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Storying special objects: Material culture, narrative identity and life story work for children in care

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@article{0428d7d99d4f49349f9b87adfd98472d,
title = "Storying special objects: Material culture, narrative identity and life story work for children in care",
abstract = "This paper considers the importance of material objects for looked after and adopted children integrated as part of life story work practices. Conducting life story work is believed to be good practice within direct work with looked after children in England and there are a range of diverse practices, including life story books, later life letters and memory boxes. Through a creative design project developing a playful memory product for looked after children, we have had the opportunity to capture sector perspectives on life story work approaches and these are interspersed throughout this commentary. Combining multi-disciplinary theoretical perspectives and these sector insights, we explore how special material objects are important for children’s identity and continuity of sense of self. The paper highlights the importance of children telling their own stories of these objects, giving them agency and control over their life story narratives. In a context of austerity, life story work may not be prioritised by social workers who have many other competing demands and limited resources. We emphasise the need for professionals to recognise the value children give to objects and to provide them with opportunities to both keep these safe during placement moves and to tell their own story through their objects alongside more traditional, formal life story work. The recommendations have implications for children in out of home care in many country contexts, not just England where the research has been conducted.",
keywords = "Life story, Objects, Memory, identity, children in care, Wellbeing",
author = "Debbie Watson and Rachel Hahn and Jo Staines",
year = "2019",
month = "5",
day = "19",
doi = "10.1177/1473325019850616",
language = "English",
journal = "Qualitative Social Work",
issn = "1473-3250",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Ltd",

}

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Storying special objects

T2 - Material culture, narrative identity and life story work for children in care

AU - Watson, Debbie

AU - Hahn, Rachel

AU - Staines, Jo

PY - 2019/5/19

Y1 - 2019/5/19

N2 - This paper considers the importance of material objects for looked after and adopted children integrated as part of life story work practices. Conducting life story work is believed to be good practice within direct work with looked after children in England and there are a range of diverse practices, including life story books, later life letters and memory boxes. Through a creative design project developing a playful memory product for looked after children, we have had the opportunity to capture sector perspectives on life story work approaches and these are interspersed throughout this commentary. Combining multi-disciplinary theoretical perspectives and these sector insights, we explore how special material objects are important for children’s identity and continuity of sense of self. The paper highlights the importance of children telling their own stories of these objects, giving them agency and control over their life story narratives. In a context of austerity, life story work may not be prioritised by social workers who have many other competing demands and limited resources. We emphasise the need for professionals to recognise the value children give to objects and to provide them with opportunities to both keep these safe during placement moves and to tell their own story through their objects alongside more traditional, formal life story work. The recommendations have implications for children in out of home care in many country contexts, not just England where the research has been conducted.

AB - This paper considers the importance of material objects for looked after and adopted children integrated as part of life story work practices. Conducting life story work is believed to be good practice within direct work with looked after children in England and there are a range of diverse practices, including life story books, later life letters and memory boxes. Through a creative design project developing a playful memory product for looked after children, we have had the opportunity to capture sector perspectives on life story work approaches and these are interspersed throughout this commentary. Combining multi-disciplinary theoretical perspectives and these sector insights, we explore how special material objects are important for children’s identity and continuity of sense of self. The paper highlights the importance of children telling their own stories of these objects, giving them agency and control over their life story narratives. In a context of austerity, life story work may not be prioritised by social workers who have many other competing demands and limited resources. We emphasise the need for professionals to recognise the value children give to objects and to provide them with opportunities to both keep these safe during placement moves and to tell their own story through their objects alongside more traditional, formal life story work. The recommendations have implications for children in out of home care in many country contexts, not just England where the research has been conducted.

KW - Life story

KW - Objects

KW - Memory

KW - identity

KW - children in care

KW - Wellbeing

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85067644861&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/1473325019850616

DO - 10.1177/1473325019850616

M3 - Article

JO - Qualitative Social Work

JF - Qualitative Social Work

SN - 1473-3250

ER -