link between three sets of childhood experiences and adult identities (i) experiences of serial migration from the Caribbean; (ii) experiences of growing up in households that are visibly mixed; and (iii) experiences of interpreting and translating for parents.

If you feel able to take part, I would very much like to interview you for the project on adults who grew up in visibly ethnically different households. An increasing number of adults living in Britain today have grown up in households with individuals from different ethnic backgrounds. Very little is known about this group, and what has been written about them has often been from journalistic perspectives, with very little understanding of the impact of such experiences on their identities. This research aims to contribute to the understanding of what it is like to grow up in households which are visibly ethnically mixed.

The research will explore the stories of adults who grew up in visibly mixed households; the ways in which they make sense of those childhood experiences and whether or not they have had an impact on their identities. We hope that the findings provide much needed information that will improve social understandings.

The project will involve approximately 40 individual audio-recorded interviews with adults, and a small focus group with five to seven adults. Any adult who had these experiences and is willing to participate will be included in the project. Interviews will take about 1½ hours and there may be a second interview to follow up any issues that were not fully discussed. The interview is a space for participants to speak about their experiences from their own perspectives.

Participation in the study is voluntary and you are free to withdraw from the study at any time without giving any reason. All participants will remain anonymous. This means that their names and any material which might identify them will be removed. If more than one family member is interviewed, we will ensure that confidentiality is maintained and that if the family members wish, a different member of the research team conducts the interview. Focus group participants will be asked to keep the contents of the interview and the identity of the participants confidential.

At the end of the project, the research will be written up and published in journals for practitioners and academics in a range of disciplines including anthropology, sociology and social policy journals. We will also present the findings at conferences which will include practitioners and academics. We will send you a summary of our overall findings, and invite you to a meeting where the findings will be discussed.

Please feel free to discuss any aspect of the project with me. I very much hope you will consider participating in what we feel is a very exciting and interesting project.

Ann Phoenix
Professor and Co-Director
Thomas Coram Research Unit

Tel: +44(0)20 7911 5395
Fax: +44(0)20 7612 6927
Email: a.phoenix@ioe.ac.uk