Giving Children a Chance to be Children: Care, Memory and Identity in the Countryside
Tverin, Tea Marika
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Care has seldom been linked with memory and the natural environment. Moreover young people have been largely absent from geographical explorations of memory and memories. This research seeks, in part, to fill these gaps by examining young people’s memories and memory formation within frameworks of care and the natural environment. More specifically this research provides insights into socially and economically marginalised young peoples’ memory processes as well as the multiple emotional geographies that are created in an affective web of care, other people and the natural environment. This thesis provides an original, critical examination of a third sector charitable organisation Country Holidays for Inner City Kids (CHICKS) and their respite breaks for disadvantaged young people between 8-15 years of age. 26 young people who attended CHICKS were interviewed in addition to multiple staff members, volunteers and referral agents. Additionally exhaustive observations were carried out on 17 different respite breaks. This thesis has three research aims. Firstly it sets out to examine how care experiences shape memory formation at CHICKS. Secondly, it explores how care produces space, particularly in the natural environment. And thirdly it examines what kind of emotional geographies does care produce. First and foremost this thesis contributes into geographies of care. Furthermore, it ties care into other scholarly niches. It offers a somewhat novel conceptualisation of nature as a space of care: a therapeutic landscape that extends beyond literal connections between the physical environment and feelings of well-being. This research also contributes to the geographical research on care and memory by integrating young people in such research, as well as by suggesting that memories can become a vessel for well-being. Overall, the unique research arena makes this an original piece of work thus adding knowledge to geographies of care on affective, methodological and theoretical levels. This research demonstrates flat ontology of care, fun, geographies of love and the natural environment can open up transformative spaces where identity processes and the self can be processed and re-processed. Ultimately, this all makes it possible for memory and memories to become an intervention; a tool against adversity that allows the young person to go to a better mental and emotional place.
ESRC and CHICKS (Country Holidays for Inner City Kids)
PhD in Geography