With the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) currently being incorporated into domestic law, Starcatchers and Dr Rachel Drury, with Research Assistant Claire Ruckert of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, began work on a major new piece of research: Towards an Arts-based Methodology for Participation for Pre-verbal and Non-verbal Children.

What does this mean for Scotland’s babies?

Phase one involved conversations, with artists, cultural venues, and organisations across Scotland. We wanted to understand what practices exist in the industry for listening to the voice of the youngest children in arts settings.

Alongside a literature review as part of this phase, we identified a strong shared understanding between early years artists of what the ‘voice’ of the child might mean, and how to offer an inclusive space for pre-and non-verbal participants. We presented our initial findings at an event in September 2022, and were encouraged by good attendance and engagement from professionals across the arts and early years sectors.

We began phase two of the research in early 2023, with Dr Caralyn Blaisdell joining the team. We are delighted to now share the final report and Reflective Guide that has been developed by Dr Rachel Drury, Dr Caralyn Blaisdell, and Claire Ruckert.

Research Partners