March 25, 2024 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

The development of the Research Institute with Children (RIC) at King’s has received a boost, thanks to the Ontario Research Fund – Large Infrastructure Fund (ORF-LIF), the results of which were made public on March 18, 2024.

King’s will receive $421,704 to further facilitate the RIC, a research space designed for innovative child-centred approaches to research with children (RWC) in the social sciences. This funding matches King’s first-ever Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) Innovation Fund Award, announced on March 13, 2024. King’s will also contribute $189,853 with additional in-kind contributions totalling $21,001. In total, funding for the RIC will be $1,054,264.

The funding and the development of the RIC “will place King's at the forefront of children's participatory rights and advance children's well-being,” says Dr. Cathy Chovaz, Professor of Psychology. Dr. Chovaz sees this as an opportunity that will “allow marginalized and often forgotten groups, such as deaf and hard-of-hearing children and their families, to participate in meaningful and accessible research paradigms.”

Dr. Rachel Birnbaum, Distinguished University Professor Emerita in Social Work and Childhood and Youth Studies is a co-lead on the project with Dr. Chovaz. “This important and invaluable funding opportunity provides children and youth with a voice that allows them to share their stories in an environment that is inclusive and respectful of their needs and wishes. Children and youth will be able to co-create their stories using an arts-based perspective (music/drama/theatre), through various installations - storytelling - and teach the academic community of scholars about their world - seen and unseen/heard and unheard - and what they need rather than what academics think they need or say,“ says Dr. Birnbaum.

The new institute will be one of the first places in Canada specifically for child-centred approaches to research with and about children’s agency and participation within their families, schools, and communities. The project will span until 2026, and be coordinated by King’s, with the funding to be administrated by Western University.