Voices in a Pandemic: Children’s lockdown experiences applied to recovery

Project funder

Arts and Humanities Research Council

Research partners/collaborators

  • Luci Gorell Barnes (socially-engaged artist) as co-researcher
  • Glenfrome Primary School
  • Filton Avenue Primary School
  • May Park Primary School
  • Parkwall Primary School
  • Speedwell Nursery
  • Hartcliffe Nursery
  • Action for Children
  • Bristol City Council
  • Bristol Museums/Archives
  • Bristol Curiosity Connections
  • Bristol Mayor’s Office

Project summary

The VIP-CLEAR project explores how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the learning, development, health and wellbeing of vulnerable, socially-disadvantaged children (early years: three to five years; primary: five to eleven years) in England by capturing their voices and experiences.  Their families live with multiple uncertainties, stresses and vulnerabilities, making these children more susceptible to COVID-19 impacts and highlighting deep societal inequalities. 

The interdisciplinary research aims to: 

  1. gather and critically evaluate the worldviews, perceptions and experiences of social-disadvantaged children during the COVID-19 response
  2. draw learning from the above to support their involvement in ‘recovery’
  3. build anticipatory resilient capital from their experiences in preparation for future social shocks, including pandemics.

The project focuses on multicultural Bristol, where we have well-established relationships with practitioners/ stakeholders in children’s learning, health and wellbeing. This will ensure meaningful co-production with local, regional and national partners (nursery centres, schools, Bristol City Council and Action for Children) for immediate translation of our findings in policy and practice at different scales.

The project will gather and exchange critical ‘data’ quickly using creative, participatory ‘daylighting’ methodologies that are child-focused and multi-channel. Our methods interweave socially-engaged arts practice with social science to capture nuances and trends in children’s voices and ensure their views are included.

Key outputs

Due to this project still being in its early stages, the project currently has no key outputs. However, anticipated key outputs targeted  for different stakeholders (including children, policy makers, researchers) are as follows:

  • An archive of children’s voices (to be housed at Bristol Archives)
  • Educational toolkits and resources 
  • Policy recommendations and reports
  • A primary school book
  • Creative research outputs including blogs, photography, artworks, and videos
  • Peer-reviewed publications 
  • Co-produced conference papers and panel presentations
  • Webinars

Key findings

There are currently no specific research findings to record. However, expected key findings will contribute to areas of knowledge including, but not limited to, children’s learning, development, health, and wellbeing particularly in the context of social inequality. COVID-19 has amplified disadvantage and this project will provide an opportunity for the voices and experiences of these young children in Bristol to be heard. It is hoped that the research and engagement process will contribute to their recovery as individuals but also more widely as their experiences feed into policy at both a local and national level.

Project contacts

For further information about the project, please contact Dr Amanda Webber ( or Professor Lindsey McEwen (

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