Conference Report

 

The above international conference on the theme “Images of Childhood and Future: Cross-Cultural Perspectives” was organised by the Europa-University, Flensburg and the University of Education, Winneba (Ghana) in Flensburg, Germany from 29th June to 1st July, 2017.

A five-member delegation from the University of Education, Winneba consisting of Prof. Yaw Ofosu-Kusi (Dean of Faculty of Social Science Education), Dr. Emmanuel M. J. Tamanja (NCRIBE, IERIS), Mr. Kweku Esia-Donkoh (HoD, Basic Education), Mrs. Emma Sarah Eshun (Department of Basic Education) and Mrs. Vivian N. A. Acquaye (Department of Basic Education) attended the conference.

On the first day, the team paid a courtesy call on the Vice President for European and International Affairs of Europa-University Flensburg, Prof. Dr. Monika Eigmüller. At the meeting were the Vice President for Research, Prof. Dr. Sandra Rademacher, and Director of the International Office, Mrs. Ulrike Biscoff-Parker. The meeting yielded fruitful discussions on enhanced students exchange through alignment of courses for credit transfer between the two universities, stronger research ties, joint applications for ERASMUS+ grants, scholarships to deserving students of UEW, and joint supervision of post-graduate students.

The main activity of the first day was an exhibition of how German, Ghanaian and Danish children and young people depict their future through photographs, drawings and sketches at the Danish Library in Flensburg. The exhibition is from 29.06 to 21/07/2017. The highlight of the opening of the exhibition was a speech by the Mayor of Flensburg, Mr. Henning Brüggemann. This was followed by a panel discussion on the theme “Science meets Art: Different perspectives on children’s drawings and photographs?” The discussants were  Prof. Dr. Andrea Kleeberg-Niepage (Europa-University Flensburg), Dr. Emmanuel M. J. Tamanja (University of Education Winneba), and Prof. Dr. Gabriele Wopfner (Kirchlich-Pädagogische Hochschule Innsbruck, Austria). It was moderated by Ms. Kathrin Fischer of Europa-University Flensburg.

At the opening of the main conference on the second day, Prof. Yaw Ofosu-Kusi delivered the main keynote address on the topic, “Researching children and young people in developing countries - an African perspective”. This was followed by a batch of presentations on the theme, “Childhood, culture and the future: African perspectives” under the joint chairmanship of Prof. Dr. Andrea Kleeberg-Niepage (Germany) and Mr. Kweku Esia-Donkoh (Ghana). Presentations were made by Mrs. Vivian N. A. Acquaye (UEW) on the topic, “Young but not clueless:  An exploration of children’s perception of a better future through creative writing”; Dr. Ina Gankam Tambo (Germany) on the topic, “Ambivalent today for a better future?: Methodological reflections in exploring child domestic workers’ perceptions of today and visions of their future; Mrs. Emma Sarah Eshun (UEW) on the topic, “It’s fashionable: Children’s perceptions of the influence of language use on social media networks on their academic language”, and Mr Kweku Esia-Donkoh (UEW) on “Childhood and study habits: Perceptions of the present and the future”. 

The second part of the day’s presentations was preceded by another keynote address by Dr. Gabriele Wopfner (Austria) on the topic: “A seeing view on children’s and young people´s drawings: The documentary method as a methodological and methodical approach to cross-cultural studies”. This was followed by a thematic session on “Visual data in childhood studies: Perspectives and potentials” under the joint chairmanship of Dr. Maja S. Maier (Germany) and Dr Emmanuel M. J. Tamanja (Ghana) with three presentations by  Christos Varvantakis (UK) on “Children’s maps in ethnographic research: Projections, reflections, transgressions”;  Ms. Sophia Becke (Germany) on “A photo-based approach to attachment during middle childhood across cultures”, and lastly,  Prof. Dr. Sandra Rademacher and Mr. Michael Tressat (Germany) on “Portraits as future perspectives: A comparison between German and Ghanaian photographs”.

The third day began with a keynote address by Prof. Oddbjørg Skjær Ulvik (Norway) on the theme “Risk discourses on childhood in the Global North” and was followed by a session on “Childhood, culture and the future: Multicultural perspectives”. This was chaired by Mrs. Vivian N. A. Acquaye (Ghana) and Prof. Oddbjørg Skjær Ulvik (Norway). Three presentations for the session were by  Miss Ulrike Auge (Germany) on “Glimpses of hope in the shadow of war: Adolescence in Afghanistan”; Miss Nina Helene Andersen (Norway) on “Children’s narratives about everyday life and imagined future: Methodological deliberations on a narrative approach to studying social inequality and children’s participation”; and Ms. Kawthar El-Qasem (Germany) on “Images as intergenerational gift: Palestinian oral transmission as a cultural technique of visualization”. 

The afternoon session for the third day was chaired by Mrs. Emma Sarah Eshun (Ghana) and Dr. Gabriele Wopfner (Austria) on the theme “Visual data in childhood studies: Perspectives and potentials”. Two presentations were made by Dr. Emmanuel Tamanja (Ghana) on “Images of the future: Visions and expectations of children in residential homes in Ghana” and Prof. Dr. Andrea Kleeberg-Niepage (Germany) on “Children’s and young people’s drawings: Reliable data in cross-cultural studies?”

The conference ended with a call on participants to continue with their efforts and commitment to the emerging networks and possibilities of cooperation. The team from UEW returned to Ghana on the 3rd of July.

Prof. Yaw Ofosu-Kusi