Seen and Not Heard?

Seen and not heard? The lived realities of children and young people’s participation in Ireland in their homes, schools and communities

Funder: Irish Research Council Research Development Initiative

Project Team: Dr. Deirdre Horgan (PI), Dr. Shirley Martin, Dr. Catherine Forde, Dr. Aisling Parkes, Dr. Angela O'Connell

Duration: November 2012 - October 2013.

The extent to which children are provided with opportunities to participate in decisions affecting them within the family, the school and community will be investigated in this project.

Within the framework of Lundy’s (2007) model of participation we will explore this research question through the following:

  • Within the key settings identified, what spaces exist for children and young people to participate?
  • What are the opportunities for children and young people to have a voice? What are the challenges or barriers to this?
  • To what extent do children and young people have an audience so that their views are listened to?
  • To what extent can their views have influence, be given weight in accordance with their age and maturity and acted upon appropriately?
  • What conditions are necessary, sufficient and optimal to ensuring the effective participation of children and young people

This project aims to provide safe spaces for the children and young people who take part in the research by utilising child-centred participative research methods. Research methodology will comprise a review of the literature on children and young people’s participation and voice. The primary research involves focus groups, in-depth individual and group interviews in four geographical areas in Ireland to ascertain the views and approaches of children and young people, parents, teachers and principals and youth and community groups.

It will identify models of best practice in hearing and facilitating children and young people’s voices. It will disseminate key findings including good practice guidelines concerned with giving voice to and enhancing the participation and citizenship of children and young people in their various settings. This will be done through a report, seminar and project website as well as in child and young person friendly formats including posters and postcards. Activities will be supported by matching funding from UCC.

This project is a collaboration between the School of Applied Social Studies, Department of Law and ISS21.

For further details, contact Dr. Deirdre Horgan (


Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

Top Floor, Carrigbawn/Safari Building, Donovan Road, Cork, T12 YE30