Child-dog faeces assemblages and children’s engagements in activist art

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Dog fouling is recognised as antisocial, unhealthy and illegal in England, yet it persists. Much action against dog fouling happens in communities and impacts are largely unrecorded. Here we report an activist project with primary-aged children in Bristol, England that resulted in dog fouling reductions near schools and reflect on the role for children in effecting social change in their local environment. The paper takes a New Materialist turn, decentring experience from the individual child to the child in assemblages of more-than-human relations. Photos of children’s interventions against dog fouling are presented to explore how they have used material resources and creativity to emphasise the health and social risks of faeces from a child’s perspective. This provides a focus on child-faeces-environment assemblages where children adopt methods of activist art that comprise matter including the faeces to convey a new relational ontology of dog fouling and a reifying of the ‘problem’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)735-753
Number of pages19
JournalChildren’s Geographies
Issue number6
Early online date16 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Faculty of Social Sciences and Law, University of Bristol; Bristol City Council; Brigstow Institute, University of Bristol. We would like to thank the schools, children and staff who participated in the project and our partners in this work: Clare Marshall at Sustainable Learning, Kurt James who led the Bristol Clean Streets Programme and Mayor Marvin Rees who supported and championed the work. We would also like to thank the amazing students who co-developed and delivered the learning materials in schools and supported schools on the day to collect data: Gozde Burger, Rachel Wilder, Wenjing Zhang, Donna Clutterbuck, Lisa Morgans, Ginny Gould and Oliver Kishebuka. Finally, we would like to thank the following organisations for funding this work: Brigstow Institute, University of Bristol Strategic Funding and Bristol City Council.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Structured keywords

  • SPS Children and Families Research Centre


  • Dogs
  • children
  • new materialism
  • activist art
  • intra-action
  • agential realism


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