Global Childhoods is an interdisciplinary, transnational, multi-sited research project based in the Asia-Pacific geopolitical region. This project was first initiated by Dr. I-Fang Lee and Prof. Nicola Yelland and funded by the Centre for Childhood Research and Innovation at the Hong Kong Institute of Education during September 2010- January 2012. The purpose of this research project is to explore and understand the experiences of childhoods in Asia. The participating Asian cultural locations are Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Thailand (in alphabetical order). In order not to over-simplify the multiplicities of global childhoods to a singular globalized childhood, we seek to reconceptualize children’s lived experiences in multiple lifeworlds including homes, schools and communities. Our overarching goal is to understand how children’s various experiences, both in and out of schools in their homes, communities and sociocultural networks may impact on their learning experiences in schools.
In the initial focus point of this research project, Prof. Yelland and Dr. Lee have chosen to ask: What does it mean to be literate in your culture? How do you become literate in your own language? In each of the six Asian cultures, we want to investigate children’s literacy learning and their lived experiences inside and outside of schools in their own cultural settings and contexts. In order to gain in-depth understanding of children’s lifeworlds, Prof. Yelland and Dr. Lee organized a research methodology workshop on ethnography at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, which was led by Associate Professor Sue Saltmarsh from the Australian Catholic University in February 2011. The collaborators from each of the six Asian geopolitical locations came together to explore ethnography as a research methodology collectively while forming a Global Childhood Collective in February 2011.
Since our first meeting in Hong Kong, the Global Childhood Collective has continued to work together as an international network of scholars. We have been meeting in multiple conferences to share and present our works on contemporary issues in childhood studies from our own cultural settings.