Employing Participatory Artistic Methods to Explore Sense of Belonging Among Migrant Children in Urban Villages

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentationResearch


This lightning talk presents a novel methodological approach employed in the study of the sense of belonging and place attachment among rural-urban migrant children in the urban villages of Guangzhou. Participatory artistic practices serve as a primary research method, facilitating the children's expression and engagement with their shifting urban environments.

The study focuses on a group of 30 children aged 7-12, engaging them through a series of art-based activities designed to elicit their perceptions and connections to their immediate surroundings. These activities include map-making, collage, and model construction, which not only allow the children to articulate their experiences but also provide a rich qualitative dataset. This method proves instrumental in transcending language barriers and capturing the nuanced experiences of these children, whose voices are often marginalised in urban planning discussions.

The presentation will discuss the setup of these artistic sessions, the challenges faced in encouraging genuine participation among young children, and the interpretive strategies employed to analyse the resulting artworks. Preliminary findings suggest that participatory art-making empowers the children, providing insights into their complex narratives of home, community, and identity within the rapidly urbanising spaces.

By integrating children’s creative outputs into academic research, this study demonstrates the potential of artistic methods to enhance understanding of urban transformation impacts on vulnerable populations. This approach not only enriches the academic discourse on migration and urban studies but also promotes a child-centric methodology in urban planning research.
Period24 May 2024
Event titleMethods Fair
Event typeConference
LocationThe University of Manchester, UKShow on map
Degree of RecognitionRegional