Research Staff Interests
Dr Abigail Hackett
Abi's career began in museums and heritage, supporting the cultural sector to develop new approaches for working with diverse communities. She completed her PhD at University of Sheffield with Professor Kate Pahl, focusing on the experiences of two years old children in museum spaces. She is currently a Research Fellow at ESRI, focussing particularly on method and theory connected with the lived, embodied everyday experiences of very young children.
I have three major interlinked research interests:
- Movement and place in young children's literacy practices;
- Researching collaboratively with parents and communities;
- Young children in museums.
Children, young people and community
Theory, methodology and knowledge production
How do families with under fives experience museums?
This research is being carried out in collaboration with Humber Museums Partnership, a consortium of museums who are developing new approaches for working with children aged under five year. The research will address two research questions:
How do under 5s and their families use and experience the museum spaces in Humber?
How do museums identify their strengths for family audiences with young children under five years?
Creative Families (2015-2016)
A consultancy and research project on behalf of Cape UK, which involved developing research led guidance materials for a new Creative Families Award, a programme to be delivered to families with 1-4 year old children in museums.
Sounds of Childhood (2015)
This research drew on spatial theory and arts based research methodologies to explore how children experience and interpret sound in the environment.
With PI Lisa Procter at University of Sheffield.
How do children take health messages from an exhibition about the body? (2015)
Knowledge Exchange project with Eureka! The National Children’s Museums. The methodology for the project was a collaborative ethnography through which nursery and museum staff were trained to write fieldnotes and collect visual data.
With PI Hannah Fairbrother, University of Sheffield
Community Arts Zone (2013-2015)
The project looked at the intersection between literacy, arts practice and community at sites in Canada, USA and Rotherham.
With PI Jennifer Rowsell, Brock University.
Hackett, A., Procter, L. and Seymour, J. (eds) (2015) Children's Spatialities. Embodiment, Emotion and Agency. Palgrave Macmillan
Refereed Journal Articles
Hackett, A. (2016) Parents as researchers: collaborative ethnography with parents. Qualitative Research Available Online First
Hackett, A. (2016) Young children as wayfarers: learning about place by moving through it. Children and Society 30(3) pp169-179
Hackett, A., Pool, S., Rowsell, J. and Aghajan, B. (2015) Seen and Unseen: Using video data in ethnographic fieldwork. Qualitative Research Journal 15(4) pp430-444
Hackett, A. (2014) Zigging and Zooming 'll over the place: Young children's meaning making and moving in the museum. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy 14(1) pp5-27
Hackett, A. (2012) Running and learning in the museum: a study of young children's behaviour in the museum, and their parents' discursive positioning of that behaviour. Childhoods Today 6(1) pp1-21
Hackett, A. and Dennell, R. (2003) Neanderthals as fiction in archaeological narrative. Antiquity 77(248)
Hackett, A. (2015) Multimodality and Sensory Ethnography, in J. Roswell and K. Pahl (eds) Routledge Handbook of Literacy Studies pp295-307
Hackett, A. (2015) Children's embodied entanglement and production of space in a museum, in Hackett, A., Procter, L. and Seymour, J. (eds) Children's Spatialities. Embodiment, Emotion and Agency London: Palgrave Macmillan pp75-92
Hackett, A. and Yamada-Rice, D. (2015) Producing visual records of movement: making meaning of young children's interactions with place, in E. Stirling and D. Yamada-Rice Visual Methods with Children and Young People. Academics and Visual Industries in Dialogue London: Palgrave Macmillan pp29-49
Edited special issues
Hackett, A. and Yamada-Rice, D. (2014) Special issue on New directions in research on emergent literacy. Early Education Journal 74
Abdi, M. and Hackett, A. (2016) 'Critical Literacy in the early childhood classroom: Unpacking histories, unlearning privilege.' by Candace R. Kuby Journal of Early Childhood Literacy
Non-peer reviewed journal articles
Hackett, A. (2014) Toddlers in Museums. Journal of Education in Museums 35 pp29-34
Hackett, A. (2014) Movement and Emergent Literacy. Early Education Journal 74 pp4-5
Hackett, A. (2012) Evaluation of Connecting Light. On behalf of Hadrian's Wall Trust
Hackett, A. (2011) Read on Write Away evaluation report. On behalf of Derbyshire County Council
Hackett, A. (2011) Evaluation of learning programmes at Cannon Hall museum. On behalf of Barnsley Council
Hackett, A. (2010) 'Now this is my museum!' Evaluation of the Belonging project. On behalf of Museums Sheffield
Hackett, A. with Pahl, K. (2010) i Transform Evaluation. On behalf of Leeds Museum Service
Cremin, K., Edwards, J. and Hackett, A. (2009) Scoping the Educational Potential of Saltaire World Heritage Site. On behalf of Bradford City Council
Cremin, K., Edwards, J. and Hackett, A. (2008) Generic Social Outcomes Toolkit. On behalf of Tyne and Wear Museums Service
Keynote Addresses or Prestigious Public Lectures
Hackett, A. (2016 forthcoming) Exploring the temporal and spatial nature of movement as methodological challenge. Invited speaker at Summer Institute of the Antipodes University of Western Sydney, Australia
Hackett, A. (2016 forthcoming) Young Children as Wayfarers. Learning about place by moving through it. Invited speaker at Place as agent in kindergarten practices University of Tromso, the Arctic University of Norway
Hackett, A. (2016) Making the ephemeral concrete? The role of data collection and transcription in recognising the fleeting and the tacit at Sheffield Hallam University
Hackett, A. (2016) Publishing in the digital age. Invited panel participant, The Qualitatives 2016 Brock University, Canada
Hackett, A. (2015) What parents know: collaborative ethnography with families in communities. Paper as part of the international conference Collaborative Ethnography in Practice Sheffield
Hackett, A. (2014) Zigging and Zooming all over the place: young children and their families in museums. Keynote speaker at Kids in Museums Family Fortunes conference hosted at the People's Museum, Manchester
Hackett, A. and Novitsky, J. (2010) Evaluating Adult Learning, presented at European MuMae conference (museums and adult learners together) on behalf of NIACE, Copenhagen
Evidence of Impact on Policy and Professional Practice
Research methods for exploring children's experiences of museums
I organised this one day seminar for museum practitioners, consultants and researchers to connect practice in the cultural sector with the latest visual, sensory and arts based methodologies for researching children's experiences.
I have extensive experience of consultancy in the cultural and educational sector. Over the last ten years, I have carried out over £100K worth of consultancy work. Clients have included English Heritage, Museums Sheffield, Hadrian's Wall Trust, National Museums Liverpool, BBC Learning, Tyne and Wear Museums and Yorkshire Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. I am frequently called upon to provide expert consultancy advice on learning and audience development initiatives for families and communities. Indicative examples include:
- Cape UK: Expert advisor on supporting Yorkshire museums sector to work with early years audiences. Producing and piloting a research led resource for art engagement for young children in museums, 2015-2016.
- Humber Museums Partnership: expert consultancy on how young children experience museums, 2015-2016.
- Derbyshire County Council: Evaluation of the Read on Write Away programme of family literacy interventions, 2011.
- Barnsley Council: Evaluation of learning programmes at Cannon Hall Museum and recommendations for future learning provision, 2011.
- Museums, Libraries and Archives Council: Inspiring Learning for All Pilot Programme. Intensive organisational development programme with three local authorities in order to develop an ethos of learning at the heart of their provision for communities.
- Museums, Libraries and Archives Council: Open Doors. A three year pioneering project to map the potential of museums, libraries and archives to address adult functional literacy agenda, through pilot projects, advocacy materials and development of staff training and resources.
Research-based Contributions to Practitioner and Academic Conferences
Kraftl, Procter, Hackett, Blazek and Horton (2016) Materialising and Spatialising Methodologies for Childhood Studies. The Biological, the Social, the Material Child. Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth Sheffield
Hackett, A. (2016) Messiness, Unknowing, Obstacles, Making-neat: Exploring the intersection between research and arts practice as ways of knowing. The Qualitatives 2016 Brock University, Canada
My attendance at this conference was funded by The Sociological Review early career bursary scheme
Caswell, R. Fairbrother, H. andHackett, A. (2015) Untangling children's play and learning in a children's museum. Hands On! International Association of Children in Museums Conference Amsterdam
Hackett, A. (2015) Making the ephemeral concrete. Everyday Language, Everyday Literacies conference, Sheffield
Hackett, A. (2015) Emplaced and tacit funds of knowledge for starting school. 5th International Conference on Emotional Geographies Edinburgh
Hackett, A. (2014) Out of the museum and into the academy. Royal Geographic Society Annual Conference London
Hackett, A. (2014) Walking as a route to ethnographic knowledge. Space, Culture and Literacies Conference Sheffield
Hackett, A., Kirk, E. and Yamada-Rice, D. (2014) A Time and a Place: exploring the impact of space on research methodologies with children. Researching Children's Everyday Lives, Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth Conference Sheffield
Hackett, A. (2012) Running, dancing and walking as multimodal communication of young children, paper given at 6th International Conference of Multimodality London
Hackett, A. and Procter, L. (2012) Children, Space and Placemaking Symposium. Celebrating Childhood Diversity, Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth Conference Sheffield
Hackett, A. (2012) How the museum became a children's place. Space, Place and Social Justice Symposium Manchester Metropolitan University
- Collaborative research with communities
- Visual methodologies
- Spatial theory
- Early childhood literacy