Exploring the mediation of children’s experiences: two-day international workshop

On 24 and 25 April 2023, 51 participants from 14 countries joined online and in person at Tampere University the workshop, ‘Children, media and communication: new histories of experience’. During the two days, a lively discussion about children and young people’s experiential encounters with media and communication practices in a variety of historical and present-day settings took place. The event was sponsored by HEX and the Turku Institute for Advanced Studies.

In addition to, Stephanie Olsen’s keynote talk, the workshop programme consisted of five sessions, covering themes including “Children in the margins and their mediated experience” and “Children using and experimenting with media and technologies”. With papers discussing research subjects in Australia, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Denmark and Finland, it showed the value of thinking transnationally about these themes, as well as the specificities of the temporal and cultural examples that speakers examined. More widely, the workshop successfully fostered new academic discussion of the concept of experience in Childhood Studies, specifically in relation to children’s use, consumption and making of media.

Having been awarded an Outreach Award from the Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY), the workshop organisers Eve Colpus (University of Southampton and Visiting Fellow at HEX), Heidi Kurvinen (University of Turku) and Antti Malinen (Tampere University) were able to enrichen the academic content by inviting the visual artist Aiju Salmén-Salminen to the second day of the workshop. Based on her HEX experience, Salmén-Salminen produced a comic strip (shown on this webpage), which captures the complex and multi-layered nature of the concept of experience. By reflecting on her own position as an artist who had been commissioned to illustrate Stephanie Olsen’s keynote talk, Salmén-Salminen is able to pinpoint something very essential about experience as an analytical concept: people, the research subjects of historians included, are experiencing the world from their own socio-cultural perspectives. Simultaneously all past experiences we are studying are mediated somehow.

A more detailed description of the workshop is available at the SHCY blog.

A mailing list childcom@lists.utu.fi has been established to offer a space for intellectual exchange of ideas relating to children, media and communication. All scholars interested in the topic are welcome to join our community by subscribing to it via this link: https://lists.utu.fi/mailman/listinfo/childcom.